Steel Construction Advantages

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Steel is used in the construction of a broad range of structures, from grand bridges and skyscrapers to various stunning contemporary houses. The use of steel has become the most predominant in the world’s modern-day construction industry because of its extensive range of advantages, including its ability to provide construction designers the freedom of developing new, diverse structural solutions. The huge variety of distinctive qualities of metal such as durability, adaptability, cost-effectivity, ductility, and beauty make it the most preferable by architects, engineers, and constructors globally. This paper presents a number of advantages of steel construction. Safety One of the advantages of the use of metal for construction is the safety of steel structures. Steel has exceptional resistance to fire, pests, and corrosion (Thomas 40). Additionally, steel framed structures are the most preferable for extreme environmental conditions. Since steel does not require treatments with preservatives, pesticides, or glues, it is safer for people to hand, live in, or work on steel structures (Ulshin 62). Housing components made of steel have been tested and proven to be capable of withstanding severe bush fire temperatures of over 1000 degrees centigrade. Also, steel-framed houses have structural integrity that has exhibited simulations in full-scale that steel frame remains straight, accurate, and most significantly, safe (Thomas 41).

Structural experts acknowledge that steel, as a construction material, can soften and melt when exposed to exceedingly high temperatures. However, with the introduction of passive fire protection mechanisms such as spray-on fireproofing, structures constructed with structural steel can withstand considerable temperatures, thereby providing additional safety (Xuan and Yue 186). The strength and ductility of steel, when combined with appropriate solid engineering and design, make structures constructed with steel safer, especially in seismic zones (Xuan and Yue 187). Besides, steel framing performs very well under extreme wind loads due to its ductility property, which gives it the ability to bend to greater lengths without failing or breaking (Ma 122).

The rapid on-site assembly of steel construction materials and the offsite fabrication of steel components by experienced personnel help in the construction of steel structures that are inherently safe for various human activities and operations (Walter and Kern 267). Various surveys of the world’s construction industry show that steel is the world’s safest construction material. Besides, the steel construction industry has put several measures in place to ensure the continuity of quality steel production, as well as the construction of safe steel structures (Walter and Kern 268). As a means of enhancing the safety of steel, as a construction material, and its associated structures, the world's steel production companies have also put various measures to help medium-sized steel construction contractors with health and advisory services aimed at giving them access to regular and direct advice and monitoring services. The initiative also focuses on improving communication between all the stakeholders in the steel construction industry so as to minimize any form of risk that may compromise the safety of steel, as a construction material, as well as its associated structures (Walter and Kern 270).

Long Life Durability

Steel structures and steel construction materials can sustain extreme forces, as well as harsh weather conditions such as earthquakes, strong winds, heavy snow, and even hurricanes (Ma 123). Additionally, steel structures are unreceptive to rust and are not affected by various pests such as fungi, termites, mildew, or bugs, thereby making them last much longer. Steel also has high resistivity against fire, which makes steel structures to stand firmly and remain in stable conditions even after a fire outbreak (Ulshin 63). Also, steel, as a construction material, has a high storability and can last for several years awaiting use, thereby making it a good form of investment (Ma 125).

Steel-framed structures are exceptionally durable, and they take several years for them to age or decay (Cascini, Landolfo, and Portioli 385). Besides, buildings constructed of steel are easily adaptable, thereby helping in the avoidance of demolition-related costs, environmental harm, and redevelopment. The inherent flexibility and adaptability of steel also make it possible for future extensions or adjustments on steel structures, either vertically or horizontally, with minimal cost and disruption (Thomas 43).

Additionally, a structure constructed entirely with steel can stand the test of time, meaning it can last for several years before any renovation is carried out. The intrinsic durability and strength of steel provide steel structures with structural veracity in all forms of conditions and environments (Lener 29). The use of steel in the construction of homes also provides homeowners with the peace of mind of believing that their most valuable investments or assets are well-protected by the strength property of steel (Lin, Ker-Chun et al. 174).

Cost Saving

Most of the cost savings that come from steel construction relate to cost and labor benefits of reduced construction time. However, the use of steel as a construction material also save large sums of money through various short-term and lifetime savings. Steel, as a construction material, can be recycled (Lener 30). Instead of paying landfill charges for non-recyclable construction waste materials, one can decide to recycle various steel components of a building or structure (Lener 31). Besides, due to the need by the public to reduce unnecessary construction wastes, various waste recycling companies have subsidized their programs that enable them to collect steel wastes for recycling at no cost (Ma 124).

Since steel has high durability and requires minimal maintenance, it forms one of the best economic choices for contractors, bridge constructors, and building owners (Ma 125). Moreover, steel structures require minimal repairs, maintenance fees, and replacements, even over the course of fifty years, thereby saving the owners of various steel structures tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars throughout the steel structure’s lifetime (Lener 32). Additionally, the innovativeness in steel production industry combined with the industry’s high competition to meet the world’s rising steel demand has resulted in lower steel prices that they have been in the last twenty years (Ulshin 64). According to the recent report by the American Institute of Steel Construction, ten man-hours were needed to produce one ton of steel in the year 1080. However, that sane ton of structural steel, today, requires considerable less than a single man-hour. Such cost savings, therefore, get passed to the final consumers or users of steel products, thereby making them save significantly (Ulshin 65).

Due to the unbeatable ability of steel structures to withstand extreme snow loads, wind conditions, seismic and fire activities, as well as their high resistivity to decay and pests, various insurance companies usually provide lower premiums of their policies underwritten for metal structures and buildings (Dawood and Rizkalla 1682). Additionally, faster steel construction times implies interest payments to the loaning institutions, which typically require their interest payments to be made from the date of commencement of the construction process (Dawood and Rizkalla 1685).

Additionally, steel is light in weight, a property which makes its transportation easier, thereby reducing fuel-related costs, as well as accelerating the schedule of projects (Ma 126). Besides, steel is energy efficient, and its recyclability reduces costs relating to waste collections. Apart from reducing the cost of labor required for the construction of various steel structures, the steel's lighter-weight advantage helps in minimizing shipping costs, as well as simplifying the design of the foundations of steel buildings and other steel structures, which in turn reduces the budgets of such structures (Walter and Kern 271).

Over the last twenty years, tremendous productivity advances have been achieved in the entire steel supply chain, with the resulting cost savings getting shared with the final users. One of the best assurances of the competitive steel price is the huge number of steel construction contractors that can apply for various steel construction tenders (Xuan and Yue 189). The competitive steel construction sector ensures that the customers of different steel products get value for their money due to the high quality that characterizes steel as a construction material (Xuan and Yue 190). The value for money achieved by the steel customers makes them save significant amounts of money that they would otherwise use for maintenance (Xuan and Yue 192). When bundled together, the various cost-saving benefits that come with the use of steel as a construction material make it one of the world’s most affordable construction material on the market.

Speed of Construction

Time has always equated money, but it appears that the current high technology era has taken the form whereby all the clients in the steel construction industry need their buildings or structures to get completed ahead of schedule and under the budget (Lin, Ker-Chun et al. 176). Fast-tracked or advanced projects can be a nightmare for most construction crews and architects because the use of shortcuts can result in unsafe construction practices, as well as a complete structure that is not up to quality. However, all such limitations can be eliminated with the addition of steel (Lin, Ker-Chun 178).

Steel components usually get pre-engineered to various specifications within the manufacturing plant before shipment and final construction. Such treatments contribute significantly in speeding up the construction time, thereby making it possible for the completion of large-scale projects within short durations, even in a matter of weeks (Ma 127). Besides, since the fabrication process of steel is significantly quality-controlled, most project managers within the steel construction industry can divert their attentions to other issues or the steel pre-cut processes (Ma 129). The pre-cut, ready to assemble steel components help in eliminating the need for on-site steel cutting and measurements. The use of pre-cut steel also eliminates the element of human error in most steel constructions, thereby minimizing the amount of time spent in the process of assembling such components (Ma 131).

Apart from the budget issues and project time, a faster steel construction timeline also minimizes the amount of time the construction of a given steel structure obstructs traffic or affects the flow of vehicles out of and into the surrounding business center. A faster timeline of a steel construction projects also reduces the number of utility or water disruptions to the adjacent structures or buildings (Cascini, Landolfo, and Portioli 386).

The versatility property of steel also contributes significantly to enhancing the speed of steel construction. Structural steel can be molded into almost any shape, and its exterior can yield wood-like siding and great roofing patterns, all of which enhances the speed of constructing steel buildings and structures (Ulshin 66). The versatility of steel, therefore, forms part of what makes it the most preferable and attractive option for the construction of residential structures that require completion within short durations. Additionally, designers and architects like the versatility property of steel since it makes their imaginations get implemented accurately, by creating buildings that are both resilient and safe (Ulshin 67).

The ductility property also allows architects and designers to come up with larger steel structures and buildings ranging from warehouses, airplane hangars, indoor arenas, and various agricultural buildings within shorter durations (Thomas 44). The ductility property of steel also allows for quick construction of skyscrapers and various residential buildings. Besides, the erection of steel structures can be done speedily, and the steel components’ accuracy and predictability also help in speeding up the process of erecting steel structures (Ma 133). In fact, the speed of erecting steel parts usually forms one of the primary criteria for steel selection. The short construction periods resulting from the use of steel as a construction material result in savings in site preliminaries, as well as reduced interest charges and timely return on investment. In fact, time-related savings arising from the use of steel in construction can amount to between three percent to five percent of the overall value of the project, thereby reducing working capital requirements of the client and enhancing cash flow (Thomas 45).

Environmentally Friendly

The steel used for the construction of various structures is made from recycled steel materials, and the resulting wastes can still be recycled. That forms one of the primary reasons why the use of steel in the construction industry can make steelwork contractors earn high points in the achievement of green building programs (Xuan and Yue 193).

According to a recent report by the Steel Recycling Institute, about 80 million tons of steel get recycled every year, thereby making steel the most recyclable construction material globally. Since the year 1990, the world’s steel industry has managed to reduce energy intensity by twenty-eight percent for every ton of steel produced, as well as carbon dioxide emissions by thirty-five percent for every ton of steel shipped. The reductions in energy used for steel production and the minimizations of carbon dioxide emissions during steel production are almost reaching the acceptable limits defined by the law of science as environmentally friendly (Walter and Kern 272).

When coupled with various design enhancements, steel structures are amazingly energy efficient. Besides, the linkages between the prefabricated steel parts and high-quality are so accurate that with the incorporation of proper insulation, they become comfortable and air-tight, thus ensuring that the steel structures have entirely sealed envelopes (Panigrahi, Gupta, and Bhalla 239). The roof panels of steel building usually get primed, thereby making them ready to receive solar arrays. The cool metal steel products used for roofing also contribute significantly to increasing the energy savings. The combination of the quality of steel, as a construction material, and the builders' level of experience make building owners benefit significantly from well-designed and attractive steel buildings that are both long-lasting and sustainable (Panigrahi, Gupta, and Bhalla 242).

According to a recent report by the Steel Recycling Institute, steel recycling in the United States can result in saving energy that is enough for powering as many as eighteen million homes with electricity within a period of one year. According to the report, by just recycling a single ton of steel, one can save as much as 1400 pounds of coal, 120 pounds of limestone, as well as 2500 pounds of iron ore (Ulshin 67). That means that every piece of steel that one recycles assists in saving energy and various natural resources. Besides, the new steel made from recycled steel uses approximately thirty-three percent pf the energy required for the production of steel from original or virgin materials (Ulshin 69).

Why Steel Construction is the Newest, Best, and Most Innovative Construction Technique

There are several reasons why steel construction qualifies as the newest, best, and most innovative construction technique. The various properties of steel such as durability, affordability, ductility, and sustainability contributes significantly to making steel construction considered the most innovative construction technology (Ma 134). The adaptability of steel also contributes to making steel construction the best and most innovative construction technique. Steel, as a construction material, can be adjusted or manipulated according to the architect’s or designer’s requirement. For example, the positions of wall frames made of steel can be easily altered or changed so as to create a new layout of the building's interior. The ability of the steel to adapt to various changes allows for easy modification of steel structures, thereby enhancing its innovativeness (Lener 33).

The beauty that steel provides also makes steel construction the best and most innovative construction technique because it provides a stylish way of creating different attractive designs, thereby giving the structures a sense of beauty (Walter and Kern 273). Besides, the malleability of steel allows designers to explore their ideas in the form of creating appealing shapes and textures, thereby making the resulting building and structures distinct. Also, steel does not buckle, splinter, clink, distort, or rotate, thus making it be cut, rolled, and even turned into a broad range of shapes and sizes through structural steel fabrication without changing its physical property (Thomas 48).

Additionally, all the stakeholders in the steel supply chain work in collaboration as a means of boosting innovation in the steel construction sector. The interaction between steel construction contractors and their professional colleagues gets enhanced by the nature of steel construction, which in turn fosters collaborative design (Xuan and Yue 195). The ideas of computer modeling easily get shared between the contractors, designers, architects, and engineers, and such a teamwork leads to innovation. As a result, the improvements in safety and sustainability in the construction industry have been achieved by the innovative technique of steel construction. Such innovations include plate girders, highly optimized cellular beams, water-based protective systems, pre-fixed edge protection, steel erection techniques, and deep decking assembly, among others (Xuan and Yue 197).

Conclusion

Steel, as a construction material, provides consistently high-quality buildings and structures with guaranteed durability and strength even in extremely challenging environments. Structural steel construction delivers quality assurance due to the production of steel through the use of precise specifications, and under exceedingly controlled conditions that help in eliminating the risk of on-site variability. The processes of proper quality assurance also provide complete traceability of steel in the supply chain, right from the steel manufacturing process, through fabrication to final on-site erection. The use of steel in the construction of various buildings and structures, therefore, contributes significantly to meeting the building or structure owners' safety, durability, cost saving, schedule, and environmental sustainability requirements.

Works Cited

Cascini, Lucrezia, R. Landolfo, and F. Portioli. "An Integrated Approach To Durability Design Of Steel Structures Against Atmospheric Corrosion." Key Engineering Materials 385-387 (2008): 657-660. Web.

Dawood, Mina, and Sami Rizkalla. "Environmental Durability Of A CFRP System For Strengthening Steel Structures." Construction and Building Materials 24.9 (2010): 1682-1689. Web.

Lener, Gerhard. "Steel Bridges - Numerical Simulation Of Total Service Life Including Fracture Mechanic Concepts." Steel Construction 8.1 (2015): 28-34. Web.

Lin, Ker-Chun et al. "Seismic Reliability Of Steel Framed Buildings." Structural Safety 32.3 (2010): 174-182. Web.

Ma, Xing. "The Art Of Steel Structures." Journal of Steel Structures & Construction 1.1 (2015): 121-137. Web.

Panigrahi, Ramakanta, Ashok Gupta, and Suresh Bhalla. "Dismountable Steel Tensegrity Grids As Alternate Roof Structures." Steel & Composite Structures 9.3 (2009): 239-253. Web.

Thomas, D.J. "Optimising Laser Cut-Edge Durability For Steel Structures In High-Stress Applications." Journal of Constructional Steel Research 121 (2016): 40-49. Web.

Ulshin, A.N. "Composite Quality Index Of Steel Auxiliary Bar Structures." Magazine of civil engineering 25.7 (2011): 62-70. Web.

Walter, Peter, and Andreas Kern. "Material Modelling As A Tool For The Quality Assurance And Product Development Of Heavy Plate Steels For Steel Construction." Steel Construction 7.4 (2014): 267-273. Web.

Xuan, Yanni, and Qiang Yue. "Scenario Analysis On Resource And Environmental Benefits Of Imported Steel Scrap For China’S Steel Industry." Resources, Conservation and Recycling 120 (2017): 186-198. Web.

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