structural steel buildings

The pros and cons of structural steel structures

Structural steel buildings designed and manufactured in Yorkshire

Structural steel is everywhere these days; from buildings and bridges, through to warehouses, factories and high-rise buildings. Steel is the preferred building material for the majority of construction projects, mainly because of the many benefits it provides. There are a few downsides to using steel, however as the benefits far outweigh the disadvantages, we thought we’d cover the pros and cons of steel construction.

Let’s get the disadvantages out of the way first and it is well known that steel structural elements require extensive fireproofing treatment. Despite the fact that steel elements – stand-alone structures, for example – are incombustible, their strength is compromised at high temperatures. This can happen during a fire, making steel elements susceptible to buckling. However, this is easily overcome with additional fireproofing measures, whilst appropriate sprinkler systems may need to installed, depending on the type, size or use of the building.

The advantages of steel far outweigh the risks though including:

  • Steel has an exceptionally high strength to weight ratio. This means that regardless of the size of the overall structure, the steel sections will be lightweight and small in comparison to other building materials.
  • Steel is easy to fabricate and produce. Steel sections are manufactured off-site and delivered on-site ready to be assembled. Not only does this help to reduce construction costs, it also improves the overall efficiency of the construction project.
  • Structural steel is incredibly flexible. This means that it can be moulded into almost any shape without compromising on strength.
  • In comparison to other building materials, steel is a relatively cost effective option.
  • Steel is very strong and can withstand pretty much anything from earthquakes and thunderstorms, to cyclone force winds and ice.

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