Advances in building construction have introduced many new and improved options including the use of steel framed building construction. These steel structures are formed through steel framework fabrication. The advantages of steel as a structural design material are well documented. Advantages include the strength-weight ratio that allows steel to bear great weights and ductility, which is the ability to withstand stress for a long period of time and bend without breaking.
Why go for steel framework?
All these same advantages are found in steel frameworks, however the use of steel frames in general has many advantages.
Flexibility and speed of build
Steel framework fabrication ensures that erection of steel structures is fast, since the components are fabricated offsite and brought to the site when partly assembled. Once constructed they can immediately be used unlike concrete structures that require time to set and cure. Steel frames are adaptable and allow for quick updating, changing or modernisation of building designs, a quality that is referred to as future proofing of a building.
The time taken to fabricate and construct is shorter which means less expense for the project. Any project manager is looking to efficiently use all resources within the project timeline and this includes time taken to complete a project. Use of steel frames delivers time savings without compromising standards. Another saving is made in waste management. Waste is minimized since the steel framework fabrication is done to specific design and measurements. The various components can fabricated and delivered on site as and when needed thereby reducing storage costs on site. Foundation of a building is known to be a major cost of the construction budget. When steel frames are used, less is spent on the building’s foundation as the steel structure does not exact much weight and force upon the foundation meaning that the foundation can be smaller and will cost less. Maintenance of steel frameworks is minimal
Durable and safe
Durability of steel is without question – it is resistant to adverse weather, remains rust free, strong under water and does not shrink. Steel frameworks are made with great precision ensuring the highest standards are maintained, and also ensuring safer practices. For instance off site fabrication reduces the amount of work that needs to be undertaken at heights thus reducing exposure to accidents.
The construction industry and in particular the steel industry has spent many years researching the effects of fire and heat on steel. This has led to advanced guidelines for fire protection of steel framed structures, e.g. the application of intumescent fire retardants to steel frames during fabrication, making them safe and fire resistant. Corrosion and weathering resistant treatment can also be done during steel framework fabrication further enhancing durability.
In addition to the economic benefits, the use of steel framed building construction offers environmental and social benefits too. Steel lasts a long time and is reusable. It has also been shown to be recyclable a number of times without its properties being affected.
Other things to consider
For all its great qualities, steel as a building material can be more pricey than other materials. However consider that this is a one off cost since the steel will likely be recycled a number of times, and will be highly adaptive in the event of design changes. It can easily be fabricated for other uses and requires minimal maintenance so savings are already being made!
Ensure that the supplier and fabricator of your steel frames is properly certified, has skilled, well trained and well equipped labour and employs the highest standards in the entire production chain.
PRV Engineering specialise in and have their own in house steel framework fabrication and concrete service, meaning they can use their many years experience in steel fabrication and their skilled staff to manage your steel framed building construction from start to finish.