Steel construction brings a range of advantages to those who utilize it properly. The ratio of weight to strength is far better in steel than it is in most other materials. Before you consider yourself a structural steel expert, you should develop an understand of how steel is used in construction. Builders use it for framing primarily, but steel is a substance that must be treated with respect. One mistake in planning, building or review and the entire structure could come tumbling down.
Costs and Design
When designers want to construct a uniquely shaped building, steel is ideal. Steel is surprisingly easy to shape, and beams can be joined easily. However, along with those benefits come some small drawbacks. Steel is very versatile, and has become cheaper to produce, but it takes great skill to use properly. You must understand the basics of structural integrity, which is an important part of erecting structures in the first place.
The important concept to remember is that steel can be very durable if built properly. One basic principle used frequently in construction is known as “composite design,” which is a method of structuring a 4” thick layer of concrete over steel beams. Because of the spacing, and the arrangement of steel, the beams hold the weight of the concrete and themselves. This helps to reinforce flooring, a principle that comes in handy as a building increases in height.
Steel is an incredible building material, but it must be treated with respect. Much care and thought has to go into planning. In 1981, the Hyatt Regency had a steel walkway that collapsed because of poor communication between the design firm and the builder.
Bio: Lyle Charles is a seasoned executive in the construction industry, with more than 40 years of experience. If you need assistance planning or building commercial construction projects, contact Lyle Charles Consulting.