Construction advancements have given us so many more ways to build structures that can withstand Mother Nature, fires and the passage of time. Steel has played a vital role in this process of advancing construction forward.
Usually people only associate steel with the construction of massive projects like skyscrapers and railroad lines. The truth is it’s just as beneficial in the construction of small to mid-sized structures as well. Before deciding which materials to use on your next construction project take a look at the advantages building with steel can provide.
Value and Affordability
Materials for steel building cost less than many people realize. This is certainly the case when market demand is low and supply is high because prices fluctuate. Keep an eye on the rates and you can lock in a price when it hits a low, even if you’re a year out from breaking ground. Here are a few rough estimates for the cost of steel construction using high-quality materials:
- · Base Building – $7-10 a square foot
- · Foundation – $8+ a square foot
- · Construction of the Structure – $10 a square foot
Like any construction project, a number of factors are going to affect the build price including the size of the building, design elements and structure load. Because of the other advantages below any added expense associated with steel typically balances out over time.
Steel offers superior strength compared to other building materials. In addition to handling large loads, steel also won’t creep or warp like concrete and wood. These qualities help steel withstand various types of natural disasters like hurricanes and earthquakes. Even if steel does get damaged, it can easily be restored without affecting its strength by cutting, welding and bolting.
Because steel is so strong it offers a high degree of durability. It won’t decay and wear out nearly as fast as other materials. It’s also very flexible to work with, making it easy to add onto or repair a steel structure rather than having to replace it.
Lightens the Load of Foundations
One advantage that isn’t so obvious is steel’s ability to lighten the load on a foundation. The load of a steel frame is about 50% less than concrete. This allows for a smaller foundational footprint and reduced costs.
The drawback of using some metal materials is rust and corrosion. However, steel isn’t one of those metals. Its ability to avoid rusting is one reason steel is so durable and long lasting.
In 2013 alone there were 1,240,000 fires that resulted in $11.5 billion in damage. One of the greatest advantages of steel construction is its fire resistance. The material has been extensively tested, which has helped builders establish specifications and building techniques that offer excellent fire protection for steel structures. In addition to improved safety, there’s a good chance you’ll also enjoy lower insurance rates.
Termites are another problem that costs property owners billions each year. Other wood boring pests can create even more problems that impact the integrity of a structure. With steel construction, you don’t have to worry about the structure of your building being compromised by bugs.
Eco-Friendly and Recyclable
Steel is actually a very environmentally friendly building material. First off, its long lifespan helps reduce the eco footprint of a building. Less maintenance and repair needs also help to lower environmental impact. At the end of its long life, steel construction materials can be recycled so less waste ends up in landfills.
If time is an important factor steel should be a top construction contender. Steel is very predictable, which makes it quick to work with compared to concrete. Prefabrication of components also helps reduce the time it takes to build. The less time construction takes the less you’ll ultimately spend.
Improved Energy Efficiency With Insulation
People don’t normally associate metal with energy efficiency, but steel can be an exception. Even though metal transfers heat and cold much faster than wood, proper insulation can negate this effect. With continuous insulation, steel is slightly more efficient than wood, particularly in warm climates.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of what steel has to offer in the construction industry. While it is a relatively new building material compared to other common construction materials, it’s quickly becoming the go-to option for structures of all sizes.