Advantages And Disadvantages Of Steel Structures

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Steel is an increasingly popular material in the world of construction, both in residential and commercial buildings. With urbanization and the need for a rapid construction to keep up with demand, steel’s affordability, strength, and durability have made it the go-to material for construction teams building frames. Most steels have to undergo different processes such as annealing, tempering, and precipitation hardening to ensure the steel’s strength, durability, ductility, etc.

Of course, as with any material, there are both pros and cons that need to be weighed up before its use. Here are some of the top considerations that construction and design teams need to think about.

steel structures

Advantages of steel frame construction

Steel frame constructions offer the following advantages compared to brick, concrete and wooden constructions.

Strength & durability

Structural steel components are lighter and stronger than weight-bearing wood or concrete products. Typical weight-bearing steel fabrication is 30% to 50% lighter than a wooden equivalent. This makes steel frame construction far stronger and more durable than traditional wood framed alternatives.

Ductility

The quality of ductility refers to the feature of steel structures’ stability if exposed to huge force. Steel, in general, does not crack like comparatively brittle materials like concrete. This property of steel permits steel buildings to bend out of shape, or deform without collapse if there is any breakage risk, thus giving a warning to the inhabitants to vacate beforehand. A breakdown for the steel structures neither happens overnight nor a steel structure rarely can collapse. That is why steel structure buildings are less affected by earthquakes. In brief, a steel structure will give you time to get out of it, in case of the threat of a sudden collapse.

Easy fabrication in different sizes

Steel studs are available in a variety of sizes and can be fabricated in order. This means they can be customized to bear specific loads in buildings of all different types and sizes.

Fire resistance

Steel frame constructions are highly resistant to fire, reducing the fire risk to a building and retarding the spread of a fire should one occur. Special flame retardant coatings act to increase this property of structural steel.

Moisture & weather resistance

Structural steel can have good moisture-resistant properties, depending on its carbon content. Hot zinc coating and extra powder treatments for enhanced rust resistance will make a structural steel component even more immune to the effects of water – an important consideration for components exposed to the weather.

Disadvantages of steel frame construction

  • Steel is an alloy of iron. This makes it susceptible to corrosion. This problem can be solved to some extent using anti-corrosion applications.
  • It has high maintenance costs as it has to be painted to make it corrosion-resistant
  • Buckling is an issue with steel structures. As the length of the steel column increases the chances of buckling also increase.
  • Steel has a high expansion rate with changing temperatures. This can be detrimental to the overall structure.

Steel frame constructions for your project?

If you are in the planning stages of development and want help deciding whether steel frame construction is a good choice for you, please get in touch with one of our engineers today. We can talk you through your different fabrication options and explain how structural steel fabrications can increase the sturdiness of your building, reduce building costs and cut construction time. 

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