Why is Structural Steel so Commonly Used in Buildings


There are many benefits that selecting the right kind of structural steel brings to a construction project. That’s because all other materials are going to be measured against the standard of the structural steel which has remained and probably will remain for a long time the best material used for a construction’s framing system.

To include some of the structural steel benefits, they are:

Speed of Construction

Structural Steel Speed of ConstructionIt’s true that with other materials, the field work can start sooner, but the truth is that the rapid erection cycle, fabrication and design of structural steel allows the framing system to be completed a lot faster and therefore become available earlier to the rest of the trades. Not only does structural steel maintain a tight construction tolerance, but it also improve construction productivity since it can be produced very fast.

Lower Project Costs

Structural Steel Lower Project CostsFor the majority of construction projects, structural steel is still one of the most affordable options to consider. According to many studies published by reputable websites, structural steel framing systems including fire protection, decking and are generally five to seven percent cheaper compared to concrete framing systems. However, that should not come as a surprise, since structural steel has remained the best choice for the construction industry for the past thirty years.

Aesthetic Appeal

Structural Steel Aesthetic AppealYou’d be surprised to know that the majority of architects around the world are very excited about structural steel when it comes to creating amazing designs. That’s because steel looks amazing when exposed and it can be used in order to emphasize transparency, strength, slenderness, but also grace of frame. Structural steel is one of the few construction materials out there that allows architects a very high degree of creativity and expression in their design, while also addressing the client’s unique identity and functional demands.

Design Flexibility

Structural Steel Design FlexibilityFrom the most complex to the most functional and simplest designs, structural steel is the material of choice of any designer who wants to create amazing buildings that not only look great, but are also very functional and durable. In terms of its ability to encourage design creativity and freedom of expression, there is no other material out there that can compete with structural steel.

High Strength

Structural Steel High StrengthWhen it comes to construction materials, many of them are going to be tough and durable, but none of them can compare to structural steel. In fact, when comparing the improvement in the standard strength of steel that is used in construction projects today to that of a decade ago, you’ll find that it’s higher than the combined strength of all other high-strength materials on the market. Structural steel is generally fifty KSI material which manes that it has a yield stress of about fifty thousand pounds per square inch in both tension and compression.

By contrast, a high strength concrete mix has a compressive yield stress of twelve to fifteen KSI, while a normal concrete mix has a yield stress of three to five KSI.

Ease of Design

Structural Steel Ease of DesignFor the majority of construction engineers, structural steel is the number one choice for any construction project. There are many tools out there available for structural steel design and they are far superior to tools for other systems. Combined with three dimensional modeling, structural steel can be used in order to create just about any possible design.


Structural Steel SustainableMany people are not aware of this yet, but structural steel is the most recycled material out there. In fact, the structural steel made today is made of eighty eight percent recycled product, it can be reused without extra processing and can also be completely recycled in the future if need be. Structural steel also has a carbon footprint of just forty seven percent and in order to produce it, the energy required to do so has been reduced by nine percent in the past decade and over thirty percent in the past thirty years.

When producing structural steel, little water is required. In fact, the only water used in this process is make-up water that’s going to be added to a closed loop recycling process. There is no water discharge into the environment from structural steel mills which furthermore helps preserve the environment.


Structural Steel ModifiableIt’s easy to modify structural steel in the future for vertical expansions, loading conditions and new applications, but also change it in many other ways that would never be possible using other framing systems.

Building managers and owners always have to deal with changes in requirements and the good news is that when it comes to composite steel frames, they can be easily changed in order to meet the client’s demands and needs.

Also, existing beams and steel columns can be strengthened by using the attachment of steel plates to the web of sections or flanges in order to allow for greater loads. In fact, it’s not rare for structural steel buildings to have extra floors added to them even many years after the building was completed.


Structural Steel EfficientOne of the best things about structural steel buildings is the fact that they optimize building space efficiency by using slender columns in order to improve usable floor space, the integration of HVAC systems into structural spaces to reduce floor to floor heights and also longer spans for column-free and open spaces. A regular column will occupy about seventy five percent less floor space compared to an equivalent column made of concrete.

Reliable and Predictable

Structural Steel Reliable and PredictableUsing modern quality assurance processes, structural steel is fabricated and manufactured under specific and well controlled conditions. The material’s final strength is going to be verified at the point of production and not when it’s time to place it in the building’s frame.

Since it has extremely high tolerances, structural steel is the main choice for architects who want to design large buildings and make sure that the end result is a rugged construction that’s going to last for hundreds of years.

Given the fact that structural steel is also easily available and pretty affordable to buy, it’s by far one of the most popular and highly used construction materials in the world today.

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Title: Why is Structural Steel so Commonly Used in Buildings
Date Posted: June 1, 2015
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Category: Structural Steel
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