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Steel Beams – Benefits of Using Steel in Building Construction

December 08, 2016

Steel is considered as a superior material that can be used for the fabrication of beams. Steel beams provide strong and versatile support for both residential and commercial buildings. It has the highest strength to weight ratio compared to other building materials like wood and concrete. This means that if steel beams are used, it can resist great stress in the event of a strong earthquake or hurricane.

Why design engineers prefer steel over other materials

Steel offers a lot of benefits to the construction industry because it enables complex design possibilities. Architects realize their creative visions when steel becomes the major component of shopping centers, commercial buildings, landmarks and residential structures. Steel satisfies the need for sustainable construction material because it can be recycled over and over again without affecting its strength and durability. After a building has been demolished steel components are collected, and delivered to be recycled and used all over again without any effects on its quality and strength.

Steel components of a building are delivered to the site after undergoing the process of fabrication. Fabrication in a controlled environment ensures quality and defect-free steel components that can be used with complete certainty. Reliable and safe techniques are used in the construction site during the assembly process. Fabrication ensures tight tolerances to facilitate a fast and waste-free assembly. From the beginning of the project, fabricators and design engineers have discussed and analyzed the design and fabrication of steel beams, structural steel frame and other components to ensure that they are precision engineered. Because of tight tolerances, steelwork assembly and erection becomes faster and more cost effective.

Unlike concrete, steel beams and steel frames will not shrink or creep. One of the main disadvantages of using concrete is the possibility of cracking at some point due to shrinkage when it dries. Steel is often used as reinforcement to ensure the durability and longevity of concrete in building structures. Steel makes sure that concrete will not crack in extreme pressure. Steel is strong and ductile, but should any damage unfortunately occurs, steel can be easily repaired by repeating the same fabrication processes of cutting, welding, and bolting to retain its original strength. Another advantage of using steel in building structures is the possibility of construction even in unfavorable weather without requiring any protection.  

Because steel structures are lighter in weight than concrete-based equivalents, less extensive foundations are required. This reduces the environmental footprints of a building. Steel is now extensively used as a solution to future-proof a building and extend its serviceable life. Due to extensive testing of individual components in a steel structure, the construction industry was furnished with greater understanding on how buildings can be fire protected. Significant reductions in fire protection required from buildings have been realized through the use of fire protection coating on steel. A thin film intumescent coating is one of the more popular forms of protective coating used for steel beams and steel frames to improve fire safety. Fire protection coating can be applied offsite for reduced construction time.