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Building With Steel

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Building with steel has an endless number of advantages, to start with, it is the most important material used in construction in the world. Steel is a feature in every part of our lives including, transport, footwear, home appliances, buildings, ships and even something as small as a hospital scalpel.

Steel is a beneficial building material due to its strength, durability and flexibility. Steel is one of the most sustainable materials used in construction and has the highest strength to weight ratio of any other construction material.

Steel is a great material to use in construction as it has many environmental advantages:

  • Durability – doesn’t require much maintenance, protected against corrosion and deterioration by using organic coatings
  • Dry – construction sites that use steel are very dry and clean, there is no noise or dust so there is no disadvantage to the local community
  • Recyclable – steel is the most recycled material in the world. Through the recycling process it doesn’t lose any of its properties meaning that it’s just as good when it’s been recycled, in fact around 80% of the steel in circulation today has been recycled. When steel buildings reach the end of their life they are deconstructed, rather than demolished, and any steel components are recycled
  • Production – the production and processing of steel is now much more environmentally friendly, CO2 emissions have been cut by 50% along with the energy consumption and the dust spreading has dropped by more than 90%

Steel also has many social and economic advantages:

  • Good working conditions – construction of buildings using steel involves products that are almost finished and have been made in a factory. This means that buildings are easier to construct as the pieces don’t have to be altered or adapted.
  • Insulation – steel is a great insulator, it absorbs heat and light allowing for lower energy consumption it is also a great material for sound proofing.
  • Energy – steel structures save money in the form of energy, due to its great insulating properties
  • Glass – steel structures offer the opportunity to have huge areas of glass, this will reduce electricity costs due to the abundance of natural light
  • Construction – the final erection of a steel building is extremely quick, this, in turn equals a reduction in the costs of labour
  • Strength – the cost of materials are also reduced. This is because of the extra strength of steel means that quantities of materials could be reduced.

This article was written by Gary James, a mechanical engineer, for www.nordman.ie, who specialise in steel construction using lattice steel joists.

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