When you opt to select to use structural steel for the framing system of the building, it can bring numerous benefits to your project. All the other materials used in construction are measured against the standard of structural steel. For a lot of designers and builders, structural steel is still the more popular material of choice. The benefits of using structural steel are as follows:
- Speed of construction. There are other materials that can start field work immediately. However, the rapid design, erection style and fabrication cycle with the use of structural steel will also allow the framing system to finish sooner and become available early to the other trades. Structural steel also enhances productivity in construction because it is fabricated in shops while at the same time it maintains tight construction tolerances. Field placed materials will also lag behind the productivity curve. These productivity enhancements for construction will occur not in field activities which are labor based but in sophisticated technologies that are shop based. Today, technology exists in the form of 3D interoperability as well as building information modeling in order to allow the close cooperation of steel contractors with designers in the process of designing, fabricating and erecting of building structures. The technology allows designs to save both money and time in the process of construction. This is done by integrating erection efficiencies and fabricating the design efficiently and passing the design models between detailing, analyses and fabricating operations. This full integration is a process which is unique to structural steel generating significant savings in cost.
- Lower project costs. Today, when various framing systems are being evaluated for projects with the current cost data, you will find out that the use of structural steel remains to be the cost leader for most of the construction projects. Comparative studies also indicate that structural steel framing system include fire protection and decking which typically cost between 5% and 7% less than compared to the concrete framing system on a national level. This is not surprising since structural steel has remained to be the cost leader for different construction materials for the last three decades. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the price for structural steel for commercial buildings increased 62 percent from 1980. In contrast, the ready-mix concrete prices have increased by 114% during the same period. Why is there a significant difference? In 1980, 10 labor hours were required in order to produce a single ton of steel. Today, the same ton of steel will require a lesser labor hour.
- Aesthetic appeal. Architects like the natural beauty of steel and are often excited about exposing it when designing their structures in emphasizing slenderness, grace, transparency of frame and strength. Structural steel will allow the project architect to have a greater degree of expression as well as creativity in doing their design compared to any other construction material as they address the functional demands of the structure or building and unique identity of their customers.