Presidents Column (May 2019)

This magazine provides engineers, architects, main contractors and clients with an enormous amount of information, technical guidance, news and case studies every month. It also showcases structural steelwork and shows the industry the range of benefits that designing and building in steel can bring.

Steel’s high strength-to weight ratio delivers the most efficient designs and allows for the design of longer, flexible internal column-free spaces. It also
delivers spectacular buildings and structures with ease. Steel buildings are highly adaptable and flexible, offering future-proofed design solutions.

Steel is the most cost-effective framing material for buildings and structures of all types. Cost savings in steel buildings start at the foundations, where the loads imposed by a steel frame are up to 50% less than those of a concrete alternative. AECOM’s most recent cost study shows that on a typical city centre office building, the frame and upper floors cost of the cellular steel composite beam and slab option was 7% lower than the concrete alternative.

Steel construction is also fast. It gives the earliest start on-site and earliest possible pay back on investment, with time related savings amounting
to between 3% and 5% of the overall project value.  Accurate offsite fabrication eliminates time-wasting, quality issues and reworking on-site, making way for other critical path operations. And just-in-time deliveries are sequenced with the overall construction programme.

Quality assurance runs throughout the steel construction supply chain, delivering high-quality finished buildings. Steel sections are tested, certified,
and CE Marked before delivery, and fabrication processes are quality assured and fully CE Marked.  3D BIM models combined with automatic fabrication systems then deliver precision-engineered components to tight tolerances.

More is understood about the behaviour of steel in fire than any other construction material, and it is well known that steel performs well in fire. Advanced design and analysis techniques avoid over-specification of fire protection requirements.

Steel is the world’s most recycled material and 99% of structural steel used in the UK is either re-used or recycled. In fact, steel is multicycled, meaning that it can be used again and again without any loss of quality.  In addition, studies show that almost all steel-framed buildings can provide optimal thermal mass.

And then there are the individual project-by-project benefits that using a BCSA steelwork contractor brings to clients and main contractors. BCSA members are pre-assessed across many different aspects which means that clients and contractors can be assured they have the specialist experience and qualifications for the job.