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Building with steel - Living Steel

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International resource on sustainable and innovative use of steel in residential construction. For architects and building professionals.




Building with steel

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From earthquake protection to sustainable development - find out why steel is such a versatile and useful construction material.

What is Steel?
Steel, which is an alloy of iron and carbon, is the most versatile and important engineering and construction material in the world. Its use influences every aspect of our lives and the built envirionment, from automotive manufacture to construction products, from steel toecaps for protective footwear to refrigerators and washing machines and from cargo ships to the finest scalpel for hospital surgery. Source: World Steel Association Read more...

Steel Benefits
The physical properties of steel, such as its durability, flexibility and strength offer significant advantages in the material efficiency of a product application. Steel is one of the most sustainable building materials with unique characteristics that favour its use in the construction industry. Steel for sustainable development Steel has many significant advantages with regard to the demands of sustainable development. In the construction sector, in which regulation on environmental matters is becoming increasingly strict, it is vital to communicate and demonstrate the advantages of steel to builders, specifiers, the authorities (regulatory bodies, in particular) and educators. Source : OTUA - Office Technique pour l'Utilisation de l'Acier Read more... Steel for long lasting homes The benefits of steel use and technologies in the homebuilding industry is gaining momentum and creating additional customer value. The strength to weight ratio of steel is the highest of any residential building material and it can be easily formed and joined. Because steel is strong and lightweight, it is beneficial for builders to work with and can be engineered to better withstand hurricanes and earthquakes. Steel is unique in that it is dimensionally stable. Unlike other materials that shrink, expand, warp and twist with age to cause settlement cracks or floor squeaks that require builders to make costly repairs. Source: AISI - American Iron & Steel Institute Read more... Steel for architecture Steel offers new solutions and opportunities, allowing


Building with steel - Living Steel

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architects to expand their artistic expression and actually create some of the most challenging buildings they have designed in their minds. Today it provides not only strength to buildings, but also beauty and drama - enhancements that are difficult or too costly to produce with other materials. Curving and bending is now possible in ways that were never thought possible before. Curves using steel beams bent to a certain radius or segmented curves or combinations of both can create members that follow the outlines of irregular facades, arches or domes. Source: BCSA (British Constructional Steelwork Association) - Steel to build faster The speed and accuracy of construction is critical to the creation of building and stakeholder value. Earlier occupancy means an office owner can begin renting space sooner, a factory owner can start producing products faster and the store operator can bring in sales pounds quicker. Fast construction also lowers financing costs and overhead expenses for construction management services. Because structural steel is lighter than other framing materials, it needs a smaller and simpler foundation. This reduces both cost and the time spent on construction. Source: BCSA (British Constructional Steelwork Association) - Steel for earthquake safety Earthquakes are unpredictable in terms of magnitude, frequency, duration, and location. Consequently, the ideal structure to withstand earthquake forces will behave in a consistent and predictable non brittle manner. Light gauge steel framing is capable of meeting this standard due to its ductility and the strict process used to manufacture steel studs, the inherent properties of steel, and typical construction methods used in steel framing. Building with steel should be considered at the top of the list to protect the house against house damage and related consequences in case of earthquake. Source: Steel Framing Alliance Read more... Steel to optimize space Reducing storey heights will cut the costs for steel and other building materials. From an energy-efficiency standpoint, minimising floor-to-floor heights also helps curb heating and cooling costs. Running mechanical systems through web openings is one solution for minimising building height. Another way is integrating floor beams into interior walls or partitions. In some cases, it is possible to limit the depth of beams by choosing a member size that is shallower, though heavier, yet still offers the same required strength. 'Slimflor' and the new Asymmetric Beam provide exciting new alternatives. These both provide the opportunity to limit the depth of the floor to the depth of the beam and the thickness of the concrete cover over the decking. Steel's high strength-to-weight ratio enables it to span large distances gracefully and economically - more so than any other building material. In single storey buildings rolled beams can provide clear spans of over 50 metres, while using trussed or lattice construction can stretch this to more than 150 metres. The long spanning capability of steel also enables the creation of large areas of unobstructed space in multi-storey buildings. While short to medium span steel systems typically provide the lowest structural frame construction costs, many clients are now demanding increased flexibility which only steel can provide with column grid spacing of 15 metres and more.


Building with steel - Living Steel

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Steel transfer girders may bridge two points to create columnfree spaces by eliminating columns. The Vierendeel truss, in particular, does not use any diagonal members, which can inhibit sight lines and traffic flow. Fewer columns make it easier to subdivide and customize living space for current and future tenants. Open space also is more attractive to speculative buyers and commands a premium price in a competitive market. Source: BCSA (British Constructional Steelwork Association) - Steel for flexibility Building owners often are faced with the challenge of modifying an existing space to meet changing needs perhaps adding a new staircase, elevator or column-free space, or even raising or lowering a ceiling. Changes may also be necessary to comply with legislation such as the need to provide access for the disabled. Steel is the only material that allows the strength of a structure to be increased economically once it is built. This is critical when a tenant would like to increase floor loads by adding such things as file storage, computer systems, mechanical units or hospital diagnostic equipment. Non-composite steel beams can be made composite with the existing floor slab or cover plates may be added to the beams for increased strength. Additional steel may also be bolted or welded to the existing steel framework. Beams and girders can be easily reinforced, supplemented with additional framing or even relocated to support changed loads. Source: BCSA (British Constructional Steelwork Association) -

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