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The multiple benefits indicate that it is time for steel constructions


FEMA custom steel flood zone, hurricane resistant main house, guest house, garage … [+] On the waterfront near Kiawah Island in Charleston County, SC showcases steel construction potential.

Tripp Smith

Heard the news over the weekend? Hurricanes Marco and Laura were about to unleash a double law of destruction across Louisiana. In California, light storms and winds have threatened to intensify hundreds of already raging wildfires. Iowa continued to count the damage this month from Dericho, which left many buildings in tatters. And in North Carolina, news arrived that the earthquake in early August was the worst in the state in 96 years.

Now another question.

Are you amazed at the growing interest in steel construction?

Once upon a time, when people thought of steel buildings, many invoked images of inexpensive, hastily-built, and unattractive structures that exist only to save on building budgets. But if you’re equating steel with a squat hut, WWII-era Quonset Hut, it’s time to catch up with today’s durable, economical, and impressive commercial and residential steel buildings. Indeed, steel offers many qualities that fit perfectly with the priorities of modern construction, from storm resistance to energy efficiency and design aesthetics and speedy construction.

The Washington, DC-based Steel Framing Alliance, whose jurisdiction covers commercial and residential buildings, lists the benefits of steel structures. Steel is the most cost-effective medium-rise building material. The build schedule provides more predictability and is shorter as well. Steel does not burn and does not contribute to the spread of fire, which is a welcome trait in an era of increasing Western forest fires. Because it is inorganic, it will not rot, warp, split, or crack. Because it is produced according to national standards, the steel provides a consistent quality that is not subject to regional changes.

Steel saves time and money for the constructor, too. Off-site panels mean less time wasted on the job site. Steel construction results in a loss of only about 2% of materials in job site scrap and waste, which is much less than that of sawn timber. For the consumer, the benefits are many. They include safer structures that age more slowly, require less maintenance, are impermeable to fires, termites, and mold and have a lower likelihood of damage from earthquakes or windstorms of the type that made headlines this month.

Aesthetic appeal

Another striking thing about current steel structures, whether residential or commercial, they can be visually appealing as much as they are robust, efficient, and resistant to fire, mold and weather. That fact was literally brought to the fore by Tim and Jane Beatty, who after some initial hesitation chose to build EcoSteel in Laguna Niguel, California, the FEMA Flood Zone designated, made of steel, hurricane-proof main house, guest house, and waterfront garage near the waterfront. From Kiawah Island in County Charleston, South Carolina

“Originally, we weren’t sure we wanted to use a steel material for construction until we learned of the significant limitations of wood,” recalls Tim Petty. “We needed to discover a different way to approach our construction. Then we realized that hurricane classification and earthquake safety was already built into steel material. Steel introduced an improved product and a broader design concept with respect to all aspects of our construction. Steel is excellent for wind beam materials. It allowed us.” Steel built a house with more than 60% of the window load. “

Moreover, the steel allowed the couple to avoid concerns about termite treatments or wall rot from moisture. “We also have excellent fire protection,” says Betty. “Among all the benefits it provides, we sometimes feel bad that others have not thought of a material that would make our modern home of glass, concrete and steel a reality.”

Shorter schedule

Steele’s ability to work beautifully is not limited to residential construction. EJ Basler, which operates a large-scale machine shop in the nearby Chicago suburb of Schiller Park, discovered the applicability of the materials when officials commissioned EcoSteel and architect Mark Amstadter of Amstadter Architects to replace its old industrial warehouse with an entirely new structure. The result is a 30,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art, campus-style manufacturing facility that combines rapid construction, stunning appearance and the ability to scale as the company grows over time.


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