With the onslaught of volatile weather increasing each year, the building world is shifting its focus back to steel construction. Not only is steel a stronger building material, but it’s economical as well. When constructing modern buildings, you want to prioritize storm durability and energy efficiency, while coupling that with beauty and speed.
Steel hits all these wickets and more, so in an age of natural resource preservation with a focus on environmentally friendly products, other construction materials don’t measure up. That said, there’s a reason steel isn’t currently the most popular construction material, but that’s changing as costs become more affordable.
Other Construction Materials
The most popular construction material is wood because using it has many advantages. Wood is easy to cut, lightweight, and is easy to decorate for aesthetic purposes, but there are clear disadvantages that make wood undesirable.
A wood frame is less sturdy than steel, and it’s easily damaged by water, decay, and insects. Wood is also highly flammable and not environmentally friendly. So, if you’re looking at the future of construction and considering the changing climate and the environment, wood is not a great choice.
Another popular building material is brick, which makes strong foundations, is fireproof, and won’t rot. Not only that, but bricks are also environmentally friendly because most contain renewable resources.
The problem with bricks is their weight, the skill needed to lay bricks properly, and the fact that they’re porous, which makes them susceptible to mold and plant damage.
The Cost of Steel
Although the cost of steel is at least double the price of wood, you have to consider both the short-term and long-term costs of each construction. You might be saving money on wood for the moment, but what about maintenance costs over the years and decades? Steel is more cost-effective to maintain and will last longer than wood, as long as an experienced professional completes the construction properly.
So, when considering building materials, think about what you’ll pay today versus what you’ll end up paying over the long haul. Also, consider the effect on the environment, your location regarding the weather and climate, and the general durability of the product. Keep in mind that “costs” doesn’t always mean “dollars spent.”
Although you can paint wood and change the aesthetics of a building in a way you can’t with steel, using steel has its own beauty advantages. Because of the strength of steel, you can mill the material into unique and sturdy shapes, giving you more conceptual design options.
Not only that, but a steel construction frame can handle a higher percentage of windows to bring in more natural light and a view of the surrounding area. In fact, the window load can be more than 60 percent of the building.
Construction Time for Steel
When constructing a steel building frame, there is little onsite labor because the manufacturing process takes place before the steel makes it onsite. That’s because steel is difficult to cut and may require innovation or a CNC milling machine to ready the steel for a specific use.
Since all the pieces are ready and steel requires less onsite excavation, it takes less time to construct a building than with any other material.
The shorter construction time also translates into a lower overall labor construction cost than if you’re working with wood or brick.
The Return of Steel Construction
Given the environmentally friendly nature of steel construction, in addition to its sleek modern look and strength, it’s no wonder steel construction is making a comeback. Even though the cost of steel construction in the short-term might be higher than other construction types, you might save money over the long-term.
In fact, all things considered, steel construction might be the wave of the future.