Steel frame construction was earlier used for building warehouses, garages, shopping centers and high rise buildings due to its versatility. Since steel is durable, sustainable and affordable many engineers are now using steel frames for homes, office buildings, schools and factories too. When compared to brick, concrete or wood construction, of late, steel has become the material of choice.
Advantages of Steel Frames:
- Durable: Steel does not warp, shrink or expand. It can withstand wind speeds of up to 150 mph and works well within the seismic readings. It is lighter and stronger than wooden frames. It is fire retardant. Since it is not combustible, if there is a fire, it will not burn. Steel is water resistant. Water cannot damage the structure and hence it cannot decay. It is also fungus resistant. Insects and pests do not infest as they do in wood frames.
- Fabrication: Steel can be fabricated in any order, size or shape. It can be bent, cut and shaped to make steel products. To help prevent corrosion galvanized steel can be used. Galvanized steel and stainless steel have elements like zinc or chromium that form a protective layer to help prevent rust or corrosion.
- Safety: Steel is moderate conductor of electricity. When using it for steel frames, it is be ground into the earth directly which is great for lightning resistance. If there is any electricity leakage, it will discharge the current thereby keeping people safe from electric shocks.
- Cost effective: In the overall building costs, foundation is a major factor. Since steel frames are lighter, the foundation load is also lighter than concrete or wood. This results in smaller foundations and thereby cutting down on costs. Steel sales in Melbourne have drastically increased in the last 20 years. This has made steel affordable and it is relatively cheap when compared to wood or concrete.
- Faster: Once fabrication is done, steel frames can be erected quickly thereby speeding up the process of construction.
- Flexible: Steel is strong and flexible. Long spaces with no columns can be redesigned as per occupants’ requirements. The interiors can be adapted without additional burden of demolition costs. It can also be recycled. After a building is demolished, the steel frame can be reused or sent to steel making factories to create new steel products. Suppliers offer sheet metal solutions with recycled steel.
- Integrated services: Air-conditioning ducts and extensive wiring can easily be incorporated in steel frames which require false ceiling and or flooring for concealing them. Other integrated services include fire protection system like sprinklers, lifts, escalators etc.
- Longevity: Buildings that utilize steel structures are known to have long life. It is the same reason bridges are constructed using steel frames. Since they are weather and water resistant, corrosion does not take place. Also steel is dipped in hot zinc to enhance its resistance power or additional measures such as powder treatments are taken to prevent corrosion.
Steel frames are comprised of beams and columns. The beams are of two types, rolled steel joists and plate girders. Rolled steel joists are fabricated either using extrusion method or hot/cold rolling a single sheet of steel. Plate girders are fabricated either by welding or riveting multiple sheet plates. The fabrication method used depends solely on size of the building and requirement.
Steel Fabrication is the process of creating steel components by bending, cutting, welding, burning, rolling etc. These components are then assembled to create structures required for construction, automobile and other industries. They are also eco friendly since steel is recycled to create new steel products. There is less wastage on site and steel is being produced worldwide with almost zero carbon emissions.
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