There are few things that are more dramatic then black and white images of steel buildings being constructed nearly a century ago as men hung hundreds of feet off the ground while involved in assembly. Indeed, steel ushered in the age of towering skyscrapers, shaping skylines in the process. This extraordinary material is still as useful as it ever was. Steel is cost-effective for a few different reasons and a good material choice for building for a variety of building types -- elderly care facilities, warehouses, recycling facilities (like the HGCI build in the photo above), and offices, among others.
Producing it takes little time. One ton can take under two hours to make. Modern structural steel is composed largely of recycled materials, lowering its price.
And you can use steel buildings sooner after construction. Steel structures are typically functional almost right away.
Time is money, after all, and sometimes expediting a job by using steel can make a big difference. Concrete, on the other hand, can take nearly a month to cure, meaning that such structures aren’t immediately fit for use.
Steel is also stronger than concrete. Though it may feel counterintuitive to learn you’d pay less for stronger material, it’s more complex than that. You don’t have to purchase as much steel to achieve the same structural integrity as larger (and more expensive) amounts of concrete.
Though many things in the construction process are time-consuming, steel makes tenant improvement (TI’s) simple. Situations may include:
When a shape is nonstandard. You can have steel fabricated in almost any shape. It’s easy to customize new elements to fit perfectly with an already-existing structure.
When walls need to be knocked down. Removing a steel wall is more straightforward than doing the same with concrete. It’s also less likely to threaten a building’s structural integrity.
When there are serious time constraints. Steel additions take less time to construct.
Steel additions take less time to construct. Assembly is less complicated than concrete, the versatile and still well-regard competition. Off-site fabrication also means that steel is ready to use when it arrives at construction sites. That drastically cuts down on labor during the assembly process. Because steel frames weigh less than concrete despite having superior tensile strength, they work well with smaller foundations. Small foundations require less excavation. Additionally, you can only cast concrete in accommodating weather. Rain, snow, and ice make concrete construction unwise or even impossible.
HGCI is a general contracting firm that has been serving the San Francisco Bay area since 1997 and provides clients a full spectrum of commercial building services, including design and conceptual estimating. HGCI has built steel structures for a variety of industries.