Will Steel Ever Be Replaced?

Steel Buildings

To look at steel’s future and how the next decades will utilise steel, we need to understand where it originated, as to why it became the ideal building material and remains so for the foreseeable future. At Buildings-UK, we are experts when it comes to different types of steel buildings.

From the beginning of man, we had iron. The first iron collected was from meteorites. Ancient Egyptians referred to it as the ‘metal from the sky’. Amongst all the treasures of Tutankhamen’s tomb was a dagger made of meteorite iron.

Then we learnt to dig for iron ore. By 1856 a few specialists could extract the carbon from iron—in a noisy, messy extraction—to give us steel. In 1856, Henry Bessemer patented his system for creating steel economically and efficiently, albeit still noisy!

Massed produced steel became the norm. Steel prices dropped, and the age of steel began.

Famous landmarks around the world were designed and built of steel. These include,

Why Is Steel A Valuable Building Material?

Steel gives architects, designers and developers flexibility and creative freedom. They can undertake not just basic building projects but also push the boundaries of design and architectural concepts.

Steel is not just one type; in the past 20 years, there have been over 3,500 different types of steel manufactured—an amount that continues to increase as scientists and manufacturers look for more sustainable ways to make steel. Alongside architects and developers finding creative ways of meeting the multifaceted needs of industrial constructions both big and small.

Common Types Of Steel Used In Buildings

  • Carbon or mild steel – the most common type with about 0.12% to 2.0% carbon used as a hardening agent.
  • Rebar or reinforcing steel – generally used in concrete and masonry structures as a tensioning appliance.
  • Structural steel – for the more minor aspects of a building often found as
    • I-Beam
    • HSS shape
    • L shape, C-beam
    • T shaped 
    • Bars rods and plates

Why Is Steel A Valuable Building Material?

Steel And Its Future

There are drawbacks to using steel. Mainly regarding the pollution involved in its production. There are several ongoing projects to reduce this. One such is HYBRIT – Hydrogen Breakthrough Ironmaking Technology. The project started in 2018 is in the early stages of ‘green steel’ production, and while more expensive, it promises to be more competitive by 2040.

From architectural delights to farm buildings, steel has proved its worth and will continue to do so. However, while timber and metal composites are entering the market, these are new and considerably more costly to produce than steel.

The benefits of construction with steel continue to grow. A significant benefit is a cost-effective return on your investment. In addition, using steel allows for a larger open surface area without support structures or columns. Take a look at Buildings-UK’s steel-framed building range to view the variety of structures we have that meet all the requirements for farm or industrial use.

Get in touch with us today if you are in need of steel framed buildings across the UK