Homeowners and business owners in the market for a new main or auxiliary building have no shortage of structural materials to choose from.
Each material has its own set of strengths and weaknesses. From a purely financial standpoint, however, there’s little doubt that steel frame construction is the way to go. Whether you’re putting up a cost-effective metal workshop at home or investing in a new warehouse for your growing firm, the fiscal benefits of steel are legion.
Let’s take a look at five of the most persuasive arguments for building with steel.
Its Upfront Cost Is Lower
Steel buildings are far less costly to construct than buildings made from traditional, heavier materials, such as brick and concrete. Unlike the heavy steel beams found in modern skyscrapers, steel frames are surprisingly lightweight and material-light — meaning the cost of producing and shipping them is comparatively low.
Targeted Investments During Construction Can Pay Dividends Later On
Steel buildings’ relatively low material costs allow for DIY fabricators and professional builders alike to make targeted investments during the construction process.
Done properly, these investments can further lengthen the already considerable lifespan of steel frame buildings. For instance, a corrosion- and heat-resistant coating all but removes worries about the long-term effects of high-temperature uses, such as metalworking or ceramic manufacturing, as well as the insidious effects of surface or groundwater.
It’s Extremely Long-Lived and Durable
Steel frame buildings are exceptionally long-lived and durable. Whereas maintaining wood and concrete structures is a costly and time-consuming process that may require professional assistance, the manageable amount of ongoing maintenance recommended for steel buildings isn’t overly burdensome for most owners.
“When protected and maintained properly,” notes the American Institute of Steel Construction, “steel provides long-term durability and a lower life-cycle cost to the owner, making it an economical and sustainable choice.”
With proper care, your steel frame building may well outlive you. If you prefer to do things once, the correct way, that’s a powerful argument in its favor.
It’s Resilient Against Fire and Natural Disasters
Steel isn’t indestructible, but it’s quite good at standing up to Mother Nature’s wrath. In particular, steel frame buildings are more resilient than wood and concrete against earthquakes registering 7.0 or higher on the Richter magnitude scale, strong hurricane-force winds, and exposure to intense heat and flame.
It Resists Mundane Threats Too
Steel resists non-kinetic threats as well. With no readily available supply of food, it’s of little interest to wood-eating insects and rodents, who simply can’t survive for long periods within its confines. Properly treated steel also resists water-driven corrosion and erosion; the same can’t be said for concrete or brick.
The Case for Steel Is Strong
The financial case for steel is, well, strong. Steel frame buildings are cheaper and less wasteful to construct, and they’re extremely long-lived and durable with proper preparation during the construction process. They’re also incredibly resilient against high winds, fire, earthquakes, and other natural perils. And they’re far less vulnerable to water and pest damage than traditional materials, such as wood and concrete. Steel might not be appropriate for every building, everywhere — but it’s far more versatile than it gets credit for.