Sustainability and Steel Construction.

The UK Government, along with many others, has a very strong policy to encour- age sustainable development. In May 1999, it published A better quality of life – a strategy for sustainable development for the United Kingdom. The principles in this document were further developed for the construction industry in Building a better quality of life – a strategy for more sustainable construction, which was published in April 2000.The underlying principles of sustainability lie in the appropriate balance of economic, social and environmental impacts, the so-called triple bottom line.The strong message is that for a viable long term future any enterprise must pay due concern to the following issues:

• Maintenance of high and stable levels of economic growth and employment
• Social progress which recognizes the needs of everyone
• Prudent use of natural resources
• Effective protection of the environment.

Clearly, to be successful all these issues need to be balanced, as over-commitment to any one of them at the expense of the others will lead to failure in the long term.

There are many examples of how the steel construction sector has progressed to be itself more sustainable and contribute to sustainable construction. Some of these are set out below.

Steel has a significant role in construction and has established a strong position.

In the UK structural frames now have approximately 70% of the multi-storey frame and 95% of the single storey industrial buildings market.

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