The Advantages of Steel - Multi-Storey Buildings.

In recent years the development of steel-framed buildings with  composite metal deck floors has transformed the construction of multi-storey buildings in the UK.

During this time, with the growth of increasingly sophisticated  requirements for building services, the very efficiency of the design has led to the steady decline  of the cost of the structure as a proportion of the overall cost of the building, yet the choice of the structural system remains a key factor in the design of successful buildings.

The principal reasons for the appeal of steel for multi-storey buildings are noted below.

• Steel frames are fast to erect.
• The construction is lightweight, particularly in comparison with traditional concrete construction.
• The elements of the framework are prefabricated and manufactured under  controlled, factory conditions to established quality procedures.
• The accuracy implicit in the manufacturing process by which the elements are produced enables the designer to take a confident view of the geometric properties of the erected framework.
• The dryness of the form of construction results in less on-site activities, plant, materials and labour.
• The framework is not susceptible to drying-out movement or delays due to slow strength gain.
• Steel frames have potential for adaptability inherent in their construction. Later modification to a building can be achieved relatively easily by  unbolting a  connection; with traditional concrete construction such modifications would be expensive, and more extensive and disruptive.
• The use of steel makes possible the creation of large, column-free internal spaces which can be divided by partitions and, by eliminating the external wall as a load-bearing element, allows the development of large window areas incorporated in prefabricated cladding systems.

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