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A brief comparison of structural steel buildings with conventional structures highlighting the significance of Pre Engineered buildings

 Advantages of structural steel construction
Steel construction is eco friendly – Structural steel can be reused or recycled. Building structural steel buildings involves less pollution & lesser impact on the environment & surroundings. Also the dismantling of the structure is much easier, causes less environmental impact & the scrap value is high. A steel building, if properly designed can even be relocated & reproduced. No curing or waiting time – Steel does not have the problems of curing or slow development of strength, and is less affected by moisture movement and creeps. Construction process can be a continuous process which saves time & cost. Future expansion – Since “on-the-spot” connection of steel members is relatively easier, the frame-type construction using structural steel can allow alteration fairly easily in case when future amendment or expansion to the structure is required. Speed of construction – Speed of construction using structural steel may normally be faster than in-situ concrete due to the following reasons: Most structural steel members can be pre-fabricated off-site, this can allow other site works such as the construction of the foundation, the central core or the erection of other members to be done at the same time and shorten the critical time in waiting for the completion of the other required members. Erection of structural steel members do not require complicated in-situ formwork thus save up quite a lot of time in the preparation, erection or striking of formwork. Fabrication and erection of structural steel members off or on-site may be less affected by inclement weather. In general, maintenance cost for buildings in structural steel construction is reasonable when compare to other forms of construction, especially when the design, workmanship and protection treatment during construction is effective and sound. In case of maintenance is required, such as deterioration appears in the connections, repair works can be done simply right after the exposing of the defective areas.

 Disadvantages of structural steel construction
Rigidity – Owing to the flexible nature of steel and other inherited weakness in its connection, the rigidity of a frame structure constructed by structural steel is much weaker when compare to the monolithic reinforced concrete structure. Furthermore, such situation may become even worst when the joints of

Slight discrepancy in the onsite or offsite works may result to delay in the whole operation. additional amount of steel or very strong and rigid connection design may be required to strengthen the performance of the structure. the carrying out of anti-corrosion or fire proofing treatment to steel. Fire resistance – Though structural steel is incombustible. availability of materials and labours.frame get aged. Similarly. The usual allowable deflection should not exceed 1/300 to 1/350of the effective span. Fabricated steel members are often made to quite a large size and heavy weight in order to minimize unnecessary connection works on site. Deflection – Deflection may easily occur in structural steel members especially when they are exposed to excessive or rapidly varying loads such as under extreme temperature difference or facing sudden wind load. This may at the same time increase the loading requirement of the structure during the process of construction. site conditions and the opportunity cost created by the speed of work etc. Under normal fire situation finds in high-rise building when temperature can rise to 9000C in a short time. Besides. This may lead to disastrous result unless effective fireproofing treatment is provided. strength of steel can drop by more than 60%. heavy hoisting equipment is required. the relative flexibility of steel may have the problem of incompatibility when some rigid components such as cladding or curtain walling systems. the above points only reflect the relative characteristics in the using of structural steel. otherwise. Generally speaking. However. erection and operation of the hoisting equipment may incur additional work on site. Not to mention the more specialized workers it required in the carrying out of such works. Transportation & erection – Although structural steel members can be fabricated off-site. To overcome this. it may not be acceptable from the point of providing finishes to a building. the mounting. site inspection to the steel connections or to the encasement of the steel members may require addition work and time thus lengthen the entire construction period. The actual merits or demerits of this construction method should finally rely on some other local factors such as the choice of both architectural or structural design. Besides. To overcome this weakness in the design. steel loses its strength significantly under fire. this may create problems in lining the member to the spot of work. demands to transport the components to and temporary storage of the members on site still incur practical difficulties.  Constraints in the use of structural steel construction Lack of expertise and skill in carrying out structural steel works – Contractors or even skilled workers qualified for structural steel construction are rare and thus resulted to relatively higher . Connections – Connection of the pre fabricated steel members requires accurate dimension coordination.

fabrication of the structural steel members are usually done off-site in a properly equipped fabricating yard in which the . Fire proofing requirements – Fire proofing requirements is quite strict for the buildings that are mainly high-rise in which a great number of occupants are using. Furthermore. Existence of alternative techniques – The major advantages of using structural steel construction is its ability to produce large-span. flat slab construction. approval and monitoring procedures. mounting.  Process of construction Fabrication & delivery – As for multi-storey buildings where the structure are heavy. They require heavy hoisting equipment to assist in the connection works. light-weight and space effective buildings. Fire protection to steel is therefore essential for structural steel construction. The completed structural members often weigh more than 10 tones. The completed structural members are transported to site for connections afterward. Such working spaces are often required inside and outside the site. Lack of the utilization of latest & sophisticated technologies for fabrication & erection of steel buildings – One of the major reasons for the delay or increased cost of fabrication is due to lack of standardization. In order to saves such extra works. Failure under the situation of fire may produce great casualty-Though structural steel is not a combustible material. high performance concrete or other effective foundation design/techniques. The positioning of such members may be difficult especially in congested site where there are buildings and other public facilities nearby. non utilization of technology. engineers or designers tend to use other methods to construct wherever alternative exists.construction cost-This situation is especially obvious for building of complicated structural steel design or for very large scale development projects. Availability of the heavy rolled steel sections – Either scarcity or the requirement of preordering the heavy rolled steel members may result in cost increment & delay. due to the introduction of many other advance construction techniques such as the using of pre/post-stressing. This may in fact increase the overall cost of construction. Lack of working space – To carrying out of structural steel works requires very large space for prefabrication. or in the temporary handling and storage of the structural members. Applying fire resisting treatment to steel is costly. the erection. many of the advantages inherit from structural steel construction can now be substituted by other relatively simpler and more cost-effective methods of construction. it often involves special testing. the fabrication process is undertaken manually which results in increased cost & time. Also. anti-rusting treatment. it loses most of its strength under fire. operation or dismantling of such hoisting equipment also occupy extra space. However. time consuming & the most important of all. working time and incur costs.

a 19mm thick board can provide a fire protection up to one hour. Fire-proofing treatment – Conventionally structural steel members are fire protected by concrete. which is lightly reinforced and poured around the steel using suitably design formwork. Connection to the foundation is usually done using anchor bolts. and can have easier dimensional tolerance. that is. and is seldom used today. such as increasing the dead load of the structure. Usually. this method has a lot of drawbacks. most of the connections are done by welding in order to produce more rigid joints. Connections – Connections for structural steel sections can be classified into shop connections or site connection in a properly equipped fabrication workshop. such as gypsum board of adequate thickness or vermiculite concrete board. In order to have more fabrication done off-site to gain the best benefit from works. The other fire protection method is to encase the steel members using some kind of non-combustible board. or a 32mm board up to two hours. This kind of material can easily achieve a fire protection up to two hours under convenient thickness. quality of welding or anti-rusting treatment of the structural members can be done under a more accurately controlled manner The completed members or components will then be transported to site as scheduled.scheduling of works. such as the storage spaces or the capacity of hoisting equipment of the site. However. can serve such purposes. On the other hand where connection works are done on site bolt joints are used more frequently in conjunction with site welding for the former can be done quicker. Having discussed the advantages. disadvantages & pull backs we can come to a general conclusion that if structural steel construction can overcome the above mentioned disadvantages & stand up to the pull . time consuming and costly. most of the completed members or components are fabricated into a size or weight as large and heavy as possible up to the handing limits. or to build up its thickness in subsequent coats-Another type of coating which developed recently can also be in a form of intumescent painting. Quite a lot of materials. both reinforced with fiber or metal mesh. cost effectiveness and quality control. it can easily coat onto most objects with irregular surfaces. But again for the utilization of sophisticated equipments requires that the fabrication to be done offsite at the shop. If the structure is a low rise building with comparatively light members. the paint surface will expand under heat becoming spongy-like with the heat insulating ability tremendously increased. dimensional coordination. Since the material is applied using spray-on method. which can considerably reduce the transportation expenses. alternatively a temporary fabrication shed can be set up on site if the space permits. One more popular method used today to fire protect the structural steel works is by the applying of a spray-on fire protection coating-Materials for the coating may be of cement based and mixed with mineral wool or mineral fiber product.

backs. attachments. Tapered sections are used for beams & columns made up of structural steel plates & or rolled sections. PEB stands for PRE – ENGINEERED BUILDINGS. Some of the advantages of a PEB which helps it to outshine the conventional structures are listed below: Custom design – PEB are designed exactly to match the load transfer of the structure which helps to optimize design. workshops. Now a day’s a new trend of using PEB’s have evolved against the conventional structures. value added. industrial and commercial operations.engineered buildings are on avg. quickest & environmental friendly option for the building construction. It reduces material wastage & the strength to weight ratio of the structure. they are easily expandable. in many segments of the members. Pre-engineered buildings offer modern solutions to all building constructions.) & cold formed steel is used for secondary framing (Girts. secondary framing elements.). PEB’s are tailor-made solutions to a customer’s needs and are custom-designed to meet exact requirements. cold storages. Pre-engineered buildings are suitable for both. sports halls. pre-engineered buildings without sacrificing utility and function. Warehouses. aircraft hangars. are the Primary steel members are selected from standard hot rolled 'I' sections. insulations & coverings helps to optimize the cost & time in fabrication as well as erection. Architectural appearance  In any condition a PEB is the best option for low rise buildings considering all the factors including construction time & cost. 30% lighter of through steel. which are. can withstand harsh climatic conditions and come with maintenance-free exteriors. A comparison between the conventional structures and PEB is included below: PRE-ENGINEERED STEEL BUILDINGS (PEB's) CONVENTIONAL BUILDINGS Structure weight Pre. In a PEB high strength structural steel members are used for primary framing (beams. connections. columns etc. These buildings are flexible enough to suit different building dimensions. factories. heavier than what is optimum framing use Primary tapered members . Use of cold form steel also reduces the strength to weight ration. supermarkets or any high-rise building. Standardization – Standardization of the layout. purlins etc. PEB help to convert complex and expensive conventional steel buildings into simpler and economical pre-designed. then structural steel construction can be cost effective.

Basic designs are used over and over again. Secondary members are light gauge (light weight) roll formed (low labour cost) 'Z' or 'C' shaped members. Each project is a separate case. analysis Generalized computer reduced. and increased margins on design fees. Secondary members are selected from standard hot rolled 'I' & 'C' sections. which are heavier. constant of regardless magnitude of the local stresses along the member length. Design Quick and efficient. since PEB's are mainly formed of built up sections and connections. crossvarying sections with larger depths in the area of highest stress. design time is significantly reduced. easy to construct. with fewer design aids available to the engineer. required. Each conventional steel structure is designed from scratch by the consultant. Substantial engineering & detailing Consultant’s in-house design and drafting time is considerably is required on every project. allowing more time for coordination and review.(varying depth) built-up plate actually Members sections required have by design. engineers need more time to develop the design & details of the unique structure. More complicated design requiring extensive design and drafting time from consultants. requires extensive input/output & design alterations. Delivery 3 to 4 times quicker Foundations Simple design. heavy foundations . Extensive.

Overall Price Price per square meter may be as much as 30% lower than High price per square meter. which often require research and thus resulting in much higher costs. offering very competitive rates. Erection is slow and extensive since field labour is required. In most of the cases. usually have a stock of standard components in their camps. Heavy extensive experience with similar buildings. conventional building. project . PEB builders equipment is often needed. enabling them to complete jobs on time should any shortage or on site damage occurs to materials.Erection cost and Time Both costs & time of erection are accurately known. based upon Typically. Seismic Resistance The low-weight flexible frames offer higher resistance to seismic forces. Special architectural design and features must be developed for each project. Sourcing & Building is supplied complete with Many sources of supply. fast. the erection costs and time are not estimated accurately. Architectural Design Outstanding architectural design can be achieved at low cost using standard architectural features and interface details. step by step and with minimum equipment requirement. they are 20% more expensive than PEB. PEB's are often erected by specialized PEB builders with extensive experience in the erection or similar buildings. Rigid heavy structures do not perform well in seismic zones. The erection process is easy.

particularly at the supplier/contractor interface. components into unique specifically to act together as a system. . Experience with similar buildings. material supplied. Each building design is unique. in actual field conditions. and peak performance in the field. Responsibility Single source of supply results in total responsibility by one supplier. to protect their reputation. which allow dependable prediction of performance. suppliers and sub- including erection (if desired) from one single source. The consultant carries total design liability. Performance All components are designed Components are custom designed for a specific application on a specific job.Coordination cladding and all accessories management time are required to coordinate contractors. Multiple responsibilities can result in questions of who is responsible when components insufficient do not fit is properly. for maximum efficiency. or materials fail to perform. precise fit. PEB manufacturers can be relied upon to service their buildings long after they are supplied. so prediction of how components will perform together is uncertain. has resulted in design improvements overtime. Materials which have performed well in some climates may not do so in other environments. Design and detailing errors possible when assembling the diverse buildings.