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Concrete vs. Steel Concrete can be placed efficiently in buildings over 1,000 feet without using a tower crane. Before modern engineering and the ability to manipulate concrete and steel, the world of architecture consisted of wood, adobe, thatch, and cave dwellings. Concrete and steel both provide numerous benefits.
SAFETY Concrete: The recent announcement by Ground Zero Developer Larry Silverstein regarding safety measures at the new 7 World Trade Center (WTC) building echoes what the concrete industry has been saying for years: Concrete is safer. The building¶s core (where elevators, stairs, and power systems are located) will be encased in 2-foot-thick concrete for protection in the event of a fire or terrorist attack. ³Cast-in-place reinforced concrete offers outstanding resistance to explosion and/or impact. Moreover, it can endure very high temperatures from fire for a long time without loss of structural integrity,´ says Alfred G. Gerosa, president, Concrete Alliance Inc., New York City. Concrete requires no additional fireproofing treatments to meet stringent fire codes, and performs well during both natural and manmade disasters. Because of concrete¶s inherent heaviness, mass, and strength, buildings constructed with cast-in-place reinforced concrete can resist winds of more than 200 miles per hour and perform well even under the impact of flying debris.
However. marketing. the seemingly rigid structures built with concrete can exhibit increased ductility .´ authors Anatol Longinow and Farid Alfawakhiri recall the 1993 WTC attack. the performance of any building during an earthquake is largely a function of design rather than the material used in construction. ³Steel framing does very well under high [wind] loads because it is ductile. IL-based Portland Cement Association (PCA). However. American Institute of Steel Construction. according to the Skokie. buildings built of structural steel can sustain greater temperatures and. Steel¶s strength and ductility. with the addition of passive fire protection. Experts acknowledge that steel can soften and melt with exposure to extremely high temperatures. Steel: While recent reports issued by the National Institute of Standards and Technology blame the reduced structural integrity of steel for the collapse of the WTC towers. ³We¶re seeing a lot of structures constructed taking into account progressive collapse for blast conditions that are designed very effectively and very economically in steel.a must in areas prone to seismic activity. and construction. therefore. the jet-fueled fires are to blame. The article indicates that the inherent redundancy of the steel frames prevented the structure¶s collapse. vice president. provide additional safety.7 With proper design. engineering. Don¶t base your opinions about steel¶s performance on the events of 9/11. which means it has the ability to bend without breaking and can absorb that kind of . such as spray-on fireproofing. combined with solid engineering and design. Chicago. Cross.´ explains John P. In the October 2003 Modern Steel Construction article ³Blast Resistant Design with Structural Steel. make it a safe choice in seismic zones.
reduce liability on their part. cast-in-place reinforced concrete-framed office tower with a concrete core and wider egress stairs will save nearly 25 percent annually on the cost of property insurance. even the increase in steel has had a minimal effect on reinforced concrete building projects. of cold-formed steel. And while structural steel has experienced a 50-percent increase over mill prices since November 2003. PCA¶s manager of buildings and special structures. Insurance companies also report that owners and developers of a Class-A. ³Concrete prices remain very steady despite the fluctuating and substantial increases in other building material prices. the cost of ready-mix concrete remains relatively stable. COST Concrete: It¶s true: Prices of construction materials have spiked. president of the Washington. and according to Ed Alsamsam.8 energy. ³If you look at the overall impact on project costs.increased safety and structural integrity . D.´ says Larry Williams.C.´ he says. experts like Cross stress that structural steel represents less than 20 percent of all the steel used in building construction. According to Gerosa. However. While cast-in-place concrete construction can be pricier on the front end. in the past year we¶ve seen project costs go up by about 10 percent as a result of increases in all types of construction . the return on investment achieved can lessen the cost differential. ³Insurance companies recognize the benefits of a cast-in-place reinforced concrete office building because the aforementioned benefits .´ Steel: The big news in development is the price of steel.-based Steel Framing Alliance.
other factors contributing to the shortage are shipping rates and the limited availability of transport ships. analyze current steel and concrete framing prices on a project-by-project basis.´ Cross explains. the primary binding ingredient used in concrete. or contractors. With imported cement supplementing domestic supplies.´ he adds. The hurricanes in Florida and atypical levels of winter construction activity resulted in greater demand and shorter supply. according to Williams. ³Developers are using concrete frame buildings in every building sector. and domestic capacity is expected to increase by 2008. ³The costs for a concrete framing system have gone up pretty much equivalently to the costs of a steel framing system. many states were reporting a shortage of cement.´ says Alsamsam. To get an accurate reading on which material is most cost effective. Despite tight supplies of cement in some regions of the United States. And despite what some concrete experts say. Cement companies are rapidly expanding. According to the PCA.´ MATERIAL AVAILABILITY Concrete: As recently as the fall of 2004.9 materials. think again. skyrocketing shipping rates and limited freight transport have resulted in higher costs and unreliable supply. Cross says. And remember. and count on concrete for stable pricing and availability regionally. builders. the impacts have been greatest on smaller companies. ³2004 was not a good year for any building material. The increase in cost of the structural framing system represents less than 2 percent of the 10-percent increase in project costs. if you thought you¶d escape the rising steel prices by opting for reinforced concrete. .
´ . Robert A.10 Steel: Steel availability has been the subject of more than a few conversations lately. experts from the steel industry are eager to dispel the myth that there simply isn¶t enough steel to go around. ³There is no shortage.´ CONSTRUCTION SCHEDULING Concrete: The old adage ³time is money´ was never more true than when talking about construction schedules.´ The popular construction process Gerosa refers to is known as the 2-day cycle. which means there is certainly adequate capacity to meet any growth in the foreseeable future. Structural steel is readily available. our usage was about 4 million tons of wide-flange structural product. According to Gerosa. When compared to structural steel. On a 2day cycle.000 square feet of floor space every 2 days. earn a profit. business manager and financial secretary-treasurer for the New York City-based Local #46 Metallic Lathers Union and Reinforcing Iron Workers. recoup capital. The United States¶ structural steel industry has the capacity to produce 6 million tons of structural steel per year. In 2004. ³Over the past year. and move on to the next project. with the blame placed on the ever-expanding construction activity in Asian countries like China.´ says Cross. ³Buildings with concrete can almost always be built faster. there¶s been a lot of misperception out there in terms of availability of material. It is not uncommon for cast-in-place reinforced concrete buildings to rise one floor every other day. we can [pour] up to 20. explains: ³A 2-day cycle is a very labor-intensive operation. Developers can finish jobs faster. However. Ledwith. sometimes twice as fast.
´ says Alsamsam. ³We believe structural steel framing systems are the way of the future. ³That is something that is absolutely unique for concrete construction. and staging areas become ever smaller and more limited. equipment. Design programs and CAD packages can pass information through a CIS/2 neutral database as a 3-D model to detailing and shop floor fabrication programs. . We also believe that quality is enhanced because of off-site fabrication. and the cities of Chicago and Los Angeles are striving to match that.11 Completing a building faster because of the 2-day cycle offers significant benefits. ³When those ready-mix trucks pop up on-site. as their accessibility to downtown [with] construction cranes. They have mastered it in New York City.´ Advancements in building information modeling have integrated the design.´ says Cross. the sooner the owner can allow occupancy and begin collecting income from tenants. steel provides many construction benefits of its own. Steel: While concrete¶s 2-day cycle may seem to give it an unarguable advantage.´ says Cross of the advances in interoperability. ³This is literally compressing the steel portion of the schedule of projects by 40 or 50 percent. which have resulted in an accelerated process.´ The faster the building is completed. detailing. dump. and fabrication of steel. and that the productivity opportunities that exist in construction can be best addressed in off-site fabrication with a reduction of actual on-site time and on-site construction. they need to come in. ³We believe that they result in an accelerated schedule. These productivity increases position steel as a viable construction material both now and in the future. and leave very quickly.
Steel: ³Steel has the highest strength-to-weight ratio of any construction material.everywhere. ³You can shape anything out of concrete. and castellated beam construction enables lower floor-to-floor heights than typically expected in structural steel buildings.125-foot building. concrete building can also offer uninterrupted floorplates.´ says Williams. the New York City developer currently building at the former Chicago Sun-Times site. ³A great example is the newest office building in New York City. And with new construction methods. utilizing 45-foot spans and awesome views of the park.´ In addition to the unique aesthetics achieved with concrete construction. ³Remember. staggered truss. concrete seeks the form.´ says Gerosa. .´ Gerosa explains. This is no secret to Donald Trump. that¶s why the Guggenheim was built the way it was. ³Public and private developers should also realize that using cast-in-place reinforced concrete to frame a high-rise office building would yield more rentable space because of lower floor-to-floor heights. With proper engineering. Hotel & Tower recently switched from structural steel to concrete so that two additional stories could be added to the 1.´ says Alsamsam of 505 5th Ave.many different shapes . these buildings offer some very real space advantages. Architects of the Trump Intl. steel buildings remain a popular choice for office and multifamily developers. Use of girder slab.12 DESIGN POSSIBILITIES Concrete: Concrete buildings are taking shape .
It¶s a very flexible material in terms of different ways to address design requirements. This occurs in columns. Offering free information and ³concrete´ advice. determines the size and flexibility of building. Typically. usually being considered as covering in the last 150 years.´ says Cross. contact both local and national industry associations. the concrete will have reached its normal design strength at most 2 days after the water was mixed into the concrete mix. The use of reinforced concrete is a relatively recent venuon. If you haven¶t decided which side you¶re on. In some building system. and thereby become an integral part of the framing system.13 Looking for long spans of column-free space? Steel delivers. the skeleton of building.´ Framing System The framing system. steel may be used to carry some of the compressive load as well as tensile load. don¶t worry. and consists of columns and beams that support the building. Framing system carries and distributes the structural loads that occur above the surface of the Earth. Continuous beams in buildings generally require some . Reinforced Concrete Reinforced concrete (Ferro Concrete) is plain concrete in which steel reinforcement rods or bars (³rebars´) have been incorporated to strengthen the brittle concrete. Your education on steel and concrete buildings has only just begun. their knowledge is real ³steel. To find out more. ³Steel can accomplish extremely long spans in structures [and] very open-bay footprints without intermediate columns. In some structural members where minimum crosssection is desired. and it¶s accidentally commonly ascribed to a Parisian gardener named Monier in about the year 1810. the floor slab is design to assist in carrying some of the lateral loads of the building.
operating costs. Properties of Concrete Strength of Concrete. but beams and slabs usually have reinforcing steel only on the tension side. foundations. Much of the focus on reinforcing concrete is placed on floor systems. construction schedule. Concrete composition is the most important factor related to durability. without reinforcement. Reinforced concrete can encompass many types of structures and components. chemical deterioration and erosion. columns. and ultimate strength. Theoretically. tensile. Concrete is said to be workable if its composition is easily mixed. The strength of concrete is measured in its ability to resist the stresses caused by these different forces. Reinforced concrete can be classified as precast concrete and cast in-situ concrete. Durability. beams. frames and more. including slabs. handled. transported and placed with vibrators without loss of homogeneity. the steel is bent accordingly into a zigzag shape within the beam. flexural and shearing forces. A durable concrete would exhibit resistance to weathering.14 compressive steel at the column. occupancy levels and end use of a building. Workability. many concrete buildings would not have been possible. a low water cement ratio produces a high quality Portland cement paste. Designing and implementing the most efficient floor system is the key to creating optimal building structures. 2008) Concrete is reinforced to give it extra tensile strength. (Fajardo and Samarita. Concrete structure is subjected to compressive. In the case of continuous girders where the tensile stress alternates between top and bottom of the member. . walls. Small changes in the design of a floor system can have significant impact on material costs.
which eliminates the need for fireproofing materials. Use of faster concrete-placing equipment such as concrete pumps. 7. 4. As compared to the structural steel. Advantages of Reinforced Concrete in Building Construction The following factors have contributed significantly to the cost-competitiveness of reinforced concrete buildings: 1. and gang forms.15 The cement content should not be less than 8 bags per cubic yard and aggregate/cement ratio not less than 2. which reduces the floor-to-floor height. 3. (2) time-dependent dimensional variations. 2. Building framed with pan joist or other types of construction with a uniform structural depth make it possible to use a simpler mechanical distribution system. The inherent fire resistance of concrete. The durability of concrete exposed to freezing and thawing is enhanced by use of air-entering admixture. 2006). 5. (Dagasdas and Jusayan. columns. namely creep and shrinkage. (3) large cross-sectional areas required from strength . slip forms. The capacity of concrete to be molded into controlled shapes and configurations offers an opportunity to create dramatic and aesthetically pleasing shapes. Minimum thickness of floor systems.6 (by weight). tunnel forms. the material properties of concrete exhibit some distinctive features such as (1) low resistance to tension. New advances in concrete forming techniques such as flying forms. thereby reducing the amount of materials needed to enclose the building. 6. and spandrels can be formed with textured fin form liners to achieve architectural finish without additional treatment or painting. Exterior shear walls.
2008) In comparison to all other materials employed in the construction of buildings. Steel buildings offer a variety of attractive features and benefits. while the predictability of cost and production schedules saves money. Pig iron is then processed with coke and scarp steel in a basic oxygen furnace to produce carbon steel. ease of erection. The ease and speed of erection allows for faster occupancy. Although structural steel components need fireproofing to meet the fire codes. (Dagasdas and Jusayan. and scrap steel. including design flexibility. The coal is heated in the absence of oxygen to produce coke. other than it¶s somewhat unusual ability to resist compression and tension without being overly bulky. steel. more expensive practice of embedding steel members in poured-in-place concrete. larger column-free floor areas. and lower maintenance costs. the invention of a sprayed-on cementations coating mixture had replaced earlier. (Fajardo and Samarita. uniformity and ductility. iron ore is melted down in a blast furnace with coke and limestone to produce pig iron and slag. 2006). minimizing the sway deflection and floor vibration and local instability problems. Iron ore and coal are mined domestically in areas primary located in the Great Lakes Region (iron ore) and in the Appalachian and Rocky Mountain Ridges (coal). Among the characteristics are high strength. thus greatly . structural integrity. Structural Steel Structural steel is produced primarily from iron ore. Steel is also produced through recycling process in which scrap steel is melted down in an electric arc furnace. Various finishing and shaping processes can be used to alter the properties of the steel.16 considerations. The stiffness of concrete members is greater. coke.
A572 and A588 Heat treated low alloy steels: ASTM-A514 In the A-572 category six grades of steel: 42. A441. allows structures to be designed for smaller dead loads and larger spans. There are basically three groups of structural steel available for use in bridges and buildings. and field assembly must be considered during the design stages to achieve the most satisfactory and economical result. . it was a routine and economical choice because of availability for early delivery and maximum competition among bidders.5 MPa). The grade numbers correspond to the minimum yield point in kilo pounds per square inch of the specified steel. Until about a decade ago. Steel. Bungale S. as the proper choice for framing a multi-storey building is a decision that invariability requires comparative studies. 60 and 65 are available for structural use. the following some reasons normally associated with competitive advantages of steel. The most commonly available type and grade of structural steel shapes in stock is grade 36. because of its high ratio of strength to weight or volume. while the A514 group consists of tempered steels with specified yield points ranging from 990 to 100 ksi (620. low alloy steels: ASTM-A440. 1988). Various aspects of steel construction such as fabrication. comprising approximately 75 percent of US production of structural shapes. 55. (Taranath. 45. Advantages of Steel Construction Whether or not. 50.5 ± 689. Carbon steel is available in 36 and 42 grades. However. Structural Analysis and Design of Tall Buildings. transportation.17 improving the economy of steel structures. Carbon steels: ASTM-A36 and A529 High Strength.
Jusayan.18 Construction speed. Cavite. particularly during periods of high interest rates. expanded. structural steel framing is preferred because of less likelihood of ³loss days´ due to snow and icy conditions. This software basically perform analysis which includes computing structural . Steel frames go up more rapidly. It can be easily modified. thus reducing construction financial costs and allowing the building to generate revenue sooner. The structural analysis of both reinforced concrete and structural for framing system of buildings was made through the aid of Structural Aided Analysis and Design III (STAAD III).A. Steel construction may result in reduced foundation costs because of its light weight. from September 2005 to January 2006.T. Dagasdas and R. (Dagasdas and Jusayan. Steel frame is normally 25 ± 35 percent lighter than concrete frame and permit the use of less expensive foundation system. Availability of steel in a variety of grades and shapes that is suitable for economical framing of both short and long span. In severe cold weather conditions. 2006 The cost analysis of reinforced concrete and structural steel for framing system of buildings was conducted at Dagasdas Residence. Indang. or converted to suit future needs of owners and tenants. It offers economical design approaches for retrofit and rehab projects. Increasing acceptance by code-governing bodies of the rational methods for designing with fire-safe exterior structural steel. 2006) Cited Literature y Cost Analysis of Reinforced Concrete and Structural Steel for Framing System of Buildings by S.
6 and10 storey building as well as the estimated cost of the building in different floor level. (4) provide reference for the university for their future project and (5) provide a scale model of the study. The objectives of the study were (1) to conduct structural analysis both reinforced concrete and steel as primary material for framing system of buildings. which conform to the by-laws of the National Structural Code of the Philippines (NSCP 2001) and National Building Code were adapted. The study was only limited to both reinforced concrete and structural steel analysis of 2. All other specifications were the same for both framing system. A scale model which shows the advantages and disadvantages of concrete and steel was provided. obtaining quantity takeoff. it can be concluded that reinforced concrete is more economical to use for framing system of building. selection of economical section and checking stability of structures. (3) enhance the knowledge in analysis of building structure with computer application using structural engineering software.19 members. the cost of a concrete structure is less than that of comparable steel structure. Therefore. In addition. Based on the results of the study. In almost every case. technical specification. The designer needs to keep in mind the items causing lower cost without sacrificing the strength. This is due to less material cost and equipment cost of the reinforced concrete. . 6 and 10-storey building. the use of reinforced concrete as framing system is cheaper compared to structural steel. In many cases. Both reinforced concrete and structural steel are primary materials with its own unique features and characteristics. (2) determine which is more economical between reinforced concrete and structural steel for different level of building. it showed that 2. maintenance cost of concrete are also less.