When it comes to steel in construction, it truly is the high achiever in the collective world of building materials. Yet, why do so many builders still default to timber? Maybe it’s better the devil you know? You worry that there are too many unknowns, and it’s better to take the known path to get the job done.
But what if you could push the envelope a little and innovate your approach? Steel is your secret weapon. Read on to learn more about why steel beats timber, hands down. *NB we are a little biased.
Australia has one of the most dynamic steel sectors in the world and is recognised as a world leader in the use of high-tensile materials and coating technology (Australian Steel Institute), and when it comes to steel use, construction uses 43% of the steel produced in the world – but don’t take our word for it, read on to read the cold hard facts.
- A steel frame is straight
Believe it or not, wooden frames are not straight. They may start out straight but are susceptible, to warping in the heat and shrinking with moisture. These variations are something that you cannot control and can completely alter and throw out building specifications, not to mention the overall engineering integrity of the building.
A straight steel frame provides a water-tight assurance to the builder, the architect and the building owner, that their project will be built on spec, on time, on budget – and last for the long term.
- Termite proof
When it comes to steel, you never need to worry about termites. Steel is completely termite-proof, so this invisible threat disappears. On the other hand, when timber frames are built, it is often too late before building owners realise that the structure is permanently damaged.
Even a concrete slab will not deter termites from getting in if there are cracks.
If you’re building with timber, you will also need to factor in the expense of regularly checking for termites, which can add to overall costs. It makes sense to build a termite-proof structure from the start.
- Environmentally sustainable
Steel is a 100% recyclable material, without any reduction in quality, and it is also one of the most recycled materials on earth. On average, new steel products contain 30% recycled steel material.
Steel frames also create a more environmentally friendly building environment overall, because they naturally seal around door frames and windows, keeping heat and cold in and out. In the long run, this will reduce the cost and environmental impact of running heating and cooling in the building.
- Time Efficient
All steel frames are designed and manufactured off-site in a warehouse and delivered and installed ready-made. Before any production happens, there are time is planned for allowed to create CAD drawings based on exact specifications provided by the builder. The lead time enables flexibility if plans change.
Timber frames, on the other hand, are built on-site, and often to tight deadlines. There is less margin for error and even less for a brief change.
- Fire resistant
Prefabricated lightweight steel frames are certainly not fireproof, but they are more resistant to fire than timber. According to the Australian Steel Institute, “When properly designed and constructed, a structural steel frame can retain its structural integrity for an extended period of time in the event of fire and prolonged exposure to elevated temperatures.”.
- Architecturally expressive
Steel has design flexibility, particularly in facades, that makes the impossible, possible when it comes to architectural design.
Curving structures, refined detailing, galvanizing and spray coating with paint, the ability to create tubular – or indeed any shape, are just the start when it comes to building with steel. Steel is literally an architect’s best friend when it comes to bringing their building vision to life, and moulding striking and original design.
To wrap up.
By 2050, steel use is projected to increase by 20% more than what is being used today, in order to build for the needs of the growing population. Steel is environmentally friendly, design flexible and long-lasting. (Australian steel Institute).
If you would like to discuss your next building project with a trusted, steel framing expert, call us today. Check out our project portfolio here to see more.