Steel structures are the modern, cost-effective and reliable way to construct different buildings.
There are two types of steel buildings:
Buildings made of prefabricated steel structures can be of a special design (steel structures fabricated on a by-order basis). Exterior finish of these buildings can be very diverse - it allows to implement any unique design projects. These buildings are: hangars, warehouses, factories, office buildings, shopping malls, halls, stadiums, etc.
Modular buildings are the ones erected of prefabricated modules. A module often has a specific dimensions, it can be from 2 to 2.5 m height. In most cases this type is used for construction of accommodation cabins, small offices, administrative and residential buildings, small villages. Currently it is used for construction of kinder gardens.
Steel buildings are widespread throughout the world due to undeniable benefits of this technology: it is simple, quick to erect, you can use any layout of premises, low construction costs. Rate of construction of steel buildings is 10-12 times faster than construction of brick or concrete ones. In addition to this, steel structures have no restrictions on environmental conditions and erection can be done at any time of year. Economic benefit may reach up to 40 % in comparison with standard materials.
Steel structures are fabricated both of typical and special design, the latter can be of different configuration and purpose.
Common types of steel buildings:
The main advantages of steel structures
Reliability, durability, light weight, ease of erection – these are the main advantages of this technology. Steel structures allow both: batch manufacturing as well as manufacturing of structures as per individual designs.
Other advantages of steel structures:
Steel structures can be used for construction of both: residential buildings and industrial ones. These buildings are additionally equipped with taps, ventilation and electrical equipment, heating system, alarm system, etc. Siding, brick, tile or ceramic granite can be used for interior furnishing of this building. Even the most daring designs can be brought into life due to this diversity.
Fabrication and erection of steel structures
Steel framework is the base part of rapidly erected buildings. Traverse frames are assembled of posts and girders which are assembled by means of bolted connections. Tension members are fastened to these frames in order to ensure required reliability. Roof and wall purlins are installed afterwards. Lining of the inside and outside surfaces of the framework is done in the next place. Different materials are used for this purpose: reinforced concrete, sandwich panels, bricks.
Nowadays sandwich panels are the most common material used for lining of steel framework buildings. Sandwich panel consist of two steel sheets with anti-corrosion protection; insulation plate is installed between these sheets. Required stiffness of the structure is archived by special alignment of insulation fibers and special glue.
All elements of steel structures are fabricated at the plant, so degree of structure prefabrication is very high. Framework elements are also checked at the plant in order to meet project properties, reliability, stiffness, etc. Check assembly of some elements is also carried out. This assembly ensures high quality assemblability during course of erection works. When all these procedures have been done, steel structures are transported by any types of cargo transport.
Range of application of steel structures
Despite the wide range of application of steel structures, there are several areas where application of steel structures is unreasonable: construction of nuclear reactors and bank vaults (as they require improved security) and apartment buildings.
Steel structures allow erecting buildings in a very short time. For instance, it takes up to 3 months to construct shopping mall (100 sq. m) without using steel structures. In case if steel structures are used for the same building, construction time decreases 1.5 times. Steel structures are irreplaceable if it is necessary to construct large buildings within a short time. They ensure completionexactly within the period specified by a customer.
Steel structures can be disassembled very quickly if it is needed. At the same time disassembling do not require significant financial expenditures. Due to this, customer or owner can easily adjust his property for constantly changing market situation and market conditions.
Steel structures allow to design and erect different types of buildings without restrictions, financial and time loses and high labor costs. However, the following should be kept in mind: if buildings of prefabricated steel structures have to be moved away, the only structures that can be easily transported are the main ones. All other elements, like roofing, may require replacement. In this case some problems may arise during reassemble and fabrication of elements that should be replaced as if they were lost during dismounting. Nevertheless cost savings in materials for a new building still is at least 40%, making all above described inconveniences negligible. Dismounting of a building constructed of prefabricated steel structures is still cheaper than the full demolition and takes less time.
Smaller lifetime of steel buildings (comparing to buildings made of other materials) is often told to be the main drawback of steel structures. But still there is no statistical studies confirming this point of view. At the same time it is well known that most part of buildings constructed of steel structures are operated far longer than the lifetime indicated in their projects. That’s why it can be told that operating lifetime depends on the quality of erection works, manufacturing quality, conditions of usage of the building and well-timed repair and maintenance works.
We should also mention that lifetime of lining materials is much less in contradistinction from lifetime of steel structures. But if they are timely replaced, maintained and carefully operated, the building will always look like new. It is also mentioned that the long lifetime of a building is an undoubted advantage not in all cases. Many things depend on the purpose of the building. For instance warehouses and trade halls are seldom operated for decades. It is much easier to receive an approval of the various government departments if your project has temporary status.