Steel buildings are used for much more than just warehouse space. They are used to construct churches, offices, retail spaces, fire departments, social halls, restaurants and many other buildings. Steel can be used to construct anything from a garden shed to a hospital or hotel. Improvements in the knowledge of metallurgy has improved alloys. Along with advancements in coatings, concerns of rust have also been eliminated. Steel can be the major construction component in a building project or it can be used along with other materials. There are no limits to its versatility. Here are five economic benefits of building with steel.
Fire Safety and Termite Proof
Steel is not a fuel source for fire to spread. This makes it a safety choice, especially for residential structures. Steel can be used for framing homes or commercial structures to eliminate the fire hazard that wood framing presents. Steel is also termite and rodent proof. Termites use wood for food, and rodents chew it. Some ant and bee species are also very destructive to wood, but they have no effect on steel.
Rapid Construction Saves Labor Costs
Buildings designed to be constructed of steel have the components manufactured and delivered to the construction site. Buildings framed of wood require much more time for measuring and cutting the framing components on site. Some modular style steel units can be erected in a greatly reduced time frame as compared to standard wood framing.
Steel framing along with steel sheathing of exterior surfaces results in strong and highly durable structures. Some commercial and residential buildings sheathed with vinyl siding or stucco (thin mortar over foam panels) are vulnerable to damage from something as simple as rotary weed trimmers. Durability equates to lowered maintenance costs and longevity. Both are important when considering building costs.
Steel is a recyclable rather than renewable resource. It costs less to build steel structures as compared to using wood. Steel building systems can be combined with masonry and other materials to greatly reduce the amount of wood used in construction. Lowered costs for materials along with the lowered costs for labor for erecting steel buildings can result in steel costing half of what a wood building costs.
Choosing a steel building system design that is eligible for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) points can result in tax savings. For example, some states are offering property tax exemptions on LEED certified buildings as well as state tax exemption on materials used in LEED construction. However, it is important to choose a steel building design and builder that has proven experience in construction that obtains LEED certification, which is required for the tax benefits.
Homeowners in particular seem to be holding onto the mindset of building with wood. Some builders may only work with modular materials made from wood such as wood roof trusses and prefabricated walls to lower costs but not necessarily improve quality. Also, many builders that primarily build homes out of wood may lack the tools necessary for residential steel construction. The same benefits that serve commercial steel structures will also benefit homes made of steel, including annual energy savings for LEED certified steel homes.