Steel has high strength to weight ratio – it has the equivalent strength of traditional construction material that are triple the weight of steel. Steel can also be prefabricated with highly accurate automation machineries or facilities.
Why use structural steel
- Improved productivity– Up 20% in manpower savings can be achieved at the project level by using prefabricated structural steel for construction.
- Flexibility in design– Steel can span greater distance without requiring intermediate columns or load bearing walls. This enable increased flexibility when designing with steel (such as bigger open spaces for buildings).
- Better construction environment– Less dust and noise as most work will be done offsite.
- Improved quality control– Steel sections and joints can be manufactured according to international standards under a controlled factory environment. This results in uniform quality and minimal rework is required at site.
- Environmental sustainability– Steel offers a clean, efficient and rapid construction method, which reduces the impact of building activities on the environment. All steel products are 100% recyclable.
What to consider when using structural steel
These are some considerations to take note of when using structural steel for construction:
- Corrosion protection– An abrasion-resistant protective layer with a strong bond with the base metal can protect against corrosion. A widely used method is barrier protection, such as painting and hot-dip galvanizing.
- Floor vibration– Floor vibration may be caused by occupant activities, such as running or jumping, or the use of equipment, such as ventilation and air-conditioning systems. The project team should take this into consideration when designing longer and lighter structures for a building project.
- Site/project management– Time and manpower savings can be gained from good site and project management. This includes adopting best practices such as just-in-time delivery of steel components, ensuring accurate alignment of steel members and using innovative working platforms that can be installed and dismantled easily.
Compliance to regulations and acceptable solutions in Singapore
- Building Control Regulations 2003– All buildings and structures must comply with the objectives and performance requirements set out in the Fifth Schedule of the Building Control Regulations 2003. The prescribed objectives and requirements are deemed to be satisfied if the design and construction of a building complies with the acceptable solutions set out in the Approved Document issued by the Commissioner of Building Control.
- Eurocodes SS EN 1993 and SS EN 1994– For all steel buildings and structures, the acceptable solution would be compliance with SS EN 1993 and SS EN 1994 read with the relevant Singapore National Annexes. Steel materials and construction tests are also required to comply with the standards prescribed in the Approved Document. In addition, steel buildings and structures must comply with all requirements applicable to the construction of buildings.
- SCDF fire safety requirements– Similar to reinforced concrete buildings, steel buildings are to comply with the fire safety requirements stipulated by SCDF.
Figure 1: Example of structural steel