Misconceptions about Structural Steel

10 Misconceptions about Structural Steel

When it comes to the construction of buildings, people want the best structural material to ensure that the building lasts long. However, there has been a long ongoing debate on the matter. For the longest, builders have preferred concrete over structural steel due to a few misconceptions. Well, we are here to debunk all the myths and check whether the rumors are true or not. In this blog, we talk in detail about the different misconceptions about structural steel so read till the end.

What are some of the common misconceptions about Structural steel construction?

The common misconceptions of using structural steel in construction are as follows:

Steel buildings are prone to rust easily

Rust is a byproduct of the reaction that occurs when iron reacts with oxygen and water. This chemical reaction is known as oxidation. In simple words, when oxygen and water come in contact with steel, a reaction occurs that starts eating away the steel. However, this chemical reaction occurs in steel that is not treated. Oxidation in structural steel can easily be avoided by coating the steel in zinc. This process is commonly known as galvanization and is necessary for steel that is to be exposed for external climate factors. Galvanized steel buildings can withstand all kinds of weathers and require low maintenance.

For steel that is already showing signs of rust, directly galvanizing the steel may not work as effectively. You will first need to perform anti rust treatments to ensure that the steel is free from rust. Then you can galvanize the steel so that it can last a long life without showing any signs of rust.

Structural steel buildings are complicated to construct

Steel fabricated buildings are coming in trend especially in different parts of Saudi Arabia such as Riyadh, Jeddah, Dammam etc. However, a misconception lies around steel buildings that you need to be aware of. Steel buildings are not complicated to construct at all. Rather, they are easier in construction compared to concrete and wood buildings as the fabrication process is much easier and flexible. Concrete in comparison to steel requires more work. Steel fabrication on the other hand is easier.

Steel structures cannot be customized

Customizing structural steel is not as difficult as it sounds. In fact, they can be fabricated more easily as compared to wooden or concrete structures. You can easily fabricate the steel as your needs without worrying much about the structure losing its tenacity. You can simply bolt new pieces on to the older ones and cut them to size or remove older pieces. In this process the labor is much less than for example breaking concrete walls etc. However, while adding steel to an existing structure make sure that it is properly welded and bolted on. Moreover, make sure that your overall structure can support the changes being made.

Structural steel is too expensive on large buildings

Yes, steel can be expensive when it comes to buildings that require large quantity of steel. However, there are areas that allow you to save on the cost of the overall construction. One such area is labor. It might not be common knowledge, but the labor cost of steel construction and steel fabrication is much cheaper than that of the alternatives. That may have something to do with the fact that the overall construction with steel is easier.

Moreover, steel fabrication jobs, although difficult, are not as labor intensive as others. Moreover, the long-term maintenance costs of steel structures are also lesser than that of concrete etc. Thus, the overall cost over lifetime is reduced when it comes to steel. As more and more buildings in Jeddah and Riyadh are transitioning towards steel it is important to understand the proper cost breakdown over life of the building.

Steel structures get very hot in high temperatures

This is also one of the common misconceptions about structural steel. Although, it is true that steel gets very hot when exposed to heat for a long time. However, insulations help bring down the temperature. Allow me to elaborate. In comparison to concrete or wooden buildings, steel buildings receive more insulations that help to keep the temperatures down. The insulation materials used in steel buildings cater to their needs thus making sure the temperatures inside don’t get very hot. In most cases, temperatures inside the buildings can not even be noticed since they are so well insulated.

Structural steel cannot withstand high heat temperatures

Steel structures are said to not withstand high heat temperatures. This is nothing but a mis conception as the reason is very simple. Steel has a melting temperature that ranges from approximately 1370 degrees to 1540 degrees Celsius. Since, steel is an alloy of iron and carbon and not a pure metal the melting point can vary in different variations.

However, it still is a very high melting point which means steel structures are good to go in areas where temperatures are usually high. Luckily, these are better alternative to concrete etc. in Saudi Arabia as they can withstand the temperatures and still provide more durability. Moreover, steel structures are more safe than wooden and concrete ones in areas that witness events such as fires etc. However, it is not wise to introduce extremely high temperatures to steel for continued periods of time as it can weaken over time.

Steel buildings can get very noisy

This is another misconception surrounding steel buildings. As discussed above, steel buildings get insulations that help in keeping heat and noise down. Moreover, during construction the steel beams are installed directly on some sort of insulation material such as foam etc. Since, steel is a metal and metals are good sound conductors, sounds travel effectively through them in the form of waves.

Using insulation between the structural steel beams brings down noise dissipation in the buildings by eliminating direct contact between the beams. Since, insulation materials are utilized to provide contact between the beams, the noise levels are highly reduced. Thus, the chances of noises such as rain etc. intensifying inside the building are very low.

Steel structures are not safe in thunder lightning

It is true that steel is a good conductor of electricity. However, when it comes to structural steel buildings, they are safe. The reason is very simple. Steel is a good conductor of electricity. When grounded, it passes all of the electricity directly to the ground without posing any danger to other elements. Properly grounded steel buildings are perfectly safe in events such as thunderstorms as all the electricity is being sent to the ground.

People and electrical appliances inside the buildings are also safe and secure and have no reason to be worried. However, one should take proper precautions whether they live in a steel house, concrete or wooden house. Switching electrical appliances off in case of thunderstorms can help you preventing your appliances from getting fried.

Steel buildings are prone to having poor cellular and Wi-Fi signals

Although it is not entirely false, steel buildings can still get good enough cellular and Wi-Fi signals. It is mostly problematic when it comes to buildings that are filled with metal, structural steel, concrete etc. Such materials are good at absorbing radio wave signals. However, using devices such as signal boosters and range extenders can easily boost up your signals if you see a drop in them. Although usually it’s not that big of a problem. However, for people who greatly rely on high internet speeds, a good signal booster would be a better option.

Steel buildings don’t last long

The strength and durability of steel is much higher than other materials such as concrete etc. Thus, they are more likely to outlive buildings that use concrete by many years. Not to mention that they can sustain higher temperatures much better than any other material. Since, galvanized steel is not affected by climate factors such as rain, sun etc., it lives much longer than concrete. Although, it can require some maintenance over its life time. Time to time checkup and maintenance can help you keep your building up to the standard for years to come.

What are the benefits of using Structural Steel in construction?

Apart from all the misconceptions surrounding structural steel usage in construction, the benefits are as follows:

Speedy completion of the construction

When it comes to speedy construction, steel is much better than concrete as you do not have to wait for it to get dry etc. The process is simple, effective and quick. However, you have to bear the cost of steel, but it is much better than using materials such as concrete or wood.

Steel buildings are more secure

Steel buildings are much more secure than wood or concrete buildings. They are more likely to withstand natural calamities such as earthquakes etc. as steel does not let the structure more or flex with earth movements at all.

Greater accuracy and precision

Prefabricated steel or shop fabricated steel can be utilized in the construction process. This not only speeds up the construction but also introduces laser precision. That is because shops use machines that have high accuracy making sure that the metal is fabricated precisely.

Less maintenance over the years

Buildings that use structural steel for their constructions require less maintenance over the years as opposed to other forms of construction. As the wear and tear is minimum, you do not need to maintain it regularly.

Steel is lighter in weight

Steel structures are much lighter than reinforced concrete structures. This makes your overall building light as the weight is significantly reduced. It is noticed that steel buildings are approximately 60% lighter than concrete buildings.

Al Safrik Steel and their Steel Products

Al Safrik Steel is a steel product manufacturer with their footprints all across Saudi Arabia. Our steel products are made from 100% steel. What this essentially means is that our steel is much more strong, rigid and high quality than normal steel. We take great pride in being one of the highest quality steel product manufacturers. Our products are spread across multiple categories that assist industries in their processes.

If you are looking for best quality steel products in Saudi Arabia, we have the complete catalogue for you. Place your order today and experience what Al Safrik Steel has to offer.