Why Steel


Life-Cycle Costs

Structural Steel provides long-term durability with lower-life cycle costs

Life-cycle costs encompass initial construction cost, routine maintenance and any future restoration costs of a structure.  When protected and maintained properly, steel provides long-term durability and a lower life-cycle cost to the owner, making it  an economical and sustainable choice.

Initial Cost

A project's upfront cost can be a high hurdle for the developer, but prudent additional investment during initial construction can have a positive impact as the building ages. Selecting a highly- resilient structural steel design in a high-seismic region, for example, may yield an attractive return on investment to the owner within the first few years of occupancy. Likewise, providing the proper coating system to protect exposed structural steel framing will add years of life to a properly maintained parking garage. Understanding the future cost implications of initial construction decisions is advantageous for the owner, and a critical life-cycle analysis helps define the project's return on investment.

Routine Maintenance and  Restoration Costs

When comparing structural steel's inspection and maintenance requirements to other structural materials, steel provides reduced costs and exceptional performance throughout the building's life. Depending on the building type, routine maintenance can vary widely. A steel column hidden from view in a conditioned office space requires virtually no maintenance, while a castellated beam in an open-air parking garage in an area that relies heavily on de-icing salts will require a yearly inspection and maintenance schedule to keep it in tip-top shape. But even when taking necessary maintenance demands into account, steel provides long-term financial benefits that other materials don't.

Service Life  

The inherent long-term durability and future adaptability of structural steel means that a steel-framed building will be around for as long as the owner desires. The structural steel frame will never be the limiting factor of a building's life span. Structural steel provides the possibility of new life and use beyond its original design more seamlessly than any other material.

Resources

  • The Whole Enchilada Assessing a material's environmental footprint means looking at its entire lifespan
  • The Better Choice Steel is a viable alternative parking structure and although surrounded by many misconceptions, its strengths position it as a long-term solution.
  • Second Time Around Nebraska Medicine looked to its past to find the right structural solution for its new parking garage.
  • Tempering Tremors San Bernardino's new courthouse features a comprehensive seismic design that minimizes life-cycle costs.

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