Steel Design

ISSUE No. One VOLUME 50

Spring 2018

Real Steel Cost Advantages – Consider. Choose. Challenge.

Start at the foundation where the loads imposed by a steel frame are up to 50% less than those of a concrete alternative. There is evidence in the field and through third-party case studies and comparative cost studies that steel building systems offer significant cost benefits over competitive building materials when the total cost of construction is considered.

There is evidence in the field and through third-party case studies and comparative cost studies that steel building systems offer significant cost benefits over competitive building materials when the total cost of construction is considered. Building owners, developers, contractors and design professionals are concerned with overall system construction costs from the design phase through the operational phase, and not simply the raw material costs of structural and non-structural systems. While there are efforts to promote the affordability of a specific building material over others, there is a growing concern that the overall impact of material selection is being ignored or concealed, a result that will be costly for all stakeholders involved.

demonstrated cost advantages such as long-term performance, choose the best material for the building project based on all direct and indirect economic benefits, and challenge the claims of competing materials industries.

It would be wise for developers, designers, building professionals, owners and other stakeholders to consider the case for steel and its many proven or

*A recent comprehensive comparative case study [1] on a six-storey office building was conducted by respected third parties in order to evaluate the impact of using steel framing versus cast-in-place (CIP) concrete on a project’s entire construction cycle from concept and design to costing, construction and sustainability. The result was a net cost difference of $81/m2 ($7.50/sq. ft. [2] in favour of the steel building.

*Cost savings in steel buildings start at the foundations, where the loads imposed by a steel frame are up to 50% less than those of concrete alternative [2].

*Time-related savings can easily amount to between 3% and 5% of the overall project value [3], reducing the building owner’s requirements for working capital and improving cash flow.

Builders risk insurance on a four-storey, 400-unit hotel, built over 24 months, cost $360,000 for steel framing, compare with the $1.6 million it would have cost for a policy if the project had been built with wood – a saving of $1.3 million [4].

“We supplied all the cold formed steel and connectors. We had 95% pre-cut to size to save labour and site debris. The steel’s precision and straightness allowed the use of pre-engineered panels. We estimate close to a $10.00 per 0.093m2 ($10.00 per sq. ft.) savings over a concrete structure”.
– Gerry Morin, Morin Bros. Building Supplies Inc.

Angled View of Steel beams
Steel framing with zinc coating

Steel is durable, safe, and strong. It is not susceptible to rot, termites, or mold. Steel used for framing will last from hundreds to over a thousand years due to its zinc coating, a natural element. Steel structures require less material (both reduced weight and reduced volume) to carry the same loads as concrete or masonry or wood structures.

exposed steel building structure construction site

[1] CISC Comparative Case Study: Steel vs Concrete Framing Systems

[2] SteelConstruction.info The free encyclopedia for UK steel construction information, http://www.steelconstruction.info/The_case_for_steel

[3] SteelConstruction.info The free encyclopedia for UK steel construction information, http://www.steelconstruction.info/The_case_for_steel

[4] SFIA, “Insurance Savings with Cold-Formed Steel”

Explore this issue:

UltraBond Floor System speeds up Apartment Building Construction

A composite floor system shortened construction time by three months and cut material costs, for an 11-storey, 166-condo unit apartment building in Longueuil Quebec. The system, called UltraBond, comes in cold-form sheets 609.6mm (24 inches) wide, 203mm (8”) high and precut in lengths up to 10.06m (33 ft.), according to Simon Pawsey, technical sales representative with the Steelform Group of Companies.

Once assembled into floor decking and with rebar placed in the deep V-grooves, concrete is poured on the Ultra-Bond, creating a lightweight composite floor 292mm (11.5”) thick. Once finished, it has a two-hour fire rating. Pawsey checks off some of the advantages of this construction technique: “UltraBond significantly reduced weight on the structure compared to […]

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Steel and the sound of music

The Taylor Performing Arts Centre is music to students’ ears at Mount Royal University in Calgary. Designed by Pfeiffer Architecture, construction on the new addition to the school was begun in 2011 and finished in the Fall of 2015. The Centre’s crowning glory is the 800-seat Bella Concert Hall, which features a stunning Alberta rose […]

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Pre-Painted Steel Cladding Integral to the North

The new Aquatic Centre in Iqaluit, Nunavut, has revitalized the community and helped to teach another generation of residents how to swim. Joshua Armstrong, architect and Iqaluit office manager for Stantec Architecture in Iqaluit, had his work cut out for him when he was hired to spearhead the project in 2013. The Iqaluit Aquatic Centre was completed in December 2016.

“It’s an aquatic centre first with community centre elements and a fitness facility. It’s Phase 1 of a long-term plan to increase recreational facilities in the community,” he explains. “Since it opened, the response has been overwhelmingly positive. The Centre gets a lot of use.” Stantec’s client for the job, the City of Iqaluit, had […]

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Steel Wall Cladding – Versatility, Flexibility and Lightweight

The award-winning Commonwealth Community Recreation Centre (CCRC) is now five years old. Commissioned under the City of Edmonton’s revamped RFP process, the choice of steel for the superstructure and cladding was key in delivering the design excellence and project efficiency called for by Edmonton’s civic revitalization mandate.

The LEED Silver building resulted from a joint-use partnership between the City of Edmonton and the Edmonton Eskimos Football Club. MJMA of Toronto along with local partners HIP Architects (now Kasian) built on and expanded the formerly underutilized site of the 1978 Commonwealth Stadium, cleverly combining: stadium activities, football operations, and a fitness and community […]

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Pre-painted Galvanized Steel Cladding contributes to re-cladding project

The Victoria Park Transfer Station is a waste drop-off and transfer facility located in North York, Ontario. It is owned by the City of Toronto. Completed in 2017, the re-cladding project rehabilitated nearly the entirety of the building’s exterior. Cole Engineering was the prime consultant working with ATA Architects Inc. as the sub-consultant, responsible for the architectural components.

The waste transfer station was built in the 1970s by Inducon Consultants of Canada Limited. The original brick building was constructed without a rain screen cavity. As a result, moisture entering the masonry wall due to rain and/or the migration of moisture in the form of vapour from within, was unable to drain away effectively. […]

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