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Steel: The way of the future

18 November 2016

Architects, engineers and construction companies are weighing up the benefits of steel-framed solutions as they seek design and cost gains on building sites.

It’s lighter, faster to erect, competitively priced, sustainable and provides great flexibility for designers. With all the benefits steel affords, engineers and developers are increasingly turning to it as a practical and inexpensive solution for all their design needs.

In many cases, familiarity with concrete construction methods has given concrete an edge in the Australian market. However, choosing steel as a construction solution can have a significant impact on the success of a project in terms of cost, schedule and overall quality.

Evolving market

InfraBuild (formerly LIBERTY OneSteel) is at the forefront of optimising construction solutions for the Australian building industry. By providing trusted technical expertise and a diverse range of quality steel products to its building partners, InfraBuild has been responsible for some significant new additions to the Australian built landscape.

In North Sydney, for example, a new 30-storey residential tower at 80 Arthur Street will be one of the tallest high-rise residential buildings in Australia to feature a structural steel frame.

In Brisbane, a new office tower at 480 Queen Street has successfully used structural steel to reduce construction time, alleviate onsite congestion and deliver better safety and logistical outcomes. InfraBuild has played a key role in other innovative buildings, while many others are on the drawing board.

The business case

The case for designing with structural steel is a compelling one.

Steel allows for column-free spaces and flexibility with space planning because it allows for long spans.

Being lighter than concrete, steel makes it easy to maximise new builds on top of existing structures. The fact that steel products can be fabricated off-site means it can streamline processes and reduce waste on building sites.

And it’s extremely practical, allowing buildings to be modified as the needs of tenants change. More broadly, the use of structural steel framing is encouraging innovation within the Australian construction sector in the form of smarter practices associated with manufacturing, technologies and sustainability.

With advances in building information modelling, integrating the design and fabrication of steel has resulted in faster construction times and lower labour costs – two of the key components affecting the financial viability of a site.

Australian-made steel can be trusted to adhere to exacting quality controls. Steel members are manufactured and fabricated to rigorous Australian Standards, delivering high levels of compliance and traceability throughout the construction channel.

And on the environmental front, steel has the ability to be recycled over and over without compromising its strength and ductility. InfraBuild, in line with our sustainability objectives, has been championing the efficient use of resources as it manufactures steel, in addition to implementing successful water-efficiency programs.

Together, these elements strengthen the argument for the use of structural steel in meeting the design demands of the built environment – now and into the future.

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