Most construction projects require the use of hundreds of different materials ranging from structural steel of different specifications. In terms of a load bearing structural frame, they will consist of structural steel generally.
When designing a structure, an engineer must decide which material is most suitable for the design and many factors are taken into consideration. Cost is commonly a controlling element, however, considerations such as weight, strength, constructability, availability, sustainability and fire resistance all being taken into account before a final decision is made.
Fire resistance – Structural steel is inherently a non combustible material, however when heated to temperatures such as seen in a fire scenario, the strength and stiffness of the material is significantly reduced. The International Building Code requires steel be enveloped in sufficient fire-resistant materials. Corrosion – As same as the measures taken with fire proofing, the steel can be painted to prevent corrosion, and the fire resistance material used to envelope the structural steel construction is commonly waterproof. Mould – Generally a propagation in residential buildings, using steel construction minimises these infestations. Mould needs moist, porous material to grow. Steel studs do not have those problems. The tallest structures in the world today known as skyscrapers or high-rise buildings are constructed using structural steel due to its constructability, as well as its high strength to weight ratio.