Industry News




 

06/01/2005

Concrete vs. Steel

Which is the better building material? You be the judge.

 

Concrete can be placed efficiently in buildings over 1,000 feet without using a tower crane.

Before modern engineering and the ability to manipulate concrete and steel, the world of architecture consisted of wood, adobe, thatch, and cave dwellings. We’ve come a long way. Today’s cities reveal skies punctuated by buildings so tall and austere, even architectural tour guides experience the occasional pain in the neck. So, which material reigns supreme in the world of development today - concrete or steel? Both provide numerous benefits. As for whether or not one is better, Buildings lets you determine which side you’re on.


SAFETY

Concrete: The recent announcement by Ground Zero Developer Larry Silverstein regarding safety measures at the new 7 World Trade Center (WTC) building echoes what the concrete industry has been saying for years: Concrete is safer. The building’s core (where elevators, stairs, and power systems are located) will be encased in 2-foot-thick concrete for protection in the event of a fire or terrorist attack. “Cast-in-place reinforced concrete offers outstanding resistance to explosion and/or impact. Moreover, it can endure very high temperatures from fire for a long time without loss of structural integrity,” says Alfred G. Gerosa, president, Concrete Alliance Inc., New York City.

Concrete requires no additional fireproofing treatments to meet stringent fire codes, and performs well during both natural and manmade disasters. Because of concrete’s inherent heaviness, mass, and strength, buildings constructed with cast-in-place reinforced concrete can resist winds of more than 200 miles per hour and perform well even under the impact of flying debris.

With proper design, engineering, and construction, the seemingly rigid structures built with concrete can exhibit increased ductility - a must in areas prone to seismic activity. However, according to the Skokie, IL-based Portland Cement Association (PCA), the performance of any building during an earthquake is largely a function of design rather than the material used in construction.

Steel: While recent reports issued by the National Institute of Standards and Technology blame the reduced structural integrity of steel for the collapse of the WTC towers, the jet-fueled fires are to blame. Experts acknowledge that steel can soften and melt with exposure to extremely high temperatures. However, with the addition of passive fire protection, such as spray-on fireproofing, buildings built of structural steel can sustain greater temperatures and, therefore, provide additional safety.

Don’t base your opinions about steel’s performance on the events of 9/11. In the October 2003 Modern Steel Construction article “Blast Resistant Design with Structural Steel,” authors Anatol Longinow and Farid Alfawakhiri recall the 1993 WTC attack. The article indicates that the inherent redundancy of the steel frames prevented the structure’s collapse. “We’re seeing a lot of structures constructed taking into account progressive collapse for blast conditions that are designed very effectively and very economically in steel,” explains John P. Cross, vice president, marketing, American Institute of Steel Construction, Chicago.

Steel’s strength and ductility, combined with solid engineering and design, make it a safe choice in seismic zones. “Steel framing does very well under high [wind] loads because it is ductile, which means it has the ability to bend without breaking and can absorb that kind of energy,” says Larry Williams, president of the Washington, D.C.-based Steel Framing Alliance, of cold-formed steel.


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Wood construction is both cost and energy efficient. Check out Morton Buildings and our designBUILD team online today to discover all the benefits of post-frame construction.

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Connectrac wireways offer discrete power and technology connectivity in open interior spaces of all kinds; affordably, quickly and with long-term flexibility.



When choosing a metal-clad building for your next construction project, consider Morton Buildings, Inc., and their designBUILD team, we’ll make your dream a reality.

Visit our website today to learn about the design flexibility of a Morton building and the endless possibilities of partnering with our designBUILD team.

Wood construction is both cost and energy efficient. Check out Morton Buildings and our designBUILD team online today to discover all the benefits of post-frame construction.

We Can Help You Reduce Energy by 30%

Our mission is to help our customers manage their buildings' energy costs, improve reliability, and enhance performance while having a positive impact on the environment.
CLICK HERE to find out how.


Mitsubishi Electric’s H2i R2-Series heat pumps provide 100% heating capacity down to 0° F and simultaneous heating and cooling down to -4° F delivering year-round comfort, regardless of climate zone.

 
04/16/2014

The U.S. Army plans to start development of a solar array that will provide about 25% of the annual installation electricity requirement of Fort Huachuca, Arizona.

04/15/2014

The EPA's annual greenhouse gas emissions report is now available.

04/14/2014

Are you what some would call a “climate-change denier”? If so, you'll want to read this.

04/10/2014
Los Angeles has remained the top city for ENERGY STAR certified building since 2008, while Washington, D.C. continues to hold onto second place for the fifth consecutive year, according to a new list released by the EPA.
04/09/2014
Green construction has grown massively over a short period of time.
04/07/2014
Field demonstrations of newly proven energy-efficient technologies are yielding valuable results for the U.S. Navy, helping it meet energy goals.
04/03/2014
Building owners in Chicago now have more options when it comes to getting their building energy data verified.
04/01/2014
According to a new report from Eaton, such outages are up 15% in 2013 over 2012 and over half of those surveyed believe that downtime could have been prevented.
03/31/2014
The newly revised ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 105-2014, Standard Methods of Determining, Expressing, and Comparing Building Energy Performance and Greenhouse Gas Emissions, aims to provide a consistent method of measuring, expressing, and comparing the energy performance of buildings.
03/27/2014
Facility managers face an every expanding array of sustainability choices and challenges, but for the next generation of FMs, green practices could be second nature as sustainability literacy enters the K-12 school system.
03/25/2014
While the economic recession explains the decline in sales in 2008 and 2009, it is much less clear why sales have continued to fall.
03/24/2014
University of Washington (UW) scientists have built the thinnest known LED that can be used as a source of light energy in electronics.
03/21/2014
Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant signed Senate Bill 2378 into law, effectively enacting the state’s first building code.
03/19/2014
In an attempt to improve building energy performance, the DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory has released a web-based tool called the Technology Performance Exchange, or TPEx.
03/18/2014
Could green building practices pose unanticipated life-safety hazards?
03/13/2014
Worried about workplace violence in your facility? Researchers have discovered that “mindfully observing” high-risk employees can avert danger and workplace violence.
03/11/2014
Through the DOE’s Building Energy Codes Program, every dollar the DOE has spent on building energy codes over the past two decades has resulted in $400 in energy cost savings.
03/07/2014
It is possible to harvest energy from Earth's thermal infrared emission into outer space, according to new research from the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.
03/05/2014
Is your building prepared to handle an emergency?
03/04/2014
NASCAR revealed five newly installed charging stations for employee use.
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