Inaction, incompetence, alertness: what is stopping the adopting of steel construction on a grand scale?

Inaction, incompetence, alertness: what is stopping the adopting of steel construction on a grand scale?
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The Association of Steel Construction Development (ASCD) has initiated a program of pilot project support for steel construction development.

It is no secret that construction with the use of metal structures is not developing as fast as it should. The reasons are numerous. Among them there is potential buyers’ passivity of thinking (they are used to panel and in-situ concrete construction), designers’ incompetence (they haven’t yet learnt to work with steel structures), and developers’ alertness (they are wary of new structural elements).


But the ice seems to have been broken recently. The idea of steel construction is attracting more and more architects and developers. The outlook of potential buyers is also changing.  

What advantages are offered by steel construction technology in this period of crisis, what prospects are therefor residential construction with metal structures… these issues were discussed at the press breakfast at ASCD – the Association of Steel Construction Development.


What bonuses will associates receive?

All over the world, metal frame houses are common. Steel construction has a number of advantages.

First of all is the speed of construction. Ready-made steel bars produced at a plant are delivered to the construction site and are assembled and fixed in situ. It takes less time than pouring concrete.

Not many people are needed, just 10-15 builders, to erect such metal structures. Besides this, there is no need to have a plant near the construction site – all the elements are delivered ready for use.

The opportunity of free layout is another advantage of steel structures as compared with in-situ concrete construction. One may choose any flat layout, and powerful solid cast supports will not obstruct construction.

Recently, the ASCD initiated a program of support for pilot projects in the sphere of steel construction. Those who join the program and start constructing according to the new technology have been promised help.

What kind of support is this? It covers a free functional project concept with the use of a metal structure, free federal advertising of the project, cheaper bank credit, a special fixed price for metal structures, etc.


Steel in housing construction: easier, cheaper, faster

40 Russian companies have now joined the “steel” community. The number of objects constructed under this technology has grown significantly over the last two years, and some developers are planning a wide use of steel. 

— We are going to build houses with steel frames within our new project, the Director General of a developing company, Grigory Vaulin, says. The houses will be located on a river bank, and the ground is not very steady there, so the structure itself will be 4-fold lighter than in-situ concrete, which is very important for future premises. There won’t be any need for piled foundation or shore-fixing operations.

— Besides this, it is very important that the objects with metal frames are erected faster, and, as the purchase of ready housing is more in-demand now, the terms of an object’s commissioning are a priority, Mr Vaulin continues.

A company from Novosibirsk has also joined the program.

— We decided to combine two technologies, says Alexei Reviakin, head of the company’s marketing service. These are the bearing steel skeleton and energy-saving curtain wall panels on a light steel frame.  

The company from Novosibirsk has worked with metal frames since 2014. At the cost of fast construction, they have successfully participated in the housing construction programs for rehousing from the disaster fund, and the “Housing for a Russian Family” program.

Taking part in the pilot project, the developer has received access to technological and engineering developments. This has resulted in a minimizing of expenditures and enhanced control at the construction site.

By the way, an interesting program for demand support was triggered in Novosibirsk. Those who will buy houses constructed with steel technology will be supported in their repayment of their mortgage loan.


Will there be fans of metal structures?

The leaders of steel construction are thinking of the future. Recently, a competition for young architects and designers, Steel 2Real ‘16, was established for the best design of a building with a metal frame.

50 participants have applied. Architecture students have suggested creating a project for a multi-storey building in New Moscow with a functional steel structure. The competition is supported by the Moscow City Architecture Committee and the Ministry of Construction, Housing and Utilities.

So we may hope that in the near future we will have competent architects and engineers capable of designing and calculating housing models with steel frames.