Construction safety is always a top priority for both residential and commercial contractors. Although many factors impact the overall safety of a project, the selection of building materials is one of the most important considerations.
When it comes to safe building materials, steel is the top option, and that holds true regardless of project size or scope. Steel is not only used as a standalone material; it can also be implemented to increase the strength of other materials as well.
With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at the role of steel and other reliable materials in construction safety.
Importance of Quality Materials in Construction
The quality of materials used in a project will have a profound impact on asset performance, safety, and lifecycle. If contractors choose materials that do not meet the demands of the intended building use, asset owners may experience unnecessary maintenance costs. Worse still, using the wrong materials can compromise asset safety altogether, endangering occupants.
Therefore, contractors must engage in safe building construction practices by carefully selecting materials during the planning and design phases of a project. In almost all instances, contractors will find that steel is the best option for constructing safe, durable assets.
Why Steel Is the Safest Building Material
Steel offers several distinct advantages over other building materials. Most notably, it provides an exceptional strength-to-weight ratio, which means that it can support loads that far exceed its weight.
Steel also offers great tensile strength, which means that the material can endure a substantial amount of stress without fracturing or stretching. The tensile strength of steel sets it apart from brick, non-reinforced concrete, and other popular construction materials.
Additionally, steel offers great longevity. It is not subject to rotting like wood, and it is highly resistant to cracking. The bottom line is that steel outperforms other building materials in just about every major category.
Less Safe Building Materials
There are many other building materials out there, all of which are viable options for certain construction applications. However, overall, they are less safe building materials than steel. A few of these alternatives include the following:
The biggest drawbacks of wood are its strength and durability. Wood is more susceptible to degradation, meaning it typically has a shorter life cycle than steel.
In comparison, concrete and brick cannot rot or degrade like wood, but these materials can crack. They also have a lower weight-to-strength ratio than steel, and in regards to brick, in particular, installing it is very time-consuming and tedious.
Safety Qualities of Concrete Reinforcement
On its own, concrete does not promote the same level of construction safety as steel. Be that as it may, steel-reinforced concrete is one of the most commonly used building materials. Reinforced concrete has steel rebar laced throughout it, which increases the rigidity and tensile strength of the structure.
By combining the two materials, builders can provide the steel with oxidation resistance while simultaneously increasing the tension resistance of concrete. In other words, they leverage the best traits of each material.
In addition, structural steel components can be pre-fabricated before being delivered to a job site, thereby speeding up construction and streamlining installation.
Safety Qualities of Structural Steel
Structural steel is more costly than wood, stucco, and block, which is why it is uncommon in residential applications. However, it is the preferred safe building material for commercial projects.
Structural steel provides great tensile and compressive strength, as well as outstanding durability and ductility. As its name implies, structural steel is used to build and support the overall structures of buildings, bridges, or other built assets.
Promoting Safe Building Construction with MCSW
Mid-Continent Steel and Wire can support safe building construction practices by providing your business with high-quality steel products. The safe building materials we provide include (but are not limited to) the following:
At MCSW, we pride ourselves on manufacturing quality products that you can count on. To learn more about our line of products or to obtain a quote, connect with us online or call our team.