30 November 2020
WHY BUILD A STRUCTURE IN STEEL?
Steel represents the most up-to-date synthesis of engineering and architecture, creating constructions that translate into profitable investments over time. Thanks to its powerful expressiveness and its elasticity and malleability, the architectural work and the structural work interpret one another, enhancing the design and its particular features. Treatments such as galvanizing and painting or the use of stainless steel ensure a finished construction that is able to maintain its characteristics unchanged over time.
STEEL STRUCTURES ARE RECOGNISED FOR THEIR TECHNOLOGY AND INNOVATION
The accuracy and degree of precision used in the design of steel structures makes it possible to obtain lightweight yet safe constructions. Every construction detail has a precise purpose at the structural level and is designed to combine aesthetic taste, ease of installation and cost effectiveness.
This makes it possible to design very large interior spaces without the need for intermediate support structures. Metal structures take up less space because they do not have pillars and smaller profiles, meaning the covered area can be exploited to the full. This is an advantage that is difficult to obtain using traditional materials such as reinforced concrete. In addition, thanks to its flexibility, a steel structure allows extensions, elevations, renovations, changes of use and adaptation of internal spaces that would otherwise be difficult to achieve using other materials.
Steel’s functionality and versatility of use make it a competitive material for any type of construction. The competitiveness of steel solutions is testified by elements that have a very positive impact on the final cost of a construction: speed of construction first of all, but also savings on foundation works (light structures require lesser foundations).
WHY CHOOSE A STEEL STRUCTURE EVEN ON EXISTING ADAPTATIONS
Work on existing buildings is an increasingly pressing issue in the face of the historical authenticity of the legacy of buildings and infrastructures built during the decades of strong economic and demographic growth of the last century. One of the major concerns is the seismic safety of existing buildings, which were built according to obsolete anti-seismic criteria or with no consideration of seismic action because, at the time they were designed, the area in which they were to be built was not classified as seismic.
It is now well known that the whole of Italy is subject to seismic risk and recent events have unfortunately highlighted the seismic vulnerability of the built environment as a social and economic emergency threatening both the lives of Italy’s inhabitants and its productive activities. For these reasons, the search for effective and competitive solutions to reduce the vulnerability of existing buildings to earthquakes and their applications in the field have assumed roles of increasing centrality in the construction industry.In this context, steel plays an undoubtedly fundamental role thanks to its following qualities:
- lightness of the structural elements, made possible by a high strength-to-weight ratio, a feature that, in turn, makes it easier to transport and install structures and minimises the side effects due to the increase in load and mass on existing structures;
- small size of the structural elements, as a natural consequence of the excellent structural efficiency of steel, a feature that makes it easier to replace existing structures and/or integrate them with reinforcing elements;
- aesthetic value of the steel elements, which is fundamental when the structural synergy between old and new materials is combined with the architectural value that comes from the contrast between different characteristics;
- speed of construction, a feature that is always desirable, but especially when the work is urgent or when it is not possible to disrupt the use of the building for any length of time;
- reversibility of construction work, a feature of steel structures based on removable dry connections, especially important for work on historic buildings.
For these reasons, steelwork is a solution that lends itself very well to structural interventions aimed at reducing the seismic vulnerability of existing masonry or reinforced concrete buildings.
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