Properties of Concrete & Steel Buildings

Written by erik devaney
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Concrete and steel buildings consist of concrete, or a hardened mixture of cement, sand, water and aggregates, which is reinforced with steel rods known as rebar. Rebar helps unify concrete as it cures, increasing the material's overall tensile strength or its ability to resist breaking under tension. As the State University of New York Delhi notes, concrete and steel buildings have several structural advantages over other building types.


When building with concrete, workers can easily create diverse and eccentric shapes, as the building media is relatively mouldable. While steel reinforcing rods are rigid, workers can mould the viscous cement around the rods so that it assumes a desired shape. In contrast, when constructing a wood-frame building, making complex shapes requires making complex altercations to materials. The Sydney Opera House in Australia, which has a distinctive roof-structure that resembles multiple sails, is a testament to the adaptability of concrete and steel buildings.

Extent of Use

Tying in with a concrete and steel building's property of adaptability is its extent of use. Workers can build entire buildings from concrete and steel, including the floors, the walls, the ceilings, the stairways, the foundation and the structural framework. In contrast, most other building types require additional materials, such as wood for flooring, plaster or drywall for interior walls or stucco or siding for exterior walls. By utilising just two materials, concrete and steel, construction companies can save money by buying these materials in bulk.


Concrete and steel buildings are incredibly stable, which is due both to the high tensile strength of the materials comprising them and the overall weight of the materials. As the State University of New York Delhi notes, the heaviness of concrete buildings make them excellent choices for areas that are prone to high winds.


Because concrete is inherently fire-resistant and steel has a high melting point, around 1371 degrees Celsius, concrete and steel buildings are not prone to fire. However, while fire-resistance is typically a standard quality, the weather-resistance of a concrete and steel building depends on construction practices. If workers do not apply waterproofing chemicals and other protective coatings to the concrete, external moisture could eventually cause concrete and steel buildings to corrode.


One of the major pitfalls of concrete and steel buildings is that constructing them is not a time-efficient process. In comparison to other building types, concrete and steel buildings have longer construction periods, as workers must wait for fresh concrete to cure before advancing to the next phases of construction. In addition, the construction process of concrete and steel buildings is labour intensive, as the pouring and spreading of mass quantities of concrete requires a lot of man-hours.

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