The Disadvantages of Steel Buildings

Updated March 23, 2017

Steel has been used as a major production material in engineering works since the 1800s. It was widely used during the Industrial Revolution, and has been proven to be a reliable and strong material for various purposes. Although considered as a reliable structure, steel buildings have some disadvantages. These disadvantages are critical and must always be remedied to ensure a steel building's structural stability.

Thermal Conductivity

Steel buildings have a poor resistance to heat. Heat conductivity has always been a common problem of steel buildings. Steel is a good conductor of heat, thus making it more susceptible to thermal bridging, according to Thermal breaks and external insulators are required to prevent this, adding to the cost of construction. Materials such as fibreglass and hard board panels are the most common insulators used in steel buildings.


Steel components have a tendency to corrode, especially in marine climates, according to When steel comes in contact with water, the iron part of the steel chemically reacts to the oxygen contained in the water. This reaction is the main reason why rust forms in steel buildings, according to Because the atmosphere contains all the necessary elements to form water, corrosion in steel buildings is common, especially in places with high humidity. Modern steel buildings undergo preventive measures to resolve issues with corrosion. For steel to last longer, they are treated using dry abrasive blasting, water blasting and undergo coal-tar coatings. Titanium alloys and stainless steel are designed to be more anticorrosive than alternative types of steel.

Prone to Fracture

Just like most construction materials, steel is prone to fracture. Constant tension and stress caused by the overall weight of a building contributes to the wear and tear of the steel. Structural engineers and architects resolve this by including additional support systems. These systems range from additional steel columns to complex brace systems, ensuring the stability and strength of steel buildings.

Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Steve Johnson is an avid and passionate writer with more than five years of experience. He's written for several industries, including health, dating and Internet marketing, as well as for various websites. He holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Texas.