What do “The People” want from their government more than anything else? To use their tax contributions wisely. If the city uses steel to construct the newest municipal building, “The People” will have their wish.
Steel construction is the most cost-effective and provides the lowest total cost of ownership of any construction material. Using steel has other benefits as well including durability, sustainability and versatility. Municipal buildings should be created to last, cost little to maintain and be easy to customize and reconfigure or expand for future needs. Steel also meets many of the criteria for LEED certification and is, itself, a sustainable material.
The following four reasons support choosing steel for municipal buildings.
A pre-engineered steel building is created from a customer-selected variation of numerous design configurations that are specially fabricated to fit together in an array of combinations. Each building system undergoes rigorous inspection in the factory to ensure every member, fastener and joint is of the highest quality. The resulting building system easily meets the customer requirements and can be analyzed for changes before the foundation is laid.
Using 3D software, a steel building manufacturer can show the building committee exactly how the building will appear once complete and give them a “walk-through” to ensure everything is as required. If changes are needed, it is much less expensive to tweak the design in the software than to submit a change order during construction.
Using a prefabricated steel building system also saves construction time. Construction using other building materials can last years; a pre-engineered steel building can be assembled in weeks or months. Shorter construction time translates into lower labor costs with fewer days on the jobsite. Overall, building with steel can save up to 60% on construction costs.
Also, the cost of assembly is lower because it takes less skill to erect a steel frame, making it easier to find workers. Everything is pre-cut, prepped and pre-welded at the manufacturer to fit together perfectly while generating no waste to haul off and requiring no onsite preparation.
The resulting building requires little maintenance; periodic cleaning of exposed metal is the only requirement. Repairs are simple and inexpensive as well. All parts are single sourced; there is no need to keep a list of multiple vendors to contact when repairs are needed.
Finally, steel buildings can cost up to 40% less to insure, another way to save “The People’s” money.
Municipal buildings are meant to last. As cities grow and shrink, it is the municipal buildings that give them their character and offer shelter. Steel is the most durable construction material available.
- Steel is resistant to fire and does not allow it to spread if another source is alight.
- Steel is proof against pests such as termites, mice, rats and other vermin.
- Steel is coated with Galvalume(R) or another coating to prevent rust and corrosion. It will not rot, creep, split or crack.
- Steel buildings are safest in seismically active regions because it will bend but not break or shatter.
- Steel buildings can withstand extreme weather events such as hurricanes and high winds. It may not survive a direct hit by an EF5 tornado, but it can protect against the shrapnel kicked up by the storm.
Because steel is so durable, reputable manufacturers of steel buildings can offer warranties of 25 years; the building may last as long as 50 years or more. Modern coatings and paints also carry substantial warranties.
Steel is the most recycled material on the planet. A significant percentage of new steel is made with recycled steel. The metal itself is 100% recyclable with no loss of strength. Steel mills have also become quite green. Any water used is recycled or returned to the earth cleaner than when it left. The amount of energy used by the mills has also decreased by a wide margin over the decades and pollutants minimized.
- Steel has a high strength to weight ratio, 25 times greater than wood.
- CAD/CAM design and manufacturing minimize raw material costs and waste.
- Less steel is needed to construct any municipal building, saving costs on materials.
To illustrate this point, a 2,000 square foot structure would take an acre’s worth of forest, about 40 to 50 trees. Replacement trees will take 20 or more years to grow. With steel, the same size building takes the steel found in six scrapped automobiles.
How long would it take to empty a junkyard at this rate?
A steel building can be made energy efficient with some well-chosen insulation and windows. Skylights can add light with or without heat, depending on need, taking the stress off the HVAC system. A cool roof system can reflect light and re-emit thermal energy to keep the underlying building cool as well as reduce the heat island effect within the neighborhood around the building.
Cities and townships are embracing sustainability, seeking ways to reduce the load on the local electrical grid. Lower energy use results in lower costs while providing a pleasant environment in which to work.
Depending on the city and the whims of its leaders, new municipal buildings may need to match existing ones or a new look may be sought for a newly created town or an older city that wishes to update its appearance. Either way, the versatility of steel building design allows you to construct any type of building from a Grecian-temple appearance to the latest architectural marvel.
Wood and concrete can’t compete with the flexibility of steel structures. Municipal buildings must change with the times as new services and technology appear on the horizon. A building with a steel frame and clear span construction allows you to reconfigure and rearrange interior walls, enclose rooms or create large spaces and make any change you need.
Instead of demolishing an out of date building, you can refurbish it, confident that the steel frame will still be strong. Expansion is easy; remove an end or sidewall and attach new framework. Install matching metal wall and roof panels and your building can double its space without loss of services.
Cities need buildings in which to conduct official government business. Taxpayers want beautiful but practical municipal buildings they can be proud to use while saving tax dollars. Steel is durable, versatile and sustainable material that is affordable as well, which is why steel municipal buildings are so popular.