Steel Detailers' Manual

Steel Detailers' Manual

Structural steel has distinct capabilities compared with
other construction materials such as reinforced concrete,
prestressed concrete, timber and brickwork. In most
structures it is used in combination with other materials,
the attributes of each combining to form the whole. For
example, a factory building will usually be steel framed
with foundations, ground and suspended floors of
reinforced concrete. Wall cladding might be of brickwork
with the roof clad with profiled steel sheeting. Stability of
the whole building usually relies upon the steel frame,
sometimes aided by inherent stiffness of floors and
cladding. The structural design and detailing of the
building must consider this carefully and take into account
intended sequences of construction and erection.

Steel is the most versatile of the traditional construction
materials and the most reliable in terms of consistent
quality. By its very nature it is also the strongest and may
be used to span long distances with a relatively low self
weight. Using modern techniques for corrosion protection
the use of steel provides structures having a long reliable
life, and allied with use of fewer internal columns achieves
flexibility for future occupancies. Eventually when the
useful life of the structure is over, the steelwork may be
dismantled and realise a significant residual value not
achieved with alternative materials. There are also many
cases where steel frames have been used again, re-erected


Structural steel is a material having very wide capabilities
and is compatible with and can be joined to most other
materials, including plain concrete, reinforced or
prestressed concrete, brickwork, timber, plastics and
earthenware. Its co-efficient of thermal expansion is
virtually identical with that of concrete so that differential
movements from changes in temperature are not a serious
consideration when these materials are combined. Steel is
often in competition with other materials, particularly
structural concrete. For some projects different contractors
often compete to build the structural frame in steel or
concrete to maximise use of their own particular skills and
resources. This is healthy as a means of maintaining
reasonable construction costs. Steel though is able to
contribute effectively in almost any structural project to a
significant extent.

Steel for structural use is normally hot rolled from billets
in the form of flat plate or section at a rolling mill by the
steel producer, and then delivered to a steel fabricator's
workshop, where components are manufactured to precise
form with connections for joining them together at site.
Frequently used sizes and grades are also supplied by the
mills to steel stockholders from whom fabricators may
conveniently purchase material at short notice, but often at
higher cost. Fabrication involves operations of sawing,
shearing, punching, grinding, bending, drilling and
welding to the steel so that it must be suitable for

undergoing these processes without detriment to its required properties.


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