Superman Approved: How Structural Steel Has Fortified Urban Centres

Superman Approved: How Structural Steel Has Fortified Urban Centres

Structural steel components used in a pre-engineered steel building can allow for a clear span floor space and roof, ideal for commercial and retail buildings in urban centres.

The Man of Steel may have been able to leap over tall buildings with a single bound, but he would have had a hard time destroying them. Like Superman, most structures found in cities today are built around a core of the strongest structural steel.

You could say that steel acts as the bones of a building. Each component provides stabilization and strength, from the top to the bottom of the highest skyscraper to a three-floor arena to a commercial or retail outlet. But it is also used more and more on the exteriors of buildings.

In addition, prefabricated steel roof trusses, even exposed trusses, are becoming more popular in urban construction and offer a high-strength, light-weight roof system that can be installed quickly.

Here are some ways structural steel is used in the urban construction trade:


More powerful than a locomotive

Like most buildings, high rises and other multi-storey buildings must start with a solid foundation, but the framing is also integral to the strength, flexibility and durability of the structure.

Normally, the first thing you see when a building is going up are the steel beams, however, structural steel serves other purpose, including:

  • Columns, cross-sections
  • Wall support (studs and joists)
  • Rebar for reinforcing concrete
  • Cladding
  • Handrails and balusters
  • Roofing
  • Drainage


Up, up and away

Open-span planning is also a big part of urban construction, especially with multi-level and large-width buildings. Structural steel is used in the fabrication of long span composite beams as well as open web joists, which provide a high strength-to-weight-ratio necessary for larger, column-free open spaces within the building’s frame.


Faster than a speeding bullet

This is where the pre engineering of structural steel comes in. With most of the fabrication done in a manufacturing plant, a pre-engineered steel building is ideal for urban construction as it is a faster way to build, taking an average 33 per cent less time to erect than other types of construction. It also causes less construction waste, so the building site works more efficiently, saving both time and money.


Truth, Justice and the Canadian Way

The building trade, especially in urban centres, has become one that looks to renewable resources and other greener solutions that don’t cost the planet. The design, fabrication and erection process of structural steel has seen desirable environmental improvements.

Steel is fabricated with both post-industrial and post-consumer content, including waste scrap and salvaged steel, making it a renewable and recyclable product. Canadian-made buildings that use structural steel elements, including retail and commercial steel buildings, have received better LEED certification, a green building rating system that gives points to energy efficiency, material selection and indoor environment quality, along with other green initiatives.


For more information, read our blog on Metal Buildings: Environmental Benefits of Building with Steel.


Metal Structure Concepts specializes in all forms of steel construction, including structural steel and pre-engineered steel. We partner with a number of steel manufacturers from across Western Canada to supply competitively priced steel building components and structures to our clients.