Steel vs. Concrete

Steel vs. Concrete

Before modern engineering, architecture consisted of thatch, wood, cave dwellings. There was no ability to manipulate steel and concrete. Which of the two materials dominate the development world, concrete or steel?


Concrete: Concrete is known to be safe. The elevators, stairs and power systems are located in the buildings core, this is encased in a two-foot-thick concrete for protection purposes in the event of fires or attacks. Concrete buildings also can tolerate extremely hot temperatures for a long time without losing structural integrity. Concrete does not require additional fireproofing treatments and perform surprisingly well during natural and manmade disasters. Concrete buildings that are constructed with cast-in-place reinforced concrete are able to resist more than two-hundred miles per hour of mind.

Steel: Though steel can easily be softened with exposure to hot temperatures, additional passive fire protection such as spray-on fireproofing can sustain hot temperatures and provide safety. Steel buildings can tolerate high winds as they are ductile. This means they can bend without breaking.



Concrete: Although the price of construction materials has increased, ready-mix concrete remains stable. Cast-in-place concrete is pricier in the beginning, but the return on investment lessens the cost.

Steel: The cost of concrete buildings has increased equivalently to the cost of steel structures.


Material Availability

Concrete: In 2004, many states worried a shortage of cement, which is the primary ingredient used in concrete. Other possible factors that contribute to shortages of cement are shipping rates and the limitation of available transport ships.

Steel: According to experts, there is no shortage in steel. The structural steel industry in the United States has the ability to produce six million tons of steel per year.


Construction Scheduling

Concrete: The ancient saying “time is money”, is never more accurate in the construction industry. Concrete buildings are built faster.

Steel: Although concrete’s two-day cycle is an unarguable advantage, steel also provides benefits of its own. It is believed that steel construction results in accelerated schedules.


Environmental Considerations

Concrete: Concrete is frequently locally sources, resulting in minimal energy requires to transport to various building sites. At end of life, concrete is recycled when crushed but cannot be used for new building concrete.

Steel: It is proven that, 85% of steel is recycled. Brand new steel is made from scrapped steel, this uses one-third of the energy needed for making steel from raw materials.


Here at SM Structures, we specialise in the steel building construction. SM Structures specialises in creating versatile workspaces from 100% South African made steel.