structural steel fabrication Houston

Madden Bolt Discusses 4 Reasons Why Structural Engineers Look to Steel

Beyond its superior strength, there are many reasons why engineers rely on steel to construct building structures. Madden Bolt, a fabricator of anchor bolts and miscellaneous steel parts, has assessed the different advantages of steel as part of its dedication to better serving our customers.


Why Madden Bolt Believes Steel is the Material of Choice for Structural Engineers:

#1: Steel is More Cost-Effective.

Structural steel helps reduce overall project costs because:

  1. Steel frames typically cost less than other framing systems.
  2. Builders will accrue less labor hours because steel can be constructed quickly. Take Madden Bolt’s anchor bolts for example: we can thread rebar and custom cut steel plates in the matter of minutes.
  3. Faster construction may allow the property owner to generate revenue early.
  4. Steel is adaptable, which means the structure can be modified without major waste.

Additionally, when structural engineers involve the steel fabricator early in the design phase, they can capture increased savings. In the case of Madden Bolt, we have partnered with many EPC contractors from various industries needing last-minute revisions to structural members, which winds up increasing project costs significantly. By working with an experienced steel fabricator at the onset of the design phase, contractors can eliminate the cost of rework.

#2: Steel Gets a Thumbs Up for Sustainability.

Green is probably the last thing that comes to mind when you think of steel, but here’s why it is sustainable. Today’s steel is mostly made out of recycled content — far more than that of any other construction material. The steel industry also has significantly reduced its greenhouse gas and overall emissions, typically exceeding regulatory requirements.

Structural steel has also received maximum credit from The LEED Green Building Rating System for its contribution to the overall rating for a structure. This was attributed to steel’s recycled content, recycling rate, and transparency. Structural steel produced in the United States contains 93% recycled steel scrap, on average. Steel is the material that keeps on giving: it is actually “multi-cycled,” because it’s not just recycled once. At the end of a building’s life, 98% of all structural steel is recycled back into new steel products.

#3 It has been proven first-hand that structural steel can be designed, fabricated, and erected quickly.

Working with structural steel can increase the efficiency of a project because it can be designed, fabricated, and erected at high speed. Unlike other materials that have to be fabricated onsite, much of the fabrication for structural steel can be performed off-site, which is a major advantage in eliminating down time due to weather conditions. Take for instance the steel embeds and plates fabricated at Madden Bolt that are welded in our fabrication shop in a matter of minutes.

Because most of the fabrication of structural steel typically happens in a tightly controlled and managed environment, contractors can count on better quality. This reduces the likelihood of revisions that arise from errors and discrepancies. Steel fabrication shops that have attained AWS certifications and AISC certification, like Madden Bolt, can further reduce production time because they are setup to prevent rework by complying with the strictest of fabrication standards required by many EPC contractors.

Working with other materials, like wood, typically results in higher labor demands and slower productivity due to processes such as forming and shoring. In general, EPC contractors that use steel can leverage cost savings gained through project scheduling efficiencies. Steel can be fabricated off-site and erected even during winter time, thereby reducing down time. Additionally, finishing ahead of time allows builders and property owners to generate revenue through early occupancy.

#4 Designers Attest to the A-1 Quality of Steel.

Because the frame of a building is critical to all-around safety, it’s obvious why designers choose a structural steel framing system. Structural steel is predictable and therefore reliable. Steel also has the highest strength-to-weight ratio of any material used in construction, according to the American Iron & Steel Institute. That means that steel components are stronger without adding much weight.

Also, because steel is quality controlled with tight tolerances and quality processes, contractors can rest assured knowing they can build a safe and stable structure. As mentioned earlier, steel fabricators with AWS and AISC certifications align to structural engineering standards of AISC Specification and Code of Standard Practice. AISC- and AWS-certified fabricators, like Madden Bolt, are determined to bring consistency to fabrication procedures and their finished products.

With more advanced tools, mechanisms, and quality control programs in place, contractors feel confident they are building a safe and stable structure with steel materials. Materials are fabricated in a quality controlled environment with close oversight of the different phases of production including materials inspection, mill check, cutting, fitting, welding, bolting, galvanizing, and shipping.

To learn more about how steel is fabricated, check out Madden Bolt’s blog on bending machines.