Weight of steel frame structures

Consider a single storey building measuring 5 x 8m (16 x 26ft). Let us first construct this in concrete, with four columns at the corners, beams spanning between the columns, and a 150mm (6") thick concrete slab at the top. Such a structure would weigh about 800 kg/m2, or 32 Tons (32,000 kg) in total. If we build this of steel instead, with a sloping roof covered with corrugated metal sheeting with insulation, this would weigh only about 65 kg/m2. The steel framed building will weigh only 2.6 Tons (2,600 kg). So the concrete building is over 12 times heavier! This is for single storey structures - in multi-storey structures, the difference will be less, as the floors in multi-storey steel buildings are built of concrete slabs for economy - but the difference is still significant.


This low weight of steel frame buildings means that they have to be firmly bolted to the foundations to resist wind forces, else they could be blown away like deck umbrellas!


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