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Demountable steel structures – have you heard about this?

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Demountable steel structures can be disassembled at the end of a building’s life and reused for a new project.

Recycled Steel In Construction
When steel is recycled, waste is reduced. And it consumes less energy than producing steel from raw materials. By taking steel used in existing buildings and reuse it in new projects, the need to smelt new steel would be avoided, thus making it a cost-effective method of construction. With new steel structure components that can be assembled and disassembled, builders have the flexibility of moving the structure. Effective means of reusing steel in construction is achieved by:

  • Constructing demountable steel structures
  • Designing new buildings
  • Adapting recycled steel construction components into new designs

Recycled Steel And The Environment
Aside from having a cost-effective construction method, demountable steel structures would be a greener way to make use of steel in the construction method as it reduces the environmental impact of steel production, according to Brian Uy, professor of the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of New South Wales. And if construction industry leaders implement this construction method, it could be a game changer for both the construction and steel industry. In terms of suitability, structural steel lends itself to common bolted construction methods which are already commonly used in commercial structural steel buildings.

Demountable Steel Structures
Demountable structures refer to steel structures which can be disassembled easily at the end of a building’s life. These are usually traditional structures used in a shorter period of time, which include carnival structures, school classrooms, and traveling shows. Appropriate components and connections such as structurally improved blind bolts, steel soft flat washers, nuts, and screws are to be used in such structures. But according to Professor Uy, large scale demountable buildings for longer use are also a feasible proposition.

World’s Demand For Steel
In 2013, the world produced some 1,906 metric tons of crude steel. This number could be more if recycled steel is included in the tabulation. Steel is already considered an environmentally friendly product because of efforts of the industry to reduce dust during production. But the environment tends to benefit more if steel is reused and recycled for demountable steel construction.

Demountable steel structures using used steel are a step in the right direction for the construction industry. In the United States, 69% of all steel is recycled. Without this effort, the world would require more steel mining to meet the market demand.

Concept Of Demountable Steel Structures Is Not New
Demountable steel structures are not a new concept. It dates back to the early 1940’s. Unfortunately, it hasn’t been widely used in an organized way. Builders and construction contractors have not integrated the possibility of reusing the steel structures at the end of their useful life into their construction methods. This means they have not allowed for dismantling or disassembly and reassembly where needed or required.

Identification Barcodes For Tracing Steel’s Specific Use
Steel building components usually have identifying barcodes. Hence, it’s easier and a lot simpler to track steel for a specific use. Many steel manufacturers can now stock disassembled steel components as they work with architects to construct new buildings that would make use of demountable steel structures.  Steel structures have been successfully and effectively used for many years. And instead of producing steel from scratch, using recycled steel for demountable steel structures can translate to time and money savings.

Reduced Onsite Costs
Demountable steel structures can be shipped to the site, thus lowering significant onsite production costs. In addition, demountable steel structures can be taken and moved somewhere else which saves money on the cost of a structure as there is no additional labor required to build it.

Demountable steel structures require fewer erectors onsite, thus reducing construction costs.

Greater Design Flexibility
Design considerations would include what you need the structure for and how big the structure should be.  Because of the lightweight properties of steel construction, there is greater design flexibility. Contractors of steel buildings now have the option to build demountable steel structures for short-term steel structures. In the foreseeable future, demountable steel structures may extend to large-scale steel structures.

Have you seen demountable steel structures in your city?

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1 thought on “Demountable Steel Structures From Recycled Steel”

  1. This form of steel construction and recycling it makes a whole lot of sense to me. This makes one wonder: why haven’t they been doing this all along? When kids are under the age of 8, you buy them leggo sets or other toys that allow a child to use their imagination to assemble and disassemble objects. Didn’t today’s engineers grow up with such toys? You think they did not because this concept is only just now getting thought of.

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