Steel and the Construction Industry

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The use of steel in building construction is a relatively modern one, which really only hit its stride at the beginning of the 20th century. Metal use became commonplace over the last century thanks to cheaper production costs, better machinery and tools and sounder architectural design, and shows no sign of slowing down. Here’s a quick overview of how steel became such an essential component in the building industry.

As early as the 1700’s, designers and builders recognized that metal (specifically iron) could effectively be used to strengthen roofs and had the added benefit of being fireproof. I-beams were constructed of wrought iron, and the use of metal became extremely popular in the building of bridges during the 19th century. However, cost constraints as well as iron’s inability to handle constant pressure from heavy weights prevented it from being used extensively in building construction.

The rebuilding of Chicago following the Great Fire in the late 1800’s ushered in a new era in the use of metal in tall American structures. Skyscrapers became popular as builders began using steel in construction rather than iron. Steel was able to withstand weight demands extremely effectively, and because it was relatively cheap to produce, was also extremely practical.

The world never looked back, and steel has been the foundation of sound structure construction ever since. Today’s steel erecting companies provide an integral service, providing reinforcement to existing buildings and bridges as well as in the new construction of high rises, stadiums, and other large-scale projects. The buildings of today will give years of lasting service long through tomorrow thanks to the efforts of engineering visionaries over a century ago.

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