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Design guidance tradition strengthened

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At the start of last year the steel construction sector was confidently reporting to clients that there was plenty of capacity in the sector to ensure that expected demand increases during 2015 would be easily accommodated. That confidence was proven to be well founded as despite tales of shortages of labour and materials affecting other sectors, steel construction prices rose modestly and there were no stresses evident along the supply chain.

Later in the year the BCSA reassured clients that the steel construction supply chain remains strong and efficient despite the problems assailing makers of raw / rolled steel.

Full support was pledged to steelmakers in their bid to combat any dumping of raw / rolled steel into the UK market and to convince government of the need for level playing fields in energy prices and carbon related taxes. The UK government has given signs that it is listening to the industry’s case for help, and some action has already been taken.

The outlook for 2016 is for further modest increases in the price of fabricated steelwork, but nothing out of line with construction price inflation generally. Looking over the horizon to 2016, it is clear that the constructional  steelwork supply chain will remain robust and well able to provide the world-leading service that it is recognised for internationally.

While these are interesting times for steelmakers, for most of us it has been business as usual, as we can see in this month’s News pages. Providing up-to-date design guidance has been a key part of the steel sector’s support for engineers and architects for over 30 years, and this tradition is strengthened by the latest design guidance that has just been released by the Steel Construction Institute, with financial support from Tata Steel and the BCSA.

All bridge engineers will want to familiarise themselves with P185 – Guidance notes on best practice in steel bridge construction (6th Issue) as they represent important updates and align guidance with the latest UK and European standards. Although aimed at bridge designers, many of the Notes offer general information that will be helpful to all designers of structural steelwork

Also of interest to structural engineers is the new web-based design tool that evaluates the frame stability of multi-storey builings in accordance with the Eurocodes – another useful addition to the ever-growing suite of software available on

Both represent the sort of support that designers need to have at their fingertips in their day-to-day to work, the state-of-the-art guidance that the steel sector has always been committed to providing, and which continued uninterrupted through several recessions.The forecast that can be confidently made at the start of 2016 is that this support will         continue to be developed.

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Click on the cover to view this month's issue as a digimag.