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New steel site is class-leader

The site is optimised for use with smartphones such as iPhones and Android devices as well as desktop computers

The new steel sector website – www.steelconstruction.info – is fulfilling its promise of being the first stop for architects and engineers looking for technical advice and information on steel construction, with thousands of visitors already benefiting from its user friendly design.

The new site represents one of the most significant developments in making steel related advice available to designers since the start of the internet era, bringing together in one place for the first time all the technical and cost information previously available across a variety of steel sector sources.

The site can be looked at as the free encyclopaedia for UK steel construction, designed to be as easy to use and as comprehensive as possible – a first stop for technical guidance on steel construction. Wikipedia was chosen as the platform for the site because many already know how to find their way around Wikipedia pages, and its navigability is easy to pick up for those not already familiar with it.

The site is the product of a two-year development programme by Tata Steel, the British Constructional Steelwork Association and the Steel Construction Institute. Chris Dolling, BCSA Manager, Technical Development, explained: “A survey confirmed that the internet has become the first port of call for architects and engineers looking for design guidance and other information, so the steel sector decided to provide a world-leading internet based source for steel construction. It has already proven to be a great success with designers, which is no surprise as all the guidance they need can be found there and it couldn’t be more straightforward and simple to use.”

Popular sections with engineers since the site was launched on 1 October have included those covering eurocode guidance and Green Books on connection design. Architects are finding the Target Zero schematics of the most cost effective ways to achieve the required BREEAM rating for five common sectors of particular interest, and guidance on thermal mass passive cooling strategies in steel framed buildings has been popular with both architects and engineers.

At the heart of the site is a series of over 100 interlinked technical articles written by steel sector experts and external consultants covering best practice in the use of steel. Topics covered include fire engineering, cost, sustainability and health and safety, all downloadable as pdf’s and containing multiple links to other information sources. These core articles act as a roadmap to each topic using links to more detailed information available from the sector and other external sources.

Online CPD presentations enable users to take tests and download certificates for their records.

The steel sector has an ongoing pipeline of research and development, continuously updating its guidance in line with changes in legislation, standards and industry practice, and the already comprehensive site will be continuously updated as new information and guidance becomes available.

The home page of the user friendly www.steelconstruction.info site. See key below.

The site has almost identical functionality to Wikipedia so couldn’t be more straightforward to use and navigate. On the front page of the new website you will find several main headings:

1 Sectors
Links are provided here to other relevant parts of the site where you can find information on steel structures such as multi storey commercial buildings, industrial buildings and bridges. More invaluable information is available via links to external sources within the articles.

2 Key Resources
There is a wealth of informative steel sector produced guides and they are all easily accessible here. This includes the Blue and Green Books, Target Zero (the steel sector low carbon buildings research initiative), Eurocode Design Guides, structural design software as well as Continuing Professional Development presentations.

3 Topics
The steel sector has invested a lot of time and effort to produce extensively researched and detailed advice on subjects such as fire engineering, acoustics, floor vibrations and costs of structural steelwork, all of which can be linked from here. External sources of information are also included here, for example the cost of structural steelwork link takes you to a Gardiner & Theobald written report on the key cost drivers for steel frames for various types of buildings.

4 Hot Topics
From here you can find sections on thermal mass, life cycle assessment and embodied carbon, while links will also direct you to various sources of industry news provided by New Steel Construction magazine and steel special supplements that have appeared in other publications. This area of the site also has a section devoted to explaining how the site actually works as well as an overview of the contents.

5 CPD Events and Training
All of the steel sector provided training courses and Continuing Professional Development initiatives can be learned about here, as well as information about the Structural Steel Design Awards, the Tata Steel/BCSA Student Awards and SCI Training Courses. The section provides access to free technical seminars that can be provided online or in-house in the UK by Tata Steel’s team of Regional Technical Managers. Topics include Sustainability, Introduction to EC3, Worked Examples to EC3, Design for Fire, Portal Frames, Acoustics, and Weathering Steel Bridges.

6 Quick Links
Need to find a steelwork contractor? From here you can quickly access the information about selecting a BCSA member steelwork contractor (for which there is new a free searchable app available). There are also links to the Tata Steel construction website, the BCSA and SCI online shops and New Steel Construction magazine.

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