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October 2006 – Advance spells sustainable quality assured product

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A new name for structural steel sections entered the UK market in September, when Corus renamed its entire UK market range as Advance (see News). New section sizes have also been introduced to increase the flexibility offered to designers in steel. The new system of section designations and grade specification will soon become familiar to all who are specifying a sustainable and quality assured products. All Corus sections will have the Advance brand rolled into the web, making for swift and easy identification.

This is much more than a mere name change. Since September all structural sections and plates used anywhere in the European Community have to comply with the Construction Products Directive, so designers need to be sure that the sections they specify meet these requirements. Choosing a CE marked product is the simplest way of complying, and perhaps the easiest way to guarantee this is now to specify Advance from Corus, which was the first steelmaker in the world to gain approval to CE mark its structural sections and plates.

To support this new identity and to show its continued commitment to the UK Corus is also investing heavily at both its Advance section mills, at Teesside and Scunthorpe, to help sustain its advanced position in steel construction.

It used to be said that nobody ever lost their job by specifying IBM, in the future the same might be said of specifying Advance from Corus.

Shaking out an old myth

It is always good to see a myth overturned, especially when blindly accepting it is doing damage to the performance of a key institution like the National Health Service. The myth that has now been laid to rest is the one about the vibration performance of floors in steel framed buildings. For years it was put about by proponents of other framing materials that steel could only meet the onerous vibration requirements of the National Health Service for hospitals by using uneconomically heavy sections. The steel sector consequently made little headway in this sector of the market, but such progress was being made elsewhere that it was largely allowed to go by the board.

Now that the UK is replacing its often outdated healthcare buildings it has become important for the country to have the most efficient and economic building solutions available. So the industry took another look at the actual performance of floors in steel framed buildings, and was pleasantly surprised to find that in fact a building with normally dimensioned steel sections – those familiar to any office building for example – could easily meet the NHS requirements, and with room to spare.

New research from the Steel Construction Institute based on extensive testing of real floors provides the guidance that designers need to produce all floor and building types that meet serviceability performance requirements of the most demanding of clients. Hospital operators in both the private and public sectors have declared themselves happy with the vibration performance of floors in their steel framed healthcare facilities, and occupants of properly designed and constructed luxury apartments feel the same. The vibration myth has been well and truly shaken out.

Nick Barrett

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