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September 2009 – Sustainably essential steel

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The steel construction sector has invested a great deal of time and money over the years in providing everything that a designer could need to make it easy to design in steel. Research and development has produced a wider range of detailed advice than is available to any other design community in the world. Finding out where it can all be accessed quickly is about to become even easier.

A new guide coming from Corus and the BCSA – The Steel Essentials Guide – reveals just how extensive this back up advice and help is and shows how to get at the crucial detail and who to ask for more advice. Steel Essentials is sure to deserve a place at the side of every busy designer, providing an at-the-fingertips guide to what is available and where to go to learn more about the key steel construction topics. All the information is also brought together on a new website – – where key links will be found, as well as a downloadable pdf version of Steel Essentials.

Several other new initiatives have been under development during the summer months that will heighten the attractiveness of steel. Despite recession, sustainability remains high on the agenda for government, clients of the construction industry and for the entire steel supply chain. During the autumn we will learn more about the steel sector’s Target Zero initiative, spreading the good news about the real facts concerning steel and carbon. The entire steel supply chain has recognised the crucial importance of lowering the carbon related impact of its activities.

The sector has devised a new Sustainability Strategy to be launched at a free seminar in October which spells out the already high sustainability performance of steel and details what further steps will be taken to support the government’s drive towards sustainable construction (see News). The launch event will highlight steel’s sustainability advantages, covering topics such as thermal mass and the carbon footprint of steel buildings.

Times remain tough in most markets and those now famous green shoots are having a hard time forcing their way through, but steel is still capturing the major share of business in key markets, and is proving to be the material of choice in most of the rare growth sectors like education and waste to energy plants. Thanks to initiatives like these, when the economic turn comes the steel sector will have an even greater depth and breadth of technical advice and back up than was available before, ensuring that designing and building in steel remains the easy as well as the economical option.

Nick Barrett
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