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Steel increases record market share

UK market for structural frames in non-residential multi-storey buildings 1980-2006

A year ago Corus predicted that the future success of steel would increasingly hinge on getting across messages to the market about the wider sustainability benefits of steel. That prediction has proven to be remarkably accurate, with sustainability having captured the imagination of the public, government and companies alike, part of a widespread recognition that carbon emissions are a key driver of climate change.

The positive steel sustainability messages must have got across, because steel has again increased its market share in key sectors, capturing a record 71.8% of the non-residential multi storey market in 2006, compared to the previous record 70.8% in 2005. “To carry on increasing market share from such a high is testament to the customer focussed hard work put in across the constructional steelwork sector,” said Corus General Manager Alan Todd.

“The traditional highly valued benefits of steel like speed, flexibility and cost predictability are being boosted by a growing appreciation among designers and their clients of the sustainability benefits. Steel’s recognised flexibility, re-usability and ultimately recyclability, as well as independent studies that show steel solutions have lower carbon footprints compared with alternative framing materials, suggest it would be reasonable to expect steel to continue to be the preferred choice.”

The survey looked at non-residential multi storey, residential multi storey and single storey buildings. The key non-residential multi storey sector includes offices, retail, leisure, health and education. The survey was based on interviews with 600 architects engaged on projects where the structural frame was completed during 2006. The total market in this sector was found to have been 13,744,000m² of floor space, up from 13,258,000m² in 2005. The overall offices market showed a 9.5% rise in volume, while other buildings were up by 1.2%. In-situ and precast concrete both saw small improvements in share in the non-residential multi storey category, at the expense largely of masonry and timber.

In the residential multi storey sector, for apartment buildings of five storeys and above, the market trebled in size between 2003–2006, and now accounts for 2,534,000m² of floor area. Steel’s share of this sector has now reached 23.5%. “This is a creditable performance in a sector that until a few years ago you would have struggled to find a single example of a steel frame,” says Mr Todd.

The single storey buildings market remained at the same high level as in 2005, with steel’s dominance continuing with a share of over 96% of the industrial sector and almost 90% of all single storey buildings.

“These are great results but we are sure there is even more for the constructional steelwork sector to deliver,” said Mr Todd. “Our joint industry wide technical and market development efforts will be continued to ensure that designers and end users of steel framed buildings are kept abreast of the latest evidence that choosing steel is the sustainable choice.”

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