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Steel maintains its dominance in key markets

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Structural steelwork maintained its leading position in key sectors of the UK’s structural frames market according to the 2017 Market Share survey by independent researchers Construction Markets.

The survey is the latest in a series that has been carried out annually since 1980. Based on interviews with 750 construction specifiers, the survey is the biggest of its kind in the UK.

The total market for structural frames in the UK last year was estimated to be just over 43 million square metres of floor area, up 4% on 2016. Once again, steel took the largest share with 43%, ahead of load bearing masonry at 37.6%, timber at 12.6% and concrete at 6.7%.

Overall, the single storey industrial buildings market contracted by 2.6% against 2016, but continued to be dominated by steel with the material accounting for 92.3% of the total market. In the key ‘sheds’ sector steel increased its market share by 0.1% to 97.9%.

Steel also dominated the multi-storey non-domestic buildings sector, which accounts for 21% of the total market, with a share of 66.2%, up slightly from 66.1% in 2016. Within this sector steel recorded market share increases for health, education, and leisure buildings.

The total market for multi-storey leisure buildings grew significantly, up 21.7% over 2016, and steel increased its market share by 2.1% to 62.6%.

Steel also grew its market share in conventional single storey non-domestic buildings from 63.3% in 2016 to 63.5% overall, with increases in the offices, retail, leisure and health sectors.

BCSA Director General Sarah McCann Bartlett said: “The survey demonstrates that steel is the preferred framing choice across a broad range of both building types and sectors.

“The cost-effectiveness of steel, its flexibility, speed of construction and contribution to sustainability are all attributes valued by developers, contractors, designers and building users alike, so we are confident that future market share surveys will continue to show the dominance of steel frames.”

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