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Steel stays strong in market

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Steel continues to be over-whelmingly the structural framing material of choice for multi storey non-residential buildings, according to the latest survey from independent market research consultants Construction Markets.

The survey, commissioned by Corus, is the latest in a series going back to 1980 and is thought to be the biggest of its type in the UK, involving over 600 interviews with construction specifiers. The results show that steel frames have a dominant 69% share of the multi storey buildings market. The survey also shows that the market grew slightly in 2004, with overall floor area constructed in all multi storey buildings increasing to 12,342,000m², from 12,202,000m² in 2003.

Steel now has a 71% share of the multi storey offices market. In the ‘other multi storey buildings’ sector, which includes retail, education, leisure and health, steel has a 68% share.

The decline of in situ concrete as a choice for building frames continues, with a market share of only 16.8%, the lowest since the survey began, compared to almost 20% in 2003 and 28.3% only seven years ago. Load bearing masonry had a 9.5% share, while precast concrete accounted for 2.8% and timber 1.7%.

Alan Todd, Corus Construction and Industrial Technical Sales and Marketing General Manager, said: “These figures clearly show that the key multi storey construction markets value steel above any other framing material. The relative competitive situation against other materials like in situ concrete is essentially unchanged by the price increases of the last year, and we can foresee only continued recognition from the construction industry that steel is the natural choice of framing material where factors like speed, cost, and sustainability are important.”

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