Construction and other building structure engineering (for both commercial and residential industries), basically rely on metal construction fabrication materials and assembly. It has been a beacon for high-quality building infrastructure.  Furthermore, steel materials such as stainless, iron, aluminum and even precious metals like silver and gold are incorporated in building construction for stronger and reliable structure.  

Metal Structure Design and Construction

National Standard Certification in Canada

To ensure unified and secured system, procedures, basic requirements and material impositions on welding industry, the Canadian Standard Association (CSA) have organized a guiding body to oversee such national steel and metal fabrication and manufacturing standard.  Thus, the Canadian Standards Canadian Welding Bureau (CWB) was created over 60 years ago to regulate and oversee the welding industry to protect the national safety, interest, and quality on fabrication, manufacturing, and construction using metal across Canada.

The CWB basic task is to issue certifications on qualified welding companies and individuals. This is the only welding standard giving the body that is allowed and recognized to issue certifications and necessary credentials.

Meanwhile, in line with the national certification issued for metal construction, fabrication, and other metal miscellaneous welding jobs; based on the National Research Council Canada publication, the Canadian Commission on Building and Fire Codes implemented a unified standardized building code, known as the National Building Code of Canada 2015 (NBC). The said code aims to provide specific rules and guidelines in building infrastructure. Provisions on NBC 2015 imply approval and issuance of permits on construction projects, destruction of buildings, and recommendation for improvement of structures depending on the result of the investigation and violation of the construction companies.

Guiding Steel and Metal Infrastructure Principle Practices

Foundations of multi-bay steel framed commercial and residential structures must be addressed specifically based on the required metal construction. This is in line with the substantial weight load in Electric Overhead Travelling (EOT) gantries, cranes and external factors (like wind and downhill slopes).

The building has to offer the right construction metal type in order to support other infrastructure material like for casting and drying cement, adding support material like stones and rocks, incorporating decorative pieces like glasses, plastic, wood, and the likes. Inner and out finishing of buildings also helps improve the durability of infrastructure including metal construction structure.

design and construction of metal

Transportation and Storage of Construction Metal Parts

Steel and other metal materials for infrastructure have become popular for infrastructure use not just for the resolution of quality, durability, and wear – tear issues; but also because metal construction materials to be easily transported.

Fabricated cement cannot provide the same strength if divided into parts and will be assembled on site. However, metal can be fabricated separately and can be transported in smaller pieces. The piece (like for bridges or skyscraper’s main backbone support tower), can be assembled on site.

Bigger metal construction parts can be stored on site in a contained place and will be assembled during the construction stage. Unlike wood, glasses, cement, and other raw materials that have to be kept in a controlled environment and certain conditions. Most metals like stainless steel and aluminum do not require much maintenance compared to wood and cement.

Generally, building manufactures from a fabricated metal (regardless of metal type and kind) would still cut the cost down up to half the value of the project. This is can trim down the cost of transportation and storage cost.

Space and Architectural Presence

Metals are commonly used for decorative pieces to accentuate modern look on building structures.  Space availability, physical architectural appearance and building wall cohesiveness with the added furniture (usually metallic theme) can increase modern and updated contemporary look of the building.

Considerations in metal as a decorative piece:

  • Semi – rigidness or the semi-continuous look

Provide an avenue for strong looking and stiff cohesiveness from the articles inside the building (including the walls, building color, and metal framing), although integrate more subtle pieces of metal building parts such as frames and thin beams

  • Rigid or the continuous physicality

Basically metal joints are fully rigid and sturdy forces. Beams and frames can basically be best represented by portal frames structures – very defined metal structure. Space is somewhat restricted and all metal frames are done in complete sets.

Steel Products

Common fabricated steel products consist the following product output: 

  • Steel fabrication for window
  • Gantries
  • Building Frames
  • Roof support
  • Scaffoldings
  • Main post support
  • Steel guards
  • Concrete holder/support
  • Industrial steel raw material (usually for customized building equipment or to support structure)
  • Steel erection support
  • Mobile welding reinforcement
  • Structural backing
  • Other metal steel fabrication requirements (metal is so versatile that it can be used both on external and internal structure)

Design Methods

While designing the structure there are matters that need to be raised:  functionality of the structure, considered methodologies, structural design functionality, resolution of the project, parameters involved in the construction, demand in structural capacity, and (the most important of all) steel plan requirement.

Steel and metal construction materials should also be “ready” for possible extreme weather (like heavy snowfall, unfavorable rain showers, unexpected seismic activities, external forces like forceful hitting of building through accidents that will cause the building to collapse).

How metal affects design of buildings

Load Resistance Factor Design (LRFD) vs. Allowable Stress Design (ASD) in steel Structure

There are two engineering design methodologies that can address possible issues like wear and tear, breakage, collapse, expansion of building structure materials, and fatigue caused by external and internal forces.

The Load Resistance Factor Design is an extensive design construction methodology which generally uses a strength-based philosophy for both wood and metal parts. The LRFD have been consistent enough to provide a considerable amount of structural safety conditions. Originally, the Allowable Stress Design (ASD) has been designed for steel structures and was later improved for a much better steel production and more doable steel structure construction.

LRFD is pretty much an improved version of the simple steel design structure of ASD. Of course, without ASD, the LFRD would not be fully developed. It is a re-engineering of existing design structure methodology.

The LRFD considers variables of load, measures relative safety rationale, and specifies internal and external factors for stress, load and resistance. These factors include ductility of a structure designed, rigidness of metal structure, the tenacity of steel parts on the structure, durability of the steel structure, and shock absorption of the metal support, and the strength of the steel used in the structure. All are significant variable factors that affect the quality of the building construction.

Attributes of Structural Metal Construction Application

The resistance in the Load Resistance Factor Design or LRFD are determined by the material used, size of construction materials, and the coordination point of the materials integrated together (often known as the X structure point). Example: Roofing system is composed of 70% stainless steel still and iron bars with 30% integration of concrete (cement) material, supporting both weight of the tin ceiling with the help of reinforced concrete walls and 5 steel posts on all corners.

Design Method

In conclusion, requirements gathering, design planning, risk analysis, management design, and supplier and material construction acquisition would generally ensure safety and successful building projects.

What factors should be considered when designing steel structure? All factors must contain enough material strength (knowing the correct metal type), adequate sturdiness/harness, and ductility of steel (and other materials) that can adjust when stressed.

To recap, incorporating steel construction materials in building structures would increase greater chances of prolonged building lifespan, and lesser budget expenses. When using metals in construction different factors must be considered, such as the location or site of the construction, structure design or design scheme, design construction analysis, proportional adequacy of materials used in construction (knowing the perfect mix of ingredients, in this case perfect ratio of construction materials), and the last is the considerations of risk and safety measures (damage control and maintenance).



1 Karuna Moy Ghosh. Practical Design of Steel Structures

Whittles Publishing –  Scotland, UK.  2010

2 National Building Code of Canada 2015. National Research Canada 2015         

3 CWB (Canadian Welding Bureau) 

4 Structural Steel Fabrication and Installation (Products and Services)

5 Basic Design Concepts. Section DC.5. Revised 2014