Construction is one of the most important steel-using industries, accounting for more than 50% of world steel production. Buildings - from houses to car-parks to schools and skyscrapers - rely on steel for their strength. Steel is also used on roofs and as cladding for exterior walls.
The world’s population is projected to increase by slightly more than one billion people over the next 13 years, reaching 8.6 billion in 2030, and to increase further to 9.8 billion in 2050 and 11.2 billion by 2100 (World Population Prospects the 2017 Revision, United Nations ). This will be accompanied by rapid urbanisation. As the need for buildings and infrastructure continues to grow worldwide, reducing consumption of natural resources and associated emissions is crucial for future sustainability.
Steelmakers around the world are increasingly providing construction solutions that enable energy-efficient and low-carbon-neutral buildings. These solutions reduce the environmental impact over the structures’ life cycle and help to extend their life span through design for disassembly and reuse.
Steel can provide the solutions to infrastructure and construction needs in developing countries and in climate resilient cities through enabling protective coastal and wind-resistant designs. While buildings currently account for about 20% of global greenhouse gas emissions, they also present many opportunities for reducing emissions and mitigating climate change.
Not only is steel affordable, readily available and safer, its intrinsic properties, such as strength, versatility, durability and 100% recyclability allow for improved environmental performance across the entire life cycle of buildings.
The advanced high-strength steels used in steel-plate applications also find uses in a number of related industries. Offshore oil rigs, bridges, civil engineering and construction machines, rail carriages, tanks and pressure vessels, nuclear, thermal and hydroelectric plants – all these applications benefit from the attributes of modern steels.
How steel is used in buildings and infrastructure
The possibilities for using steel in buildings and infrastructure are limitless. The most common applications are listed below.