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Structural Steel vs. Reinforced Concrete


One of the early decisions that every structural frame requires is the decision to use steel vs reinforced concrete. This decision is taken by the builders themselves, who would opt for structural steel detailing experts who are adept in Tekla structures design. The effect on the project, both in terms of costs and durability is long-term and has a direct impact on building design, along with its performance. Many businesses try to figure out between structural steel and reinforced concrete. Steel is cost-effective than concrete, but one should consider different aspects of construction, including security and strength too.

Cost comparison between steel and concrete structures

In terms of costs, structural steel is cheaper than reinforced concrete. Structural steel-work just takes up 20% of steel-work used in construction. The price of construction material has increased and affected concrete more than steel.


Availability of concrete materials remains a problem, and the worst of the affected materials is cement. Shipping delays and high rates of transport has affected raw material imports badly. Steel has remained unaffected by this trend, owing to a consistent and reliable supply of steel from Chinese manufacturers at affordable prices.

Project Schedule

Structural steel takes slightly more time for construction than concrete. The speed is reported to be doubled compared to steel structures. But there are a number of views in support of structural steel since many businesses are keen to using steel and its features of versatility, robust strength and ease of construction.

Strength and Security

It is important to understand that strength and safety are crucial. Industry consensus has revealed that concrete offers a safer option since the core parts of the building are covered in thick concrete. This protects buildings from getting affected from fire or from potential attacks too. Every aspect of the structure, including the elevator, stairs, and power systems require security from vandals and thieves.

Steel might melt in some time and hence experts feel that structural steel work cannot stand a chance. One does have to contact people who can implement fire protection insulation, and spray treatment of flame retardant coatings can help keep the steel unaffected by any sort of fire or explosion.

Steel is known in terms of strength. Structural steel can help create buildings and raise it in concrete.

A short summary of the differences between Structural Steel & Reinforced Concrete:
Pros Of Reinforced Concrete:
  • Reinforced concrete boasts of better fire-proof quality and safety compared to steel, wood etc.
  • It is moldable and flexible enough to shape with molding types.
  • Cost effective construction material.
Cons Of Reinforced Concrete:
  • Comparatively expensive option.
  • When compared to steel, concrete has low compressive strength and requires mixing, casting and curing, even changing the final strength of concrete negative.
Pros Of Structural Steel:
  • Cost-effective in terms of procurement of materials and labour.
  • Considered as the future of construction owing to the immense quality and steel’s versatility.
  • Useful for offices and commercial buildings.
  • Easily available at reasonable prices.
  • Optimised spaces provided for the process
Cons Of Structural Steel:
  • Not many builders use this material, as it requires special tools to use.
  • Structural steel components can be created through fire damage while concrete cannot be used.

During winter in absolute biting cold, the steel structures usually give up easily and might affect people working on it, although nowadays one can apply appropriate coatings and insulation.

As an experienced and expert structural steel design company , our team can guide you the best option between steel or reinforced concrete for your home project and then even devise Tekla structures design for companies.

If you are looking for steel column vs concrete column, i beam vs concrete beam, and cost comparison between steel and concrete structures then your search ends here!