Steel can be reused repeatedly without ever losing its qualities as a building material. This unique characteristic gives all steel a high value at all stages of its life cycle. The recovery infrastructure for steel recycling is highly developed and highly efficient, and has been in place for decades. Current recovery rates from demolition sites in the UK are 99 % for structural steelwork and 94 % for all steel construction products – figures that far exceed those for any other construction material.
Because steel frames are essentially a kit of parts, they can easily be dismantled and reused. Bolted connections allow components to be removed in prime condition and easily reused either individually or en masse as entire structures. It means that steel components are perpetually reused in a continuous loop, and never sent to landfill.
The speed of steel construction has made it the framing material of choice for the UK construction sector. A shorter construction programme reduces disruption and disturbance around the site. Steel is relatively clean and quiet to erect, and requires few site deliveries. Speed of construction delivers an economic benefit too, which is fundamental to sustainable development.
Industry surveys consistently demonstrate that steel is the safest construction material. Components are fabricated offsite in a safe, controlled factory environment.
When you specify steel for a building, you can rest assured that it is unlikely ever to become waste. Steel always has a value and is only ever sent to landfill as a last resort. Waste generation is one of the least sustainable aspects of construction. Choosing a steel-framed building is the simplest and most effective way to reduce waste. Even during steel manufacture and fabrication, any swarf or offcuts are recovered and recycled in the steelmaking process.