5 Money Saving Suggestions

Steel Building Projects

Think Precision Engineering

Think Steel Building Projects


Before you spend your well-earned money you should READ THIS!

Since you are contemplating spending a lot of money on a steel building we thought we might help you by giving you a bit of general background information concerning the manufacture of steel buildings. 

To start with, there appears to be a perception in the market place that all steel building manufacturers buy their material from the same ‘source’ suppliers and consequently many people say, “A steel structure is just a steel structure – so, let’s look at the bottom line – price.”

Is this view correct? Kindly read the following facts; and then you can be the judge.

Now, if one looks at steel buildings one finds certain structures that still look good after some 10-15, or even 20 years, whilst others look scraggy and are literally shot-to-pieces after only about 7–10 years. Surely this proves beyond all doubt that “a steel structure is NOT just a steel structure” and that all steel buildings are not created equal. Some must be enormously superior to others. The reasons for this vast difference in quality are to be found mainly in the following 5 points:

1  Workshop Size

The worldwide major trend in present-day steel building construction continues away from handcrafting the building on site towards on-site assembly of ever larger, more integrated components manufactured away from the site. 

This results in ease of erection, which results in enormous savings in on-site construction time. 

Amongst many other things, this ensures that no welding on site will be needed as the various components are designed to bolt together.

You as the prospective customer should satisfy yourself that your soon-to-be supplier has adequate workshop facilities to ensure that they have the necessary space to accommodate all the required machinery to ensure that all the bits and pieces will fit together properly. 


2  Column Installation

It is obviously critical that the columns (poles) of a steel building be accurately and firmly base-plated onto a proper and correct strength concrete base. Very often companies use sub-contractors, who sometimes have to supply the concrete as part of their sub-contract fee, to erect these structures. This can result in the skimping on material, the upshot of which can be column movement. One doesn’t have to overly astute to understand that this can lead to all sorts of problems.

You can appreciate that these piers must be properly done. Because we are obsessed with quality, the installation teams with which we work have all been in the industry for many, many years and come with a wealth of experience. We also only use ready mixed concrete (RMC), which ensures that there can be no skimping, and results in a precise mixture of cement, water and aggregates comprising sand and crushed stone being used. 

One particularly important factor worth mentioning on its own is that the end of the column shaft has to be flat to ensure uniform transfer of the force to the base plate. This requires machining and cannot be achieved without the proper tooling (see point 1 above).


3  Design: High-quality Drawings 

You should check to establish whether you will receive a comprehensive set of plans that can form part of all the necessary documents that need to be submitted to your local authorities; and if the cost of these plans and those of an engineer's certificate are included in your price.

Also bear in mind that it is a legal requirement that a designer, whether employed directly by you, the steel building manufacturer or a building contractor, is a registered professional engineer or registered technologist, or that his work be done under the supervision of a registered engineer or technologist. It is also mandatory that the design complies with the National Building Regulations, which in turn refers to SABS 0400: Code of Practice for the Application of the National Building Regulations for the 'deemed to satisfy' aspects of the design. One of these requirements is that the structural steelwork must comply with SABS 0160 and 0162: Code of Practice for the Structural Use of Steel.

Dealing with Steel Building Projects ensures accurate designing is achieved with the use of CAD and Tekla Structures software [Building Information Modeling (BIM)]. Tekla software covers the entire structural design process from conceptual design to detailing, fabrication and construction. It enables the creation and management of accurately detailed, highly constructible 3D structural models regardless of material or structural complexity and covers the entire building process from conceptual design to fabrication, erection and construction management.




4  The Use of B Grade Materials

While this is not common in the industry, it has nevertheless occurred. And an untrained eye will simply not spot it. 

You should ensure that only commercial grade SABS approved steel for ALL building components is used. The new steel grade in South Africa is S355JR (the previous Grade was 350WA). The minimum tensile strength of Grade S355JR is 490 MPa (for Grade 350WA it is 480 MPa), while the minimum yield stress depends on the thickness of the steel.



We sincerely hope that the above 4 points has given you some insight into certain aspects of this industry and that you agree that a steel building is simply NOT just a steel building. There are enormous differences. We believe the above reiterates the point the famous British economist and philosopher, John Ruskin, made when he said:

"Good things are seldom cheap, and cheap things are seldom good. The common law of all business balance prevents you from paying a little and getting a lot – it cannot be done."

Pertinent to this industry perhaps it can be done now – but it may very well result in repair costs a few years down the line, which could have been avoided. Put another way: is it wise to save a few thousand now, only to cost yourself unnecessary thousands and thousands a couple of years down the line?

So don’t ever simply accept the lowest quote. Many people who have built or re-modeled their buildings will tell you that, nine times out of ten you’ll wish you hadn’t.

5  And Last But Not Least

Our prices are extremely competitive. We deliver high quality, long-lasting building packages at truly affordable prices. This is however achieved by the mass production of all our steelwork and NOT by cutting corners. It must be stressed that while our objective is the attainment of a great degree of economy, our cost saving is not in any way achieved by a reduction in the required level of the quality of a structure.

We can honestly promise you that with our help and extensive experience you can build or extend your industrial building beautifully, with full "at ease" confidence that it will be done:

q              Professionally,

q              Exactly as YOU want it done,

q              Comfortably within budget, and

q              Always on time.

P.S. The same John Ruskin also said:

“There is nothing in this world that some man cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and the people who consider price only are this man's lawful prey.”

Or as Albert Einstein put it: “Sometimes one pays most for the things one gets for nothing.” And truer words are seldom spoken.

Let's face it - you always get what you pay for!


Not All buildings Are Created Equal -

Quality Will Remain Long After The Price Is Forgotten.