What are the major advantages of using steel vis-à- vis conventional materials?
One of the major advantage with steel is that the columns can be manufactured for multiple floors tier. Correspondingly, the requirement for bolted floor to floor column junctions reduces considerably. But in conventional RCC structure we are bound with floor by floor casting. With steel structure, we can connect beams for multiple floors at the same time hence enhancing the erection speed. RCC encasing happens alongside as parallel exercise. The formwork for RCC beams gets eliminated entirely and the only formwork exercise left is for the encasing of the steel columns. The metal formwork for the column encasing can be planned for multiple repetitions.
The RCC columns sizes for 150m high Tower, can be assumed to be enormously large. The major benefit with steel column is the considerable reduction in the column sizes, achieving better efficiency in the space planning. RCC structure has a limitation of spans whether it’s a flat slab system of beam frame. But with high yield steel, the spans of more than 10m can be explored and achieved with the limited beam depths. Eventually we took the advantage of larger spans in the basements for efficient parking with lesser number of columns.
How structural steel can be innovatively used in construction to provide design aesthetics and at the same time offer economical solution?
As far as stability and deflection of steel structure is concerned, bracing plays a very important key role. After coordination with the structural consultant, we were able to achieve a unique bracing pattern which enhanced aesthetics of the Tower. We used partially exposed bracing as a facade feature as well, evident in the building elevations. Steel structure has a tendency to adapt to the design and aesthetic requirements, hence there are lots of creative ways to explore steel and the design can evolve accordingly.
What is your take on the variety of sections/grades provided by our steel producers for various demands of creativity?
The production of a particular grade and size of steel, are not a major hurdle as the steel manufacturers are coming up with high yield steel grades. Better the grade, lighter the structure. The flanges are unbelievably thinner as compared to the conventional steel grades. Our steel industry has evolved manifolds and real estate stakeholders and developers are emerging to take advantage of the revolution.
What trend are we going to witness in next 5-7 years, as far as designing structures with steel is concerned?
Steel as structural system is emerging to play a very major role in reviving the real estate industry. We are presently stuck with the conventional RCC system in which the time consumption is enormous. The real estate market is getting setbacks year by year, due to delayed construction. Investors are loosing faith and this is very much evident in today’s scenario. It’s high time to adapt faster construction system, as it’s the need of the time. In commercial projects, lots of developers have switched to pre-engineered building, system but we still need to address the adaptability of the same for mass housing projects.
What should be the strategy of industry in promoting structural steel construction in India?
The only strategy which will work in present scenario is by increasing the awareness of advantages of steel construction amongst the real estate players, developers, architects, engineers etc. Secondly, the steel manufacturer must work towards bringing down the cost involved in the fabricated steel members and rolled steel members, so as to make it more viable and adaptive.
Which are the iconic steel-specific projects executed by you?
As an Architect Urban Designer, my ongoing journey through FESTIVAL CITY project has been a wonderful experience. Many factors have contributed towards the exclusivity of this under – construction IT Complex, spanning across 25 Acre site, on Noida Expressway. First and the foremost being the first of its kind high rise ‘ Pre Engineered Building’.
The idea behind the adoption of Steel Building Structure, was primarily to make the 150m high rise structure, lighter in weight so as to avoid excessive expenditure on the piling; and over that gaining the advantage of escalation in the pace of erection, as compared to the conventional RCC Structure. In Real Estate Sector, Time is Money, and my understanding on this has been that our Industry must adopt faster construction methods, especially Pre Engineered Building System, so as to revive the Real Estate Market.
The high yield structural steel, which has been produced for the very first time for this Tower, has given us the flexibility to explore spans within the range of 10.5m, which would not have been possible with RCC structure. The Credit for such a futuristic decision on the adoption of PEB structural system goes entirely to Mr. Satinder Singh Bhasin (Bhasin Group), whose vision will be an inspiration for the times to come.