What are the major advantages of using steel vis-à-vis conventional materials?
Steel has high tensile strength, so even if the span is longer, the beam sections are smaller comparatively. Steel can be mass produced and fabricated before site is ready for construction so in turn saves a lot of time. The major advantages of steel construction would be time, ductility and span of buildings which can be achieved only with steel construction technology.
Steel is highly durable and can withstand lateral loads better than conventional materials, during earthquakes or thunderstorm steel buildings are safer. As architects steel allows us to create adaptable spaces. Steel Buildings are economical than conventional, and they have resale value as they could be recycled.
How structural steel can be innovatively used in construction to provide design aesthetics and at the same time offer economical solution?
Architects prefer to expose steel structures which add character to the building, makes it light. It clearly defines the program of the building. With steel coating and galvanizing, a lot of visual effects can be achieved in various sections.
Steel can be customized to any form and nonlinear elements, which makes it highly versatile to be used by architects and structural engineer for complex forms. We have been using exposed structural steel elements in our designs which adds detail to the façade, they are often complemented with artificial light to embrace their character.
What is your take on the variety of sections/grades provided by our steel producers for various demands of creativity?
When we compare to US steel construction industry to our Indian producers, we have less range and quality, we only have standard sections in the market, when the form of the building is a bit complex. It usually becomes a time taking process to fabricate and transport and the standard sections available are of different quality, the economical variant is highly susceptible to fire and very fragile to cracks.
We are on the upward side, evolving with different grades and sections to suit the demand of the dynamic construction industry.
What trend are we going to witness in next 5-7 years, as far as designing structures with steel is concerned?
The government, industry and institutions have already started to spread awareness. Already, in 2020 there are many projects like hospitals, residences, hostel, hotels proposed in steel. This itself is evident to see a paradigm shift from conventional design to steel construction. Manpower shortage and accuracy is a major concern the conventional construction has, steel construction would address those issues.
By incorporating technology, steel fabrication, cuts down wastage and cost. A lot of clients request green building construction, by the paradigm shift towards steel construction, we would be saving a lot of carbon emissions, and many PEB fabricators should focus on producing high performative steel elements like skylights. High level precision achieved through steel construction is one of the most valuable outcomes of steel constructions which helps in steering the growth in the next five years.
What should be the strategy of industry in promoting structural steel construction in India?
Fabricators should focus on manufacturing with less carbon emissions making it eco-friendly and taking care of the environment. Industries should focus on making it more fire resistant, making it more economical.
Availability of different grades and variants for end clients Focus on delivering on time to complete the project on schedule which most of the PEB fabricators never meet. Promoting steel buildings to developers and spreading awareness among common people about its benefits and conducting conference, exhibitions and competitions would be helpful.
Which are the iconic steel-specific projects executed by you?
In this Bionica hospital design, at Kolkata we have tried to promote the use of steel in buildings and spread awareness among architects and designers. We have extensively designed the entire building with steel including the façade which is made of steel plates and exposed the structural system to the exterior. In the hospital, we have tried to achieve floor spaces without column or beam by inversing the load from the floor plates to the roof and then transferred to the central core. high tension cables used to hold
The façade made from steel plates are coated with Titanium dioxide which will in-turn absorb the pollution the facades allow in diffused sunlight and direct the wind to ventilate the inner courtyards. Using steel as main construction helps in predicting the cost and timeline of the project accurately. All the hospital rooms open out to the Courtyards at each floor level which have huge green natural vegetation. This steel structure creates a unique landmark to the whole city.