Stainless steel in construction industry

The South African stainless steel industry is in an early developmental stage with regards to construction and cladding, despite many architectural projects having been completed over the past few decades, says South African Stainless Steel Development Association (Sassda) Western Cape regional manager Michel Basson.

This early stage, he adds, provides an opportunity for the local stainless steel industry to grow rapidly over the next decade, considering that stainless steel, while slightly more expensive, has the unique ability to resist corrosion, heat and chemical damage, thereby providing a total life-cycle costing that is, in most cases, “unbeatableâ€?.

Basson explains that although that most stainless steel grades can be used for architectural application, high-strength duplex grades of stainless steel provide added strength, which allows for a reduced thickness of the material, subsequently providing a cost advantage over conventional grades of steel since the construction will be lighter with an extremely long service life.

Basson also highlights the “definitive advantagesâ€? when façades, which are constructed using cladding, act as a sunscreen by decreasing building temperatures. When installed correctly, this reduces electricity use and adds to the green status of buildings.

“Stainless steel contributes greatly to building safety in terms of high-temperature strength and seismic stability. The life-cycle cost remains a winner and stainless steel is stronger, meaning that thinner and lighter gauges can be used.â€?

For this reason, Sassda launched its Lifecycle Costing app in 2016, which calculates the long-term cost benefits of stainless steel and allows for accurate material cost comparisons over the entire life cycle of a project.

Using stainless steel in cladding construction brings the advantages in terms of temperature control and environmental issues into focus, says Basson.

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