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Rising Steel Prices Make Space Frame Structures an Attractive Building System for Today

Rising Steel Prices Make Space Frame Structures an Attractive Building System for Today


Using steel space frames--which are lighter, durable and faster to install--as a structural system can help reduce material costs.

On May 31, 2018, President Trump signed a new presidential proclamation adjusting steel duties initiated under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962. This ended temporary exemptions of duties for imports of steel products from the European Union (EU), Canada and Mexico. As a result, a 25 percent duty on steel products is now being collected on imports from these countries.
These recent tariffs placed on steel imports have driven the price of steel up—not just internationally but also domestically. According to the Raw Steels Monthly Metals Index (MMI), Chinese steel prices increased in August and September, and have been on an uptrend after a slight downtrend earlier in the year. Despite a slight dip in August, domestic steel prices have hovered at seven-year highs throughout 2018 and have remained in a sharp uptrend since January.
Space Frames Are Lighter
According to Chambers, a space frame structure is up to 30 percent lighter than a similar structure supported by a traditional steel truss system because it uses significantly less material—up to 60 percent less. This can provide substantial savings on materials.
Conserving Resources Helps Conserve Dollars
Additionally, steel space frame structures can be made from recycled material and are themselves, fully recyclable. Sourcing material that is abundant and locally available eliminates the need for scarce, high-cost materials.
Space Frames Are Durable
In addition to using materials more efficiently, steel space frames are more durable over the long run and therefore provide cost savings for years to come, said Chambers. All components are manufactured at its Illinois facility, then galvanized and finished with a powder coat. The hot-dipped galvanization process provides a protective coating over the steel to prevent rust and resist corrosion. As a result, the completed space frame structure does not need to be repainted and requires significantly less maintenance over the years, lowering long-term cost of ownership.
Space Frames Are Faster To Install
After being manufactured, steel space frame components are delivered to a job site ready to be installed. Trained technicians assemble the system on-site, and no field cutting or welding is required. Then the space frame structure is erected into place and tacked down.
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