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Why Use Structural Steel? The Advantages in Design and Engineering

Why Steel?

Steel has long been a crucial building element due to its unique strength properties and incredible versatility. Structural steel can make any design the structural engineers and architects make come to life, whether straightforward and functional or a more creative showstopper. 

According to the American Institute of Steel Construction, “The light and airy feel that structural steel can convey is almost magical, and its inherent design flexibility is limitless. Whether it is a curved slab edge, an unencumbered column-free space or a heavily loaded equipment room, steel can provide an elegant and cost-effective solution. No other framing material comes close to structural steel’s ability to encourage freedom of expression and design creativity.”


How is Structural Steel Used?

Structural steel can be used in a wide variety of building projects, including large steel structures such as skyscrapers, office buildings, hospitals, or schools. Here at EM Structural, we most frequently use steel design for low-rise retail buildings, and as transfer framing for mixed-use buildings where there is residential (timber or cold-formed steel) framing above retail or amenity space.


Advantages of Using Structural Steel

  • High strength: steel structures weigh less than structures of other materials due to steel’s high strength per unit of weight.
  • Uniformity: over time, steel’s properties do not change or depreciate. 
  • Elasticity: steel follows expectations and performs very close to design assumptions under stress. 
  • Permanence: steel lasts indefinitely with proper maintenance
  • Ductility: rather than failing under high stresses immediately, steel can tolerate extensive deformation.
  • Toughness: with high strength and ductility, steel is a tough material that can absorb large amounts of energy.
  • Additions to Existing Structures: steel structures make it easier than other materials to add new portions of a building.  

Read more about the advantages of structural steel here.


More Benefits of Steel Design and Detailing

Cold-formed steel framing speeds construction and is an ideal medium for clients looking for a more rapid building phase. It also provides flexibility in the future by allowing for easier additions and remodels. Our integrated approach in steel design and detailing uses the latest design software and building information models to ensure the most economical and constructible steel designs for our clients.

Learn more about EM’s steel design process here, or Contact Us to start a project. 



EM Structural has been a proud sponsor of Canstruction since 2014. Canstruction is a charity and art exhibit event that features large structures completely made out of cans of food. At the end of each competition, all canned food is donated to local hunger relief and food bank organizations in Atlanta, GA. Each year, EM Structural has donated an estimate of 6,000 cans of food.

Through Canstruction, EM Structural is able to demonstrate our creativity as structural engineers while also giving back to those in need in our local community. The canned food donated in Canstruction has a direct impact on the individual lives that make up our community. Continue reading

Charitable Donations

EM Structural is passionate about helping others and giving back to the community. In 2016, EM Structural has been a sponsor and made charitable donations to the following organizations:

Let us help make your next engineering project a success.