Published:  12:00 AM, 16 August 2016

Steel structures gaining popularity in cities

Steel structures gaining popularity in cities

Pre-fabricated steel structures are gaining popularity in cities as corporate houses prefer these types of construction for safety and convenience. Industry insiders said local steel-building makers are expecting a bright future for the pre-fabricated building sector as an increasing number of conglomerates,  foreign companies, are setting up such structures for industrial use.

They also said these types of buildings require short time to install and can resist natural disasters better during earthquakes."The demand for pre-fabricated steel structures is rising in the country as it provides safety and needs lesser lead time for building," Newaz Khan, chairman and chief executive officer of the PEB Steel Alliance Ltd, told The Asian Age.Dr. Mehedi Ahmed Ansary, professor of Department of Civil Engineering at Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) said "Steel buildings are being popular, due to cost effectiveness".

He said that steel building can be as safe as a concrete building, if proper designs and qualities are maintained.Demand for the construction of power plants, bridges, and manufacturing units such as Readymade garment (RMG) factory, textile mills and pharmaceuticals industry is rising, driven by the availability of locally produced steel and technology, according to sources. The annual demand for pre-fabricated steel products for the industrial sector is estimated to be Tk 40 billion, according to the Steel Building Manuf-acturers' Association of Bangladesh (SBMA).

The association data shows that pre-fabricated steel structure in the industrial sector has been growing at more than 15 per cent per year since 2001. And local companies meet around 85-90 per cent of raw materials.The pre-fabricated steel structure factories are now mainly located in Dhaka, Gazipur, Narayanganj, Comilla, Chittagong, Manikganj, Savar, Bogra, Narsingdi and Sirajgonj.More than 70 companies are now involved in such business, but some 22 companies are members of the association and about 10 companies including PEB Steel Alliance Ltd, Buildtrade Engineering Ltd, Sarker Steel Ltd and Bangladesh Building Systems Ltd holding 70 per cent share of the sector.

Newaz Khan said pre-fabricated steel structure is now being used in factories, multi-storied buildings, power plants and bridges.Khan said if the owners break a steel building after 50 years, they will be able to get four times the value as the pre-fabricated steel price is increasing, which is unthinkable for conventional buildings.He said to build a 50-60 thousand square feet concrete, technically known as reinforced cement concrete, building, it needs more than one year, while a steel building can be made in only two months.

Engineer Iftekhar Hossain, assistant manager of the Buildtrade Engineering Limited, a leading pre-fabricated steel structure constriction company, said Bangladesh has huge potential in steel structure infrastructure as per capita steel consumption is still very low compared to global standards.He said "We have completed more than 600 projects since establishment of manufacturing plant in Bangladesh, which ranges from 5,000 sft warehouse to 18,5000 sft". Hossain said "We have taken a few new high-rise buildings of big corporate houses like Square Pharma, Beximco Group, Shanta Group, and Rangs Group".

He said they believe that Buildtrade is the only Bangladeshi Company having necessary set up and expertise to provide a complete solution for industrial, commercial and residential steel buildings. He said the company is capable of building pre-fabricated high rises and also capable of building flyovers and bridges as they are committed to maintain high standard and quality work ensuring world class workmanship.Engineer Manojit Barua, an official of Sarker Steel Ltd, said the construction cost of such a building is Tk 2,000 to Tk 2,200 square feet, which is 20-30 per cent higher than a conventional building.

He said his company has so far completed around 300 projects and now 25 projects are under construction.Mohammad Nasir, vice-president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) said "We have been turning to pre-fabricated steel structures to build manufacturing units". He said a number of entrepreneurs are importing necessary raw materials for building steel structure factories.Sources said the range of application has expanded with improved materials, products and design capabilities with the availability of computer based design software.

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