The main case for steel:
There are so many reasons why steel buildings for schools simply work and there is not going to be enough space to go through every one of them with a fine toothcomb here, but hopefully the general idea will be understood.
Schools, more than any other institution perhaps are under incredible budgetary pressure, no matter whether public or state school the bottom line is often the main concern. On top of this it would be incredibly hypocritical for a school not to be environmentally friendly and preach the importance of green living to the next generation, so there are always eco-concerns as well. Education is the most important factor, however, and school buildings are often right at the very bottom of the list when it comes to budget and so the ideal scenario is a material that is cheap, environmentally friendly, quick to source and build with and cheap and easy to sustain. Hello steel, my old friend…
With the pressure on schools to handle increased numbers of children with little to no extra budget to expand and a desire not to pack everyone in like sardines, the dilemma is what to do with all those extra children? Well, an additional steel framed building is often the ‘go to’ solution as it ticks all the boxes that we just mentioned. The simple fact is that the installation of a steel framed building, rather than building from scratch or even repairing an old bricks and mortar building can yield cost savings of around 50%, putting a smile on even the sourest of governors’ faces.
Flexibility, durability, sustainability:
All three are buzzwords when it comes to finding the right school building and all three are catered to by steel framed buildings. A new gym or lab can be accommodated very easily in steel and is so quick to build and easy to maintain that it is very hard to ignore as the best option. Insulation, easy, cheap heating options and cheap and easy to install windows all help to make steel framed buildings in schools comfortable and congenial places to learn and play.
Gone are the days of ugly steel buildings with that prefabricated look. Things have moved on and steel buildings can be completely customised so they blend in with the overall look of the school – offering scope for slightly bigger budgets as well.
School targets and steel attributes:
Key attributes of steel relevant to schools include:
Speed of construction
Adaptability and flexibility
Cleanliness (low dust levels and easy to clean)
Safety of construction
Off-site prefabrication, including the use of modules
Reducing materials deliveries and waste
Minimising noise, dust and vibrations
Reducing the construction period
In this day and age educational buildings must reach strict targets in performance levels of acoustics, thermal properties and ventilation as well as providing flexibility of use. The school must also consider possible change of use down the line and the emphasis is firmly on pupil and staff satisfaction. As new steel installations are often close to other functioning buildings, minimising noise and other disturbance such as dust are high on the priority list as is speed of construction. Steel can address all these aspects, with off-site manufacturing and modular construction.