Structural Steel or Concrete: Which Is Better?

July 24, 2017 6:56 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

The construction industry accounts for half of all resources used worldwide, which calls for building designers to use caution in the choice of material. Cost, safety, efficiency and environmental considerations are all topics that need to be considered when deciding on a building material.

There are two main construction materials to choose from: steel and concrete. Both materials present a variety of pros and cons, so how do you know which one is better? Let’s take a closer look at both concrete and steel construction in Indiana, and then we’ll let you decide.


Concrete: Over the years, the cost of ready-made concrete has remained fairly stable, while the overall cost of building materials has been on the rise. There are other cost benefits to consider as well. Concrete allows for more rentable space in the lower floor of the building as well as reduced building insurance costs.

Steel: The cost of structural steel has seen significant increases over the years, but it’s important to note that structural steel makes up less than 20 percent of the total steel used in a building project. While steel may appear more expensive than concrete upfront, the costs of concrete framing systems and structural steel are about the same.


Concrete: Concrete is often considered the “safer” choice. Concrete is inherently fire resistant, and due to its thickness and solidity, it is also resistant to explosions and impact.

Steel: While concrete is inherently fire resistant, steel can be made to be fire resistant by adding passive fire protectors. In addition, steel is more flexible than concrete and can bend in high-wind situations or earthquakes, which means it is less likely to collapse.


Concrete: Concrete structures can, on average, add a floor every other day. Although the work is labor-intensive, it is efficient because it is simply a matter of ready-mixed concrete being delivered to construction sites and being poured into pre-made foundations.

Steel: Until recently, concrete was considered the most efficient building material, but with new advances that allow for steel framing systems to be built ahead of time off the construction site, the actual on-site construction time has been reduced by nearly 50 percent.


Concrete: We can no longer ignore the environmental concerns involved with any building project. Concrete is often produced locally, which means it requires minimal energy to transport. Concrete can also be recycled, but recycled concrete cannot be reused for building construction.

Steel: More steel is recycled each year than all other materials combined. In fact, steel is the only material that can be continually recycled without losing its integrity. However, steel typically requires more energy to be transported to construction sites.

Both steel and concrete present a variety of pros and cons, so which one you choose for your building project will depend on your specific goals. However, if you are considering steel construction in Indiana, Benchmark Fabricated Steel offers top quality steel fabrication at competitive prices for all your building needs. To learn more, please get in touch with us today!

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