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Steel and Concrete Together: Using the Strengths of Each
Up until now the previous articles focused on buildings made entirely of steel. An important fact to remember is that the use of steel in building is not necessarily exclusive of concrete or blocks. In larger or more sophisticated projects the different raw materials and construction methods are frequently used together. This Mervyn's building in the Dallas / Ft. Worth, Texas area was constructed with a combination of steel and concrete - a steel framework surrounded by tilt-up walls for exterior facades.

Here are some very common examples of how steel, concrete and tilt-up construction are used together to provide the best quality and value: A large steel office building or retail center may use tiltwall concrete panels for interior fire walls or exterior facades. The Mervyn's department store in the Dallas / Fort Worth, Texas area pictured to the right was constructed in just this manner.

An existing manufacturing building or warehouse made of concrete blocks could be expanded by adding a steel lean-to structure to one of its exterior support walls.

A distribution center built using the cement blocks of traditional construction will frequently use a steel roofing system and a rigid frame similar to what a metal building might use. Regardless what material is used, this combination of a rigid frame and steel roof is necessary to provide a large clearspan.

These are just a few situations where the best choice for a project might be a steel building with tilt-up construction components, or a concrete structure with steel framework, roof system or steel add-ons or expansions. A general contractor who is well versed in the advantages and limitations of all methods of construction can help determine what is the best approach on any given project.

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