Building the Future with Steel

Construction represents the largest market for steel demand, with many diverse and complex segments. SMDI works with strategic steel industry partners to conduct research, provide technology transfer to bring the resulting innovations to the marketplace, and promote the benefits of steel solutions to customers. The National Institute of Standards and Technology notes that “steel has become one of the most reliable, most used and most important materials of the age.”

As an advanced engineered material, steel is the material of choice by engineers and architects because of its strong performance characteristics, reliability, versatility in design, consistency as a product and “green” profile. 

Construction Market Programs

SMDI’s Construction Market programs are focused on developing and implementing steel solutions in these areas:

  • Building Codes and Standards Development
  • Commercial Construction (Framing and Roofing)
  • Transportation and Infrastructure (Bridges, Electric Utility Distribution Poles, Reinforced Pavement, Pipes and Tanks, and Corrugated Steel Pipes)

SMDI works with strategic steel industry partners to conduct research, provide technology transfer to bring the resulting innovations to the marketplace, and promote the benefits of steel solutions to customers.

Residential and Commercial Construction

AISI-generated building standards have been incorporated into the most recent editions of the International Building Code (IBC) and the International Residential Code (IRC) and are used throughout the world. Steel continues to provide a proven environmentally responsible solution for meeting green building requirements in standards such as the International Green Construction Code (IgCC), ASHRAE 189.1, the National Green Building Standard (ICC-700) and green building rating systems like the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED).

Bayonne Steel Bridge Credit: stock.adobe.com

Bridges

Bridges connect us as a nation. We need them to transport billions of tons of freight each year from coast to-coast. Yet the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) estimates that nearly nine percent of America’s more than 600,000 bridges are either structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) 2017 Infrastructure Report Card graded the nation’s bridges with a “C+” and noted the most recent estimate puts the nation’s backlog of bridge rehabilitation needs at $123 billion. Repairing and/or replacing these bridges with modern steel bridge designs must be a national priority. Steel bridges offer owners practical design and accelerated bridge construction solutions which are durable, cost-effective and offer ease of maintenance and construction. A free, web-based design tool developed by SMDI and other partners of the Short Span Steel Bridge Alliance—eSPAN140—allows users to download customized steel bridge designs in three easy steps in less than five minutes, saving them significant time and costs. More than 2,500 eSPAN140 preliminary designs have been generated since 2012. America’s bridges are utilizing bridge technologies that help save taxpayer dollars as we rebuild our infrastructure over the next two decades. Designers and engineers can specify new high-performance steels (HPS) developed by member companies with the Office of Naval Research and FHWA. These steels have superior toughness and can be welded with little or no preheat. Today, there are more than 500 HPS bridges in use in 47 states.

Transportation and Infrastructure

In a globalized economy, America’s infrastructure is important to our competitive edge. A globally competitive economy depends on an effective and efficient transportation infrastructure. The American Road and Transportation Builders Association reports that the U.S. transportation construction industry generates more than $500 billion in total annual economic activity for the nation and sustains nearly 4 million jobs—the equivalent of 1.6 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP). AISI supports strong public policy initiatives that equip the manufacturing sector to remain competitive and provide sustainable, long-term financing mechanisms for federal transportation infrastructure investments.