Frequently Asked Questions about Steel Structures

Where are steel structures used?

Steel structures are widely used in various industries. You will find steel structures in industrial, commercial and agricultural environments. This versatile building method is suitable for almost every application, offering a strong and durable building solution. Steel structures are commonly used for industrial structures like factories, warehouses and workshops, because of its high strength and ability to achieve clear spans. Steel is also the preferred material for many commercial structures like shopping malls, stadiums, gymnasiums, business parks and more. Farmers and businesses in the agricultural industries are also opting for steel for their building needs, due to the efficiency, versatility and durability of steel structures. Steel is even being used in residential applications for shading and homes like the modern A-frame houses.

What are the advantages of steel structures?

There are many advantages of using steel in construction, which is why this is becoming the preferred building method across the globe. One of the main benefits of steel, is its excellent strength-to-weight ratio. This extremely strong building material is quite lightweight, making it easier to transport and erect than conventional brick and mortar buildings. Steel is also extremely durable, and can withstand harsh environments and weather conditions. It is also not susceptible to mould and pests like timber, and will not aid in the spread of fire, making it the safer option for many applications. Steel is also 100% recyclable.

What is steel structure design?

To ensure the safety and integrity of a steel structure, structural steel design must be done by a qualified structural engineer. The geometric configurations and factors must be taken into account, to determine its load-bearing capability and tensile strength amongst others. Pretorius Structures’ team of structural engineers and draughtsmen make use of professional design software to ensure a strong, safe and efficient is designed for our customers. We will provide you with detailed drawings of the structure for your approval.

What are the main properties of steel?

Steel is blend of different metals, with iron being the primary metal. Steel is extremely hard and strong, but is also very flexible with an excellent tensile strength, resulting in a high load-bearing capacity, ability to handle external forces and keeping its original shape without breaking. These physical properties have made steel one of the most important materials used in construction to date.

What are steel sections?

Steel sections are the backbone of steel structures. There are many different types of steel sections, for different applications and structural needs. Steel sections are available in various shapes, sizes and specifications. Steel sections used in construction include I-beams, angled beams, flat bar, round and square beams, U-beams, heavy section beams and columns and many more.

What is a pre-engineered steel structure?

A pre-engineered steel structure means that the material is fabricated completely or partially in a factory, ready to be assembled on-site.  There are many advantages to this building type and method. It is much faster than conventional building, as the fabrication takes place within a factory with the use of specialised equipment, and work is not dependant on the weather. On-site construction is also executed much faster, and it is less labour intensive. The structures a

Is steel a good building material?

Steel is the main construction materials used in the world today. This can be attributed to its many advantages such as high strength-to-weight, malleability, versatility of use, eco-friendliness, cost-effectiveness, strength and durability. Steel building material is the main component in modern structures, making it possible to build great structures like skyscrapers, bridges, ships and other infrastructure like pipelines and railways. Steel is an excellent building material, which has since its existence, made it possible to achieve great things in construction.

What is the lifespan of a steel frame structure?

If properly built by a professional steel structure company, and is well maintained, most steel buildings can last anywhere between 50 and 100 years. This is because steel is such a durable material, and is not as susceptible to corrosion and deterioration like timber and concrete. Its resistance to corrosion, strong chemical composition, and ability to withstand harsh conditions make it able to endure more than other materials.

Is a steel structure better than concrete?

There are many advantages of steel structures over concrete structures, especially when it comes to structures for commercial, industrial and agricultural environments. In comparison, concrete is able to handle compressive stresses very effectively but it cannot handle high tensile stresses like steel. Concrete can be moulded into any shape, but requires steel reinforcement to increase its tensile strength, preventing cracks and deterioration of the structure. Concrete is also high in self-weight, with steel possessing an excellent strength to weight ratio. Steel structures are easier and faster to construct than concrete structures, and materials are easier to transport.

What does a steel structure cost?

Steel structures all vary in price, depending on the size, material, specification, location and steel prices. The best option would be to discuss your steel structure building needs with a professional consultant at Pretorius Structures, to get a quote on the steel structure you require for your needs. Pretorius Structures offer cost-effective and competitive steel building prices in South Africa, extending our services to neighbouring African countries.

Are steel buildings durable?

Steel buildings are extremely durable. This is due to the robustness and physical properties of the steel material, which is considered the strongest material used in construction today. It is important however to make use of a reputable steel building company to ensure that you achieve optimal durability, integrity and safety in your structure.

Are steel structures environmentally friendly?

Steel is considered being an environmentally friendly building material, as it is 98-100% recyclable. It is also re-usable and can be repurposed, offering users a return on their initial investment.  Steel can be recycled over and over again, showing its lifecycle efficiency and sustainability.

Frequently Asked Questions about Warehouse Construction

What is a warehouse structure?

A warehouse is a structure that is used to various types of store goods, often used by manufacturers, importers, exporters, wholesalers, transport businesses, customs and more. A warehouses is a logistics system that a company uses to store goods and provide detailed information about the products stored, involving the stocking, maintaining, and controlling of inventory.

What materials are used to build warehouses?

The main material used in the construction of warehouses, is steel. The main structure and frame is made from steel sections (beams and columns), with steel side cladding and steel roof sheets. Steel is strong and durable, providing a lasting structure for warehouse usage.

How long does it take to build a warehouse in South Africa?

Depending on the size, scope and complexity of the project, a warehouse can be constructed in anything from a few weeks to a few months. The team from Pretorius Structures will aim to complete the construction within the agreed upon timeframe.

How much does it cost to build a warehouse in South Africa?

Basic industrial structures like steel warehouses will typically cost in the range of R 3,500 to R 5500 per square metre of gross building area, providing a steel portal frame, partial brickwork, steel side cladding roof sheeting.

What type of building is a steel warehouse?

Steel warehouses are typically large buildings with high ceilings and clear spans, with loading doors on either the front or back of the building to accommodate the loading and unloading of goods from large trucks. Most of the space is utilised for storage, while only a small space is usually required for admin and offices. Specialised warehouses have different needs, such as cold storage warehouses, communication and data centres, manufacturing buildings etc.

What are the steel warehouse requirements?

There are various aspects that need to be considered when constructing a steel warehouse to ensure that your warehouse building meets your needs. Some important factors include: layout; size requirements; height requirements; dock doors and equipment; electrical requirements; location accessibility; flooring; safety standards; employee facilities such as bathrooms, offices and break rooms; and budget to name a few. Discuss your steel warehouse needs with the team from Pretorius Structures today.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Commercial Steel Structures

What is a commercial building?

Commercial buildings are buildings where commercial activities (commerce) take place, such as offices, retail stores, warehouses etc. Commercial buildings play a big role in our everyday lives supporting public and private sector business and services.

Is a steel frame structure good for commercial buildings?

Steel has been used in the building industry for many years, and is fast becoming the building material of choice for commercial structures. When looking at city skylines, it is clear how building designs have evolved, and that design possibilities are endless when using steel in the commercial steel structure design.  Not only do steel structures pose aesthetic advantages, but offer a number of other benefits such as its durability, longevity and sustainability. It also allows engineers to design and construct larger structures such as bridges and skyscrapers.

What is the difference between commercial and residential buildings?

Commercial buildings refer to any property used for business activities, while residential properties are exclusively used for living quarters, such as houses, apartments and townhouses. Because commercial and residential building are built for two very different purposes, there are differences in how the structures are designed, meeting these different needs.

What is the difference between commercial and industrial structures?

Commercial buildings are used for business activities  and where commerce takes place, like retail stores, restaurants, business parks to name a few. Industrial structures are more likely found in industrial environments where products are manufactured, such as factories, workshops and warehouses. Commercial and industrial buildings have different needs in terms of layout, floor planning, entrances and accessibility, location and functionality of the building.

What types of commercial buildings are there?

There are many types of commercial structures, such as: Office buildings, retail building, restaurants, hotels, warehouses, hospitals, gymnasiums etc.   Some even classify schools and churches as commercial building types.

What are building regulations in South Africa?

Buildings in South Africa need to be designed according to SANS10400, National Building regulations (NRB).  You can rest assured that the team from Pretorius Structure will comply with all regulations regarding the design and construction of your commercial steel structure. We comply with the highest quality standards for assurance and will provide you and your company with a safe working environment and comprehensive knowledge in the field of structural steel.


Frequently Asked Questions about Steel Factory Construction

What is a factory building?

A factory is an industrial facility, also known as a manufacturing or production plant, that normally consists of a set of buildings that are all equipped with machinery and is used to create goods or run machines that transform one thing into another.

What materials are used to build a factory?

Steel is one of the main materials used to build factories. This is due steel being such an extremely versatile material, allowing for design flexibility and the ability to be expanded as the company’s needs grow. Steel is one of the strongest and longest lasting building materials, providing a durable structure to meet the factory’s long term needs.

What are the types of factory buildings?

There are many types of building designs to meet different needs of production processes and factory operations. These designs include single storey structures, multiple-storey structures and special factory designs. Pretorius Structures offer standard portal frame factory designs, as well as custom-built designs to meet the customer’s requirements.

How do you build a factory?

The building of a factory happens in three different phases. Once you have the right location and permits, the construction company will start with the Design phase. This is where the design of your factory will be drawn by using professional drawing software by qualified draughtsmen and engineers. The team will ensure that your factory structure meets the quality and safety standards, and conforms to all building legislation. The next phase, is Fabrication. This is where the beams, columns, roof sheets and cladding will be cut, bent and packed, ready to be transported to the construction site. The last phase, is the Construction of the steel factory. The team from Pretorius Structures will build you steel structure professionally, paying attention to detail and ensuring we provide a quality structure that will exceed your expectations.

What is an industrial steel building?

An industrial steel building is designed to be secure and long-lasting so that it may house large industrial businesses that require a reliable and affordable solution for their operations. The greater level of stability and strength that metal buildings may offer is one the reasons why steel is the preferred material for these type of structures. Industrial type steel structures include factories, warehouses and workshops.

Is steel a good material to build a factory?

Steel is the preferred material when it comes to the construction of factories. This is due to the number of advantages of steel over other construction materials. Steel is versatile and flexible, and can be transformed into just about any shape. Steel is also strong and durable, with an excellent strength to weight ratio. The latter makes steel easy to transport and faster to construct, which are two important factors in the construction of any large structure. Steel is resistant to fire, making it a safer building material than timber, and it is also 100% recyclable.

What are the principles for planning the layout of a new factory?

An optimal management strategy for a facility’s people, operating equipment, storage area, material handling equipment, and other support services is called a plant layout. Within the production or factory facility, it covers the configuration and positioning of work centres and other service centres like inspection, storage, and shipment. Some of the main principles to use for the planning of your factory, include the effective use of space, minimum material handling, distance and integration, process flow, flexibility of the layout, safety and security, and the possibility to accommodate future expansions.

Frequently Asked Questions about Industrial Steel Buildings

What is considered an industrial structure?

Any company that produces items is referred to as industrial. Construction, manufacturing, and enterprises involving mechanical, electrical, or civil operations could all fall under this category. This effectively means that these companies operate in industrial structures.

What materials are used in industrial buildings?

Although a minor portion of industrial building superstructures are framed in precast concrete, the majority are of structural steel. Steel is largely employed because of its high strength to weight ratio, which makes it cost-effective for use and transportation across long distances. Because steelwork is easily restructured, it offers a degree of adaptability that concrete structures don’t always offer.

What are the 6 types of industrial property?

When deciding on the industrial property you need for your business, it’s crucial that you obtain an operational area which’s dimensions correspond to the demands of your company. Main types of industrial structures include buildings for heavy manufacturing, light manufacturing, warehouses for distribution purposes or general storage purpose, data centres, research and development buildings and showroom buildings.

What are the characteristics of industrial architecture?

Some key features and common elements you will see in industrial steel structures are large, unobstructed floor plans, high ceilings, exposed raw materials such as bricks, concrete, or metal, large doorways and loading bays, excellent lit spaces and extensive electrical supplies for heavy equipment to name a few.

Why steel is used in industrial buildings?

Steel is a strong material that is made to endure in harsh environments, making it a secure structural solution for your company. Strong winds, earthquakes, and environmental dangers like corrosion are all things steel is able to withstand quite well. Your industrial steel building will keep its sturdy shape and design for many years to come, regardless of the environment or location it is built in. Steel is also a sustainable building material that has long been preferred in environmentally responsible manufacturing. It possesses the capacity to be reused and recycled over time without degrading in terms of quality or structure. After building projects are complete, all residual steel may be salvaged and recycled, resulting in zero steel waste.

Frequently Asked Questions about Building Contractors


How do I find a reputable building contractor?

There are several ways to find a reputable building contractor. You can ask for referrals from friends, family, or colleagues who have recently had work done on their homes. You can also search online for contractors in your area and check their reviews and ratings. It’s important to do your research and ask for references before hiring a contractor.

What qualifications should a building contractor in South Africa have?

In South Africa, building contractors should have the necessary qualifications and certifications to perform construction work legally and safely. Here are some of the qualifications and certifications that building contractors in South Africa should have:

  1. Registration with the National Home Builders Registration Council (NHBRC): This is a legal requirement for all builders in South Africa who build new homes or make additions or alterations to existing homes.
  2. Accreditation with the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB): This accreditation indicates that a contractor has met the minimum requirements for registration with the CIDB and has the necessary skills, knowledge, and experience to undertake construction projects.
  3. Trade certificate: Building contractors should have a trade certificate in a relevant trade, such as carpentry, electrical work, or plumbing.
  4. Health and safety training: Building Contractors in South Africa should have completed health and safety training, which is required to ensure that the work is performed safely and without endangering workers or members of the public.
  5. Professional affiliations: Building contractors may belong to professional organizations such as the Master Builders Association or the South African Federation of Civil Engineering Contractors, which require members to meet certain standards and adhere to a code of conduct.

What is the average cost of hiring a building contractor in South Africa?

The cost of hiring a building contractor in South Africa depends on several factors, including the size and complexity of the project, the materials used, and the contractor’s experience and reputation. It’s important to get multiple quotes from different contractors to compare prices and services.

How long does it take to complete a building project?

The length of time it takes to complete a building project depends on the size and complexity of the project, as well as the contractor’s schedule and availability. It’s important to discuss the timeline with your contractor before starting the project.

What types of insurance should a building contractor in South Africa have?

Building contractors in South Africa should have several types of insurance to protect themselves, their workers, and their clients. Here are some of the types of insurance that building contractors in South Africa should have:

  1. Public liability insurance: This insurance protects the contractor against claims of property damage or personal injury caused by the work they perform. It covers any legal fees and compensation costs that may arise from such claims.
  2. Contractors all-risk insurance: This insurance covers the contractor against loss or damage to the building materials, equipment, and tools that they use on the project. It also covers damage caused to the building during construction.
  3. Workers’ compensation insurance: This insurance provides compensation to workers who are injured on the job or suffer from work-related illnesses. It covers medical expenses, lost wages, and rehabilitation costs.
  4. Professional indemnity insurance: This insurance protects the contractor against claims of professional negligence or errors and omissions. It covers legal fees and compensation costs that may arise from such claims.
  5. Motor vehicle insurance: Building contractors who use vehicles for work-related purposes should have motor vehicle insurance to protect against accidents, theft, and damage to the vehicle.

What is the process for obtaining building permits in South Africa?

To obtain a building permit in South Africa, you will need to submit an application to the local municipality or city council. The application should include detailed plans and specifications for the project, as well as proof of compliance with local building codes and regulations.

How do I know if a building contractor is licensed and registered?

You can check the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) website to verify a contractor’s license and registration status. You can also ask the contractor for proof of their license and registration.

How do I ensure that my building project is completed on time and within budget?

To ensure that your building project is completed on time and within budget, it’s important to have a detailed contract that outlines the scope of the project, the materials and labour costs, and the timeline for completion. You should also communicate regularly with your contractor and monitor the progress of the project.

What should I look for in a building contract for a project in South Africa?

A building contract for a project in South Africa should include the scope of the project, the materials and labour costs, the timeline for completion, and any warranties or guarantees offered by the contractor. It should also include provisions for changes to the project, payment terms, and dispute resolution. It’s important to read the contract carefully and ask for clarification on any terms or provisions that are unclear.

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