Why are Steel Structures not popular in India?

Steel Structures

Steel Structures have various advantages over RCC Structures such as:

  1. A fast rate of construction
  2. The lightweight of the structure because of the high strength to weight ratio 
  3. The full strength of steel structures is available as soon as they are completed. The concrete structures develop their full strength over time.

Steel structures are more common in western countries.  Yet, steel structures for houses are not popular in India. In India, steel structures are used for industrial buildings. 

Here are top reasons why are steel structures not popular in India:

Cost of Labour and Materials

In India, labour costs are cheap and the material is expensive. In the US, it is the opposite.

The construction methods in India are labour-intensive. Concrete structures require large numbers of workers to manufacture concrete, arrange reinforcements, formworks, shuttering, etc. 

Steel Constructions need less labour and are constructed fast. 

Concrete structures can be built with unskilled or semi-skilled labours. Whereas steel structures require skilled labour.

The differences in labour cost make steel a competitive option in the USA and make concrete a favourable choice in India. 

Availability of Materials

Steel is manufactured in the steel plants. It has to be transported to the site of construction. Whereas concrete can be manufactured at sites with locally available materials and cement.

Seismic compliance

Seismic compliances are tighter in the US than in  India. Concrete is rigid and heavy. As such it takes more damage during an earthquake. But steel buildings are more ductile and can absorb the energy and oscillation from the ground. This makes steel buildings more survivable in high seismic areas. 

Cultural Values or Attitude:

Everything is a commercial in the US. Owning a house is an investment. Someone living there would invest in better materials and construction.

The corporate companies care about every dime and penny to maximize the return on investment. No sentiments; pure business. It should be built as cheap as possible. Cheap materials, fast construction. 

In the USA, Most people cannot sell their property if there are concrete structures on it. Since concrete has a nil scrap value. No one likes to go through a concrete demolition.  The composite materials with steel framing allow quick and easy re-modelling. So, steel structures retain their value in comparison to RCC structures.

In India, our houses have a sentimental value. We don’t build it to re-sell.  Most people even do not remodel their houses ever.

Climatic Conditions

As per India’s climatic conditions, Steel structures are not suitable for houses.

Steel buildings create more heat inside the spaces. Also, Steel is a good conductor of heat and so touches off materials in contact and often may cause fires. Hence, steel structures also require extra fireproofing treatment.

Lack of awareness

We are more familiar with bricks, cement, concrete, etc than steel rolled sections. If something is new, we won’t take risks. There is a lack of knowledge of steel construction among common people and laymen.

 

What do you think? Why are steel structures not popular in India?

Please let me know in comments.

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