The growth in steel consumption indicates a growth in construction sector, and demand for steel critically hinges on development and expansion of the sector. The need for steel in construction industry is 7 times higher than in other sectors like machinery, automobile and packaging.

Advanced countries look at investment in infrastructure building and up gradation of existing facilities in urban infrastructure and building residential complexes to enhance steel consumption and to push economic growth. Apart from an increased consumption, it results in higher utilization in indigenous capacity.

Steel cement ratio in project construction is higher, since steel enables faster construction and allows extra floor space availability. Light gauge high-performance steel, castellated beams are used in these constructions.

In the Smart city concept, the emphasis is more on digital advancement, improvement in public services, eco-friendly environment, safety and security for the citizens, good roads, adequate electricity and water supply. Each smart city can be planned with an elegant looking entry gate made out of high grade pre-painted steel or stainless steel to project a shining image. At busy road connections the small span steel-concrete composite Road over Bridges (ROB) may be planned for safe movement of the senior citizens, women and children.

As steel structures are of permanent nature and require little maintenance and the consideration of Life Cycle Cost advantages of steel-based construction must be inculcated at the planning stage itself for the smart cities. Steel will play a stellar role in the housing and city planning activities of the Government, going forward.

For high-rise buildings, the requirement of steel is more to construct additional roofing space in each floor, the basement, the covered parking and multi-level parking and other subsidiary constructions in the additional spaces. In India, the mass housing projects and affordable housing projects funded primarily from the government sources may not provide much space for higher steel application except for reinforcement steel used for concrete.

It is, therefore, necessary to distinguish between investment earmarked for residential construction and investment made in infrastructure building and make suitable changes in the methodology of demand estimation while correlating construction sector growth with growth in steel demand.

It is reiterated that steel use for construction sector as a whole in the country has gone up appreciably in the past one-and-half decade thanks to wider awareness about steel, acceptability and spread of steel- based designs, new user-friendly Codes and Standards (IS 1786, IS 15962, IS 11384), development of light-weight, high-performance steel. Despite all these developments, a good deal of challenges needs to be addressed for higher use of steel in construction sector in India.

Source: Financial Express

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