Why are Steel Structures Used in Most Construction?

 

Empire State Building
The Brooklyn Bridge
Burj Khalifa

 

Did you know that steel is a high-strength grade of construction material?

Steel, known for its reliability and cost efficiency, is considered the go-to material for construction purposes. How are steel structures cost-effective and at the same time the go-to material? Well, it requires fewer raw materials, is lower-maintenance and inexpensive to manufacture, and steel structures are generally more durable than those constructed from other materials because the alloy can endure severe weather conditions. It also staves off rust and mold accumulation, giving the material a longer lifespan. For all these reasons, using steel is widely considered a great long-term investment.

Modern contractors and designers use the material for all types of structural engineering work. Steel can be shaped to accommodate each project’s unique specifications – some of the potential forms it can assume include round tube (HSS), plate, an angle, and wide flange, among others. Its flexibility allows engineers and architects to bring their beautiful designs to life. So, if you’ve ever passed a modern bridge, building, or tower that caught your attention and wondered what it was made of, the answer is probably, at least partially, steel!

If you are curious about buildings and/or bridges built with steel, here are three famous examples:
1. The Empire State Building, located in New York City, was constructed in 1931. The Empire State Building once held the record for being the world’s tallest building. It was designed by William F. Lamb, who drew inspiration from art deco aesthetics.

2. The Brooklyn Bridge, also located in New York City, was constructed in 1883. It is known for having been the first steel-wire suspension bridge in the world. The original designer was John Augustus Roebling, who sadly succumbed to injuries he obtained from an accident he had on the bridge. His son, Washington Roebling, continued his work, but also suffered an accident that led to him developing a sickness, and his wife Emily Warren Roebling subsequently stepped in to help him finish the bridge.

3. The Burj Khalifa, located in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, was constructed in 2006. This building is currently the tallest in the world. It was designed by Adrian Smith, and according to the ruler of Dubai, the inspiration that led to its construction struck him during a previous visit to the Empire State Building.


What is Inspection Software?

 

Inspection software refers to programs that allow inspectors to digitally submit invoices, signatures, work orders, and other documentation while in the field. This type of software can be accessed via smart phones or through various companies’ web applications.

In addition, aside from enabling inspectors to submit work, inspection applications have many cool features that allow inspectors to organize and plan their work on a day-to-day basis. For example, inspectors can use the applications to manage their schedules, create workload checklists, and follow up on previously archived / submitted documents. Each program has its own unique capabilities, but most of them share common features such as reporting and scheduling recurring tasks, setting reminders, and inspection task management.

Because of their efficiency, many companies are using these programs to improve their businesses and help them stay up-to-date with their competitors. Inspection software not only helps companies and / or contractors save time by speeding up the work process, but also helps them adhere to regulations. For example, these programs can store information that can be requested by authorities if the company and / or contractor is going through an internal audit.

If you are interested in utilizing inspection software for your company or if you are an individual contractor who would like to download one of these programs to your smart devices, here are some tips you should consider before you decide to make a purchase:

  • Ensure the application is fully accessible from smartphones / tablets;
  • Confirm the vendor offers 24/7 support; and
  • Research which category of software buyers you fall into, such as a small, medium, or large business.

When selecting an inspection software vendor, the goal is to select the one that best suits your business, because the goal of inspection software is to ultimately improve the way a business operates.

KC’s inspectors utilize a variety of inspection software to track data, which enhances the level of detail provided in our reports and ensures our clients stay abreast of project progress.


Design-Build Contract D800002: Cashless Tolling, Statewide, NY

This Design-Build project involves the design and construction of cashless tolling on the New York State Thruway ticketed system from approximately Thruway Exits 16 to 61 (MP 45.00 to MP 496.00), which will save travel time, reduce traffic, and minimize greenhouse gas emissions, benefitting the approximately 267 million vehicles that travel the Thruway each year.

The work varies on a site-by-site basis. Work generally consists of the strategic and cost effective placement of gantries, the removal of toll plazas, the reduction (in most locations) of the infrastructure footprint, positive separation of opposing traffic, signing, striping, design and construction modifications of super elevations to accommodate higher speeds through the gantry and modified toll plaza areas, landscaping, electronic work, communication buildings, tandem lot access modifications or closures or relocations, drainage work, pavement work, coordination with and/or preservation of existing utilities, asbestos and hazardous material abatement, and/or solutions to provide safe ingress and egress to and from the Thruway System.

The Cashless Tolling Constructors, LLC team, of which Stantec Consulting Services Inc and KC Engineering and Land Surveying, P.C. are Lead Designer, was selected as Best Value Team for this project. KC leads the structural engineering team, with work including providing design for four different types of gantries; generators / mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP); and communication buildings, including tie-in points to existing power and fiber sources, adequate parking space, and safe access for maintenance personnel.

KC also performs quality management, surveying, and civil and utility engineering services.

The cashless tolling system went live in November 2020, more than a month ahead of schedule, with toll booth removals, asbestos and hazardous material abatement, and final construction work to occur in 2021.