Although every industry uses metal, the construction industry is one of the most significant users of the material. This is due to the favourable properties metal offers, such as the durability and strength it holds.
When it comes to construction, strength is a requirement of any material. The material must withstand British weather’s forceful elements and the potential accidental fires and damage from external forces. Without such, buildings would deteriorate much faster and require more maintenance. Therefore, metal is used throughout the construction industry to improve the structure’s overall vigour against complications.
What Are the Common Metals Found in Construction?
A handful of metals are commonly used for building construction, predominantly for durability, strength, and aesthetic requirements. For example, some metals offer a sleek and clean appearance, such as the shine you can expect from polished stainless steel. More and more architects are choosing to use metal over other materials for new buildings because of this and the low maintenance it will require.
The four most common metals used in construction are steel, aluminium, iron and copper. Each is used for its individual properties and the benefits that can be applied when constructing a building.
Steel Uses in the Construction Trade
Possibly the most widespread metal used within the industry, steel has many desirable attributes to assist with construction. One feature of steel is its availability; due to being 100% recyclable, the metal can be reused in endless amounts without losing any properties, making it one of the most sustainable metals in the industry.
As a plant that offers ferrous metal recycling, we understand how vital this metal is within construction, and thanks to our processes, we can recycle up to 2000 tonnes of ferrous metal per week. This helps prevent mining for raw materials and offers a beneficial alternative to support a more sustainable future.
Although the environmental benefits of steel offer the ideal assistance to the construction trade, the material also provides the dexterity required for several applications;
- Beams for structural frameworks in buildings
- Plates for highway construction
- Sheeting for commercial building walls
- Sheeting for roofs
- Structural steelwork for building bridges
These are just some of the more prominent applications of steel, but they are also used in minor construction elements, such as within the tools and mechanical equipment required for construction.
Aluminium Uses in Construction
Aluminium is very lightweight, but also exceptionally durable, which are ideal properties for a building material that requires fast completion. It also has excellent corrosion resistance compared to alternative materials, making it very low maintenance and providing a longer lifespan. As a result, metal buildings, such as modern hospitals, high rises, offices and warehouses, are rarely built without aluminium.
At Morecambe Metals, we specialise in non-ferrous metal recycling, with aluminium being one of the metals we can reprocess. Like steel, this metal also retains its quality after recycling, which makes it a very environmentally friendly material preventing harm to the earth.
Aluminium is used for many applications within construction. Unlike steel, however, its outstanding resistance to corrosion makes it perfect for outdoor applications which must withstand rain and humid climates such as;
- Windows and door frames
- Rolling shutters
- Offshore superstructures
- Swimming pool facilities
- Metal roofing sheets
- External wall cladding on buildings
- Solar panels
- Safety bridges and stairways
The Use of Iron in Construction
Another metal used throughout construction due to its ready accessibility is iron. This material was first used as a decorative metal instead of creating structures, but iron now has many applications as the construction industry evolved. On its own, this metal is very soft, making it easy to manipulate and shape. However, when combined with other elements such as steel, it can offer a robust alloy, providing many uses throughout construction.
Previously, iron was also most commonly used for weapons such as swords, but in recent times, it has been used to create a number of tools and fixtures used in construction. It is also an excellent conductor, which helps construct pylons and electrical towers. Iron has also been a popular metal to use to build bridges. It offers a great material if maintained well, but steel has become a more common material due to iron corrosion issues.
The most common uses for this metal are as follows;
- Creating alloys to produce stronger metals
- Producing rods to improve the strength of concrete structures
- Production of screws, nails and hinges for fixtures
- Manufacture of tools such as cutting tools, hammers and knives
Uses of Copper in Construction
Copper is a metal highly resistant to corrosion and has been used for centuries for construction. Alone, its strength is incomparable as even in colder climates, the material doesn’t crack, making it ideal for buildings in colder climates. Even mixed as an alloy, this metal can withstand much pressure and even after years of being underground, items made of copper alloys, such as bronze, have been found in near-perfect condition.
Many structures are made from copper, which has stood the test of time against elements. However, due to layers of sulphate which develop, this metal may often appear a shade of green, such as the statue of liberty in New York.
With the ability to withstand the elements, the ability to resist bacteria growth and the conductivity, copper has many excellent uses within construction, such as;
- Plumbing systems
- Gutter systems
- Exterior cladding
- Exterior decorative features
- Heating systems
With our scrap metal recycling processes, we can recycle large amounts of copper for the production of new material and assist in a more sustainable future of construction.
Recycling Metal for Construction Industries
Recycling metal within the construction industry is more vital than any other. With new plans being approved each year, the supply of new materials needs to be consistent, and with mining damaging the environment, the supply of metal requires a more sustainable approach.
At Morecambe Metals, we offer a range of scrap metal services for the construction trade, ensuring a more energy-efficient process of producing new materials to put back to use in the construction trade. We can even assist with the industrial dismantling of premises. For any enquiries about our services for the construction trade, you can enquire online, and one of our team will get back to you.