STEEL increased its dominance as a framing material for multistorey office blocks last year, according to a survey by research specialist Construction Markets.
The survey revealed that steel tightened its grip on the high-rise market in 1999 - it was used in 71.4 per cent of all multistorey office buildings. And for all typesof multi-storey buildings steel's share topped 68 per cent.
The rest of the market was shared between other structural framing materials, including in-situ cast concrete, pre-cast concrete, load bearing masonry and timber. In-situ concrete - steel's closest rival - saw its market share drop to less than 20 per cent compared with nearly 50 per cent back in 1980.
However, Jurek Tolloczko, chief executive of the Concrete Society, disputed steel's dominance.
He said: 'I have spoken to our members about this and fully expected them to say that steel is taking over but to my surprise that is not the message coming back.
'Some big clients are now specifying concrete frames for environmental reasons to do with thermal mass. So the case will never be proven one way or the other but it is to the advantage of all that the choice between concrete and steel exists.'
Steel's gain in market share comes at a good time for fabricators and erectors. The multi-storey building market is buoyant with 4.6 per cent growth last year.