How do I select construction materials for my new sustainable home? Steel!

Columns already located according to plan, view from north east

Hello followers! Here we are at another work week. This time I am going to tell you how to save time and money when you’re building a house. Time is money some might say…

As a first subject I am going to tell you why I picked steel as a structural material, as we start to rise our columns. It’s easy: sustainability, design flexibility, labour savings, better construction quality, speed and minimal disruption.
All columns and beams that you see on the picture above, has been mounted in only 4 days manually. Steel buildings can be erected in much shorter time as compared to concrete buildings. Time saving in the construction period can be up to 40%. This is our first reason that turns steel usage into a money saver.
We bought quality 4 x 4’s and 6 x 4’s as columns, 6 x 4’s as beams, 4 x 2’s as joists and we used some of these as scaffolds , just welded to the main columns. ( No need to rent them! and of course they will be re-used as diagonals later). This is our second reason to use steel as a money saver.

Columns will have a concrete covering up to the soil level

Our 4 x 4 column in this case is going deep into the foundation, welded to the metal plate located above the foundations, and from there it elevates up to 7 meters. We will pour concrete around it so the earth never touches our steel , in order to avoid any kind of corrosion. Why is this sustainable? Well we are avoiding using wood to form concrete beams, columns or walls. We are using steel instead, a 100% recyclable material, that generates very little waste and has excellent low waste credentials during all phases of the building life cycle. Steel offers a clean efficient and rapid construction method that reduces the impact of building activities on the environment.Less noise, less dust and shortens construction periods.Do you know that U.S is buying many of our costa rican scrap iron to recycle it and turn it into steel sections?

Column joint to foundation plate over armors 

Steel sections and joists are all manufactured according to international standards of strength and consistency under closely controlled factory conditions, resulting in uniform quality. No re-working is necessary at site. Why is it cheaper to build this way? No change orders in site, and besides, the lighter self-weight of steel means that for a similar size building, the foundation can be reduced by as much as 30%, resulting in savings in the cost of foundations. Third money saver!

South facade

We had few site work, because of buildability of steel. As you can see in the picture, our site is pretty much clean too. Lightweight steel framing systems are generally simpler to erect than conventional systems. Once the workers are experienced with steel, just like ours,labour time and costs will be reduced considerably. High quality welders in this case, are needed.

I put pictures of the future house, so men at work are familiar with the design.

I pasted to the wall of our facades and 3d models, so that our workers are familiar to the project. If any doubt arises, they can be able to check the images on their own and figure it out on their own too. I am responsible to provide all the information that I can, not even to our contractor, but for our men working at the site, which in the end, are the people in charge of the quality of my product.

3 lines of decorating block and ongoing. 

The bathrooms module, is the only place where I am using concrete like products: decorating block. We wanted to have a different language at 2 of the facades, so we picked a product that is prefab, modular and accesible in terms of budget and places to buy it. This block is locally fabricated, and you will find it all over the country. We are filling it all with concrete mix so it doesn’t show any beams or columns. All that we will perceive, is the texture. Takes a little longer to build this wall, but is a small room.
Hope you enjoyed this article!


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