Building with steel versus concrete

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Building with steel versus concrete

Postby zebrafilm » Sun Feb 02, 2014 2:33 pm

As you can read in our little intro viewtopic.php?f=4&t=4353 we are planning to build with steel and glass.
Since almost everybody seems to build with concrete in Thailand I was wondering if people here have experience with that kind of building style and how the cost relate to concrete building.
Of course we will setup the same concrete foundation , keep it a single floor and a flat, slightly angled roof. One side of the house could be completely glass with some sliding doors.
Inside and outside will be connected. Not too worried about the sun, because we only get the morning sun and the house will be in a corner of two steep hills and lots of jungle covering our land. In the wintertime it is almost all the time in the shade so I will also have to look for humidity issues .

Our reference again:
mood1.png


Would love to hear experiences about this way of building and if anyone can do a rough prices comparison with the concrete/aluminium facades here.
Of course also interested in architects, construction companies and raw material places in and around Chiangmai with experience with this kind of style/material.
The example is the holiday house of Prabhakorn Vadanyakul connected to Architects 49 so also curious if anyone worked with them and what the experiences are.

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Re: Building with steel versus concrete

Postby sirineou » Sun Feb 02, 2014 10:27 pm

looking forward to reading about your build
Always willing to learn new things,
We are planing to build soon, just as soon as I get enough time from work
I am teetering between two designs, a two Floor design that I love, and a one floor design that would be much easier to build, especially given my time constrains
The engineering for a two floor steel structure would be difficult and not cost effective in my opinion. But I don't see why it would not work on a single floor structure, All you would need to do is pour the slab and then weld a frame with the appropriate strength steel.
It should apply it's self with much more creativity in the design, and construction speed, the only problem would be finding material and qualified workmen
Good luck
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Re: Building with steel versus concrete

Postby Mike Judd » Mon Feb 03, 2014 7:52 am

There would be a lot less labour I would think with a steel frame /glass house. But you would want to get the correct design that had all the steel componates worked out as efficiently as possible so as not to use heavier steel than needed, Engineers can cover their "Arse" at times with the tendency to up the sizes if they are not paying for it, understandable when there is a risk of future lidergation through failure for what ever reason. Once the slab is down with all the necessary holding down bolts , it would should be a quick installation of the frame with a small crew .(I erected my 10mt high steel frame factory with 2 helpers ,no crane just chain blocks) so it shouldn't be a problem for the right Thai's. I've seen them raise a whole house with chain blocks and tripods under, where as we would use hydraulic jacks, much easier.
That apart, I don't know how it would work out cost wise with the fairly heavy steel columns required unless you resort to plenty of bracing panels in all directions. You could go for concrete columns and still have your window walls where ever you want them.
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Re: Building with steel versus concrete

Postby zebrafilm » Mon Feb 03, 2014 2:44 pm

I am not too worried about the calculations, my (Thai) brother in law is a certified structural engineer doing nothing else than certifying big buildings on construction strength. I am sure he is willing to take a look.

If it is relative simple to do I wonder what the downside is. I assume we will need to coat the metal very well in a humid environment. I guess lots of glass is more expensive than bricks per m2. It might also be isolating sound and heat a lot less, but that is no issue. It is extremely quiet there.

But I will need to find a company capable of doing a good job with sliding doors and window frames. Steel is more sensitive to temperature changes so that has to be taken in account.
doors.png


The TH frames/doors I have seen made from aluminium or PVC where extremely light and fragile. You need additional protection or you can more or less push them out.
Indeed if the costs are too high for a steel frame we might have to drop back to parts in concrete and only make the main facade with steel window frames.
Thats why I would love to hear from others about their building costs for houses like this. I assume that the more industrial builds are done with a lot of the same size materials, not involving too many complicated forms? As far as I calculated now we will need about 250m2 glass on one side....

I have seen a lot of buildings 'bolted' instead of welded together, also to make it easier to let the material expand I assume.
Part of the building we live in now (old blacksmith) has been made from steel H-bars welded in arches. But they put wood and bricks in between them. Even though the metal is on the outside I see hardly any corrosion going on after 55 years now. (and we won't live that long anymore). I do have condensation issues on them and had to isolate them on the inside..
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Re: Building with steel versus concrete

Postby Mike Judd » Mon Feb 03, 2014 3:24 pm

The downside (depending on your pockets) would be I think the cost of the steel frame filled with a heavy grade aluminium and glass walls such as used in Motel/Hotel construction. That's where you will find the suppliers and installers with the experience you are looking for.
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Re: Building with steel versus concrete

Postby geordie » Thu Feb 06, 2014 12:10 am

Powder coating is available here which will last a lot longer than paint the bi fold doors are also available I looked at them in a company in BKK (Google) UPVC windows doors
You will get a shock at the prices quoted for anything !non standard!
iI would take a look at how you can protect your steelwork on the inside box beams/tubes they tend to be maintained well for asthetic reasons on the outside but condensation will eat them from the inside outwards I beams and angles survive a lot longer because of air circulation
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Re: Building with steel versus concrete

Postby zebrafilm » Thu Feb 06, 2014 2:55 am

There is a bi-fold door company in Chiangmai too: http://www.majestec.co.th/
But we are getting too much into details. My basic question is how much the price difference is between the basic concrete construction and steel/glass building.
Hard to say without design but if someone here did a similar build I could get a ballpark figure I hope.
For standard building I heard 12000-15000 Bht per m2.
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Re: Building with steel versus concrete

Postby Mike Judd » Thu Feb 06, 2014 7:47 am

Costs of building in Thailand can vary so much, if you allowed Brt12000-15000 per metre I would think that is way over the top. A good guide would be what most developers are charging for a 2 storey house at their new housing estates which most cities have now. Then there are the various ways our Members have built their houses, some with only a little input on their part, relieing on a local builder, others like myself with more personal experience in actual building ,just subbying it out to the various trades. I was lucky in the fact that I was not in a hurry and relied on my partners 2 brothers to do most of the work in their own time or on site with any Subbies working. All the critical phases were done while I was on site once or twice a year for a month at a time. The only drawback to the slow build was the escalating prices of materials and labour as everyone would be aware of. The bottom line is that so far the house is to lockup stage with only the P.C. items (Kitchen/Bathroom ) to put in ,all the tiling /electrical is finished, with B 800,000 spent so far and a 160 sqmt inside floor area, that's B5,000 per sqmt. less P.C.'s of course and any outside Patios etc; I could have saved on the roof structure and Tiles but that was my choice.
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Re: Building with steel versus concrete

Postby geordie » Thu Feb 06, 2014 4:00 pm

Zebrafilm check out with the door company on prices I was quoted 5000 bht a sq meter + for sliding doors several times the price of blockwork for the cost of 2 bi folds 5 mts x 2,5 (frame above) I was quoted !!off the top of his head!! around 1million baht but free fitting :(
It could work out cheaper to import the frames and glass
If you are going for frameless :ie fitting the glass straight to the steel frame you will be forced to use heavier glass and the fitting system will have to allow for expansion
On the steel frame cost wise replacing colums with I beams or box metal should theoretically be feasible otherwise they would not be using that method for steel framing factories but also on the Moo Baan I live quite a few rear extentions to the houses are going down the road of a simple box metal frame 4x4 inches supporting the roof with infill of blockwork its seen as a cheaper quicker option
I think the biggest cost uplift is going to be on the glazing and could get seriously stupid with aditionals like maybe adding laminated glass or safety glass expensive elsewhere but astronomical here
Get the brother in law to calculate the roof supports and the glasing company should be able to give you a sq meter price sounds like an interesting project though internally you could go for gyprock and steel frames for your walls keeping the whole thing light and simple but also hiding support colums
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Re: Building with steel versus concrete

Postby zebrafilm » Thu Feb 06, 2014 4:59 pm

Thanks for the thoughts guys. As we dream it now, the building will be an U-shape, where the main part will be 30mtr and the 'legs' around 10mtr.
We are thinking 6 or 7 meters wide. That means 350m2 floor space for the main building. IF we want to do the front in glass, it will be around 150m2.
Just looking at double HR glass here in Europe thats about 40m2 for 4/5. Thats not a big deal but indeed framing and may be shielded glass might be.
Not sure about glass prices in CM but indeed never saw anyone using thicker or double glass. Probably more industrial. Seems I will have to look in that area.
Indeed I am thinking of making the other wall brick or gyprock. We don't need lots of glass there and we should still be able to keep the open feel.

Good to see the B 5000m2 , the above figures came from 2 different architects....
Indeed I plan to do a lot myself or under my supervision. My family in law also just made a big house in CM and they have some good contacts too. They ended up around 4 million. one story and something like 300m2 floor.
Any money I spent on the house will go off the retirement money, not sure how long I will live but would be nice to have a bit of room there :-)

Looking at the roof of the example in my first post, I don't see much of roof isolation or ways to let the warm air out. Think I will isolate a bit more and create some airflow just under it. Sloping the roof a bit and create vents in the top windows.
What about the roofing material, guess I could use a metal one too there but what about noise or rain, heat building up etc? Any experiences, suggestions there?
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Re: Building with steel versus concrete

Postby Mike Judd » Fri Feb 07, 2014 6:56 am

Use Colourbond with battens about 1mt centres, then rolls of foil covered insulation on top, the Colourbond presses down on the insulation which deadens any rain noise. That is the normal procedure here in Oz and I used that method on my renovation which had the high ceiling directly under the 150m.m. joists, so no roof space , relying on high open windows to create air flow from lower levels. That type of roof lends itself to designs with lots of glass walls etc; although one would want to be careful not to have too much direct sun on those walls. That's where correct orientation of the house is so important, although the main outlook has to be considered of course. We make use of "Whirly Birds" here quite a lot for expelling hot air, or the more expensive Skylights for the all in one roof /ceilings, they come in all sizes to fit between joists, water proof vented or opening manually or powered, they have fitted screens /sun blinds ,what ever. www.velux.com.au for info.
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Re: Building with steel versus concrete

Postby schuimpge » Fri Feb 07, 2014 8:42 am

Mike Judd wrote:Use Colourbond with battens about 1mt centres, then rolls of foil covered insulation on top, the Colourbond presses down on the insulation which deadens any rain noise. That is the normal procedure here in Oz and I used that method on my renovation which had the high ceiling directly under the 150m.m. joists, so no roof space , relying on high open windows to create air flow from lower levels. That type of roof lends itself to designs with lots of glass walls etc; although one would want to be careful not to have too much direct sun on those walls. That's where correct orientation of the house is so important, although the main outlook has to be considered of course. We make use of "Whirly Birds" here quite a lot for expelling hot air, or the more expensive Skylights for the all in one roof /ceilings, they come in all sizes to fit between joists, water proof vented or opening manually or powered, they have fitted screens /sun blinds ,what ever. http://www.velux.com.au for info.


Have a look at Fred's build... Colorbond with PU-Foam sprayed under it.
Makes your roof guaranteed free of trouble, water and moist proof. Solves your rust/corrosion problem for that part of the build.
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Re: Building with steel versus concrete

Postby geordie » Fri Feb 07, 2014 12:10 pm

schuimpge wrote:
Mike Judd wrote:Use Colourbond with battens about 1mt centres, then rolls of foil covered insulation on top, the Colourbond presses down on the insulation which deadens any rain noise. That is the normal procedure here in Oz and I used that method on my renovation which had the high ceiling directly under the 150m.m. joists, so no roof space , relying on high open windows to create air flow from lower levels. That type of roof lends itself to designs with lots of glass walls etc; although one would want to be careful not to have too much direct sun on those walls. That's where correct orientation of the house is so important, although the main outlook has to be considered of course. We make use of "Whirly Birds" here quite a lot for expelling hot air, or the more expensive Skylights for the all in one roof /ceilings, they come in all sizes to fit between joists, water proof vented or opening manually or powered, they have fitted screens /sun blinds ,what ever. http://www.velux.com.au for info.


Have a look at Fred's build... Colorbond with PU-Foam sprayed under it.
Makes your roof guaranteed free of trouble, water and moist proof. Solves your rust/corrosion problem for that part of the build.


It would appear I have unwittingly copied Mikes Aussie technique with a slight difference and at the request of the client other than he (client has a high ceiling void
I personally hate laying insulation directly on the ceiling (trapping heat in ) but he asked could I install fiberglass wool as mike quoted we had a beam spacing of 1 meter laterally the metal roof not colourbond had a 5 mm layer of foam glued to it we added chicken wire between the roof joists and lay the fiberglass on the chicken wire
I am now a convert to metal roofs the void is well vented but the double insulation stops all the noise from rain and definitely stops heat penetration
I have to admit though if you are upstairs with a window or door open you can then hear the rain on the roof but not loud enough to become intolerable
Pu foam woul likely have been the first choice but finding a supplier proved difficult so chose factory insulation and added to it
the one meter spacing meant we were able to walk easily on the roof by placing your feet in the flat valley of the sheets also and taking larger than usual steps so maintainance or inspections are simple

Zebrafilm have you considered contactin a glass manufacturer/supplier in your home country for an export order you should get quite a favourable discount and duty will be clamed back after export just check with Thai customs the duty applicable on !!building material!! the client is looking at bringing his oversize doors x6 from Japan or UK I will post the results later but do not hold your breath the site is yet again closed as his business is being murdered by the BKK protestors he cannot access the government officces he needs to register vehichles
Last edited by geordie on Fri Feb 07, 2014 12:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Building with steel versus concrete

Postby MGV12 » Fri Feb 07, 2014 12:16 pm

geordie wrote:
It would appear I have unwittingly copied Mikes Aussie technique with a slight difference and at the request of the client other than he (client has a high ceiling void
I personally hate laying insulation directly on the ceiling (trapping heat in ) but he asked could I install fiberglass wool as mike quoted we had a beam spacing of 1 meter laterally the metal roof not colourbond had a 5 mm layer of foam glued to it we added chicken wire between the roof joists and lay the fiberglass on the chicken wire
I am now a convert to metal roofs the void is well vented but the double insulation stops all the noise from rain and definitely stops heat penetration
I have to admit though if you are upstairs with a window or door open you can then hear the rain on the roof but not loud enough to become intolerable
Pu foam woul likely have been the first choice but finding a supplier proved difficult so chose factory insulation and added to it
the one meter spacing meant we were able to walk easily on the roof by placing your feet in the flat valley of the sheets also and taking larger than usual steps so maintainance or inspections are simple


I understand what he is saying Fred [I had a refresher course in Geordie 'English' just the other day at a party] do you?

"client has a high ceiling void" .... ??? ... is that a euphemism?

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Re: Building with steel versus concrete

Postby geordie » Fri Feb 07, 2014 6:14 pm

Mgv12 maybe you shoul translate for me
He( the clent has a high ceiling void ### was to differentiate from Mike who has not , only i forgot ))) One of those
I actually added sme breathing spaces for a change so do not see the problem and my hated laptop with windows 8 has spellchech so the spelling has improved although it does miss some errors.
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