Adding longevity to the sustainability debate


It is a fundamental of good design that buildings and structures should be safe and that measures to enhance their  environmental performance should not compromise this essential requirement. Steve Thompson, Managing Director for specialist steel framing manufacturer EOS, adds longevity and building performance to the safety versus sustainability debate.

Buildings should not only be inherently safe but should also be constructed to last a long time and therefore be inherently sustainable. Buildings are responsible for almost half of the UK’s carbon emissions and around a third of its landfill waste. This means that the UK’s sustainable development targets cannot be met without a major change to the way in which buildings are designed, constructed, and operated. National targets for carbon emission reductions and the drive for buildings that are ‘low carbon’ in operation present a huge challenge to the construction industry – a challenge which the steel construction sector is playing a major part in overcoming.

Steel can be recycled or reused endlessly without detriment to its properties. This unique characteristic gives steel a high value at all stages of its life cycle. The recovery infrastructure for steel recycling is highly developed and extremely efficient and has been in place for decades. Current recovery rates from demolition sites in the UK are 99% for structural steelwork and 96% for all steel construction products – figures that far exceed those for any other construction material.

Steel’s superior strength-to-weight ratio means a little steel goes a long way, giving architects complete flexibility to innovate and create new and exciting buildings. Low and zero carbon buildings as well as buildings with high BREEAM ratings are readily achievable using steel construction.

When the cost of operating a building for 30 years can be four times greater than that of designing and constructing it, it is no surprise that those who own and maintain buildings are keen to find in-use savings. Now we have more sophisticated research available, the equation of ‘build them high build them cheap’ – simply does not stack up from an owner operator’s perspective. And this is why steel framing systems are favoured by the build-to-rent, education, healthcare and other public sector bodies.

Safety, quality, and sustainability are at the very core of our organisation. We have the capability to meet the exacting demands of the construction industry and have invested in developing a range of tested and warrantied systems that are manufactured to stand the test of time and offer the highest safety and energy performance throughout the long lifecycle of the building.

To find out more go to or email our team at eosenquiries(Replace this parenthesis with the @ sign)