Phaze Concrete Explains Why Developers Prefer Concrete Over Steel

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According to Phaze Concrete,  tall residential buildings are being made with concrete for a variety of benefits. 


Concrete and steel are two of the most popular choices when designing a building’s major structural system. Developers must work with architects, structural engineers, and contractors throughout the decision-making process to weigh the pros and cons of each material. However, according to Phaze Concrete, the leading industry experts on concrete construction, the choice for concrete is overwhelmingly clear. Especially for large, multifamily residential buildings that are both mid-rise and high-rise. 


Concrete structures offer a variety of benefits, including lower floor-to-floor height, reduce noise, design variability, and construction economy. As with all methods, there are some challenges that designers must face. However, according to Phaze Concrete, there are promising developments for concrete construction on the horizon. 


The most common structural system used today in large residential projects is cast-in-place, post-tensioned, flat slab concrete. Phaze Concrete especially recommends it for creating versatility to cantilever balconies and penetrating floors. Additionally, this structural system can articulate the building perimeter and raise and lower slabs. Concrete materials are easily accessible and readily available in most local markets, which is perfect for any last-minute design changes. Contractors also benefit from the minimal lead time when managing construction schedules. 


Phaze Concrete notes that the secret to cost-effective multifamily construction is the use of post-tensioning. It allows each concrete slab to be thinner while lengthening spans and controlling deflection. In other words, builders can work with thinner floors, which makes the building lighter overall. Other structural elements don’t need to be as strong because there is less weight to hold up across the levels. Columns and foundations can be much smaller since the load is lighter, and seismic forces are reduced.  


Smaller and fewer beams translate to more versatility with interior design space. It allows for more open concept areas without obstruction throughout. Flat slabs enable the developer to use the slab soffit as the ceiling for most of the units. Phaze Concrete experts note that compared to other systems, concrete construction allows additional floors to be added within a height limit since each level has a reduced floor-to-floor height. 


As if the structural and architectural advantages weren’t enough, concrete structures are also better for electrical conduit and mechanical ventilation systems. With careful coordination, Phaze Concrete can provide a convenient location for these systems. Field problems can occur from heavy congestion if the structure is not built correctly. However, with skilled professionals like those working at Phaze Concrete, problems will be reduced to a minimum or eliminated altogether. 


In large multifamily structures, seismic systems usually come in two popular forms. The most common form wraps the core with concrete shearwalls. The second popular option uses ductile frames alone or in combination with shearwalls. Phaze Concrete experts explain that when a discontinuous core is present, or there is a need for additional structural capacity, ductile frames are used. Sometimes, it’s in the best interest to have ductile frames exposed, whether it be for financial or aesthetic reasons.