Fluctuations in the price of steel have been a persistent concern in architecture ever since steel became a key construction material in the 19th century. The Financial Times released a forecast on the 23rd January 2011 that the price of steel was set to rise 66% with a peak in the second quarter of 2012, predicted to be the largest peek since records began. In October of 2011, Peter Marsh, the same analyst from the January report, wrote that as a result of the eurozone crises, reduction in China’s growth and a general nervousness about the global market, the price of steel is set to decline by 8%. The latest financial times report by Jack Farchry focused on the difference of steel prices in the US and Europe and it emphasised its unpredictability and the large impact steel can have in industry in both economies.
These set of reports prove that the variance in the price of steel is common and over a 12 month period its price can vary by up to $128 per tonne. The majority of modern buildings use large amounts of steel in their construction through steel frames, reinforcement in concrete and composite flooring systems. The period of a construction project is not likely to be much shorter than 12 months, during which the unpredictable price of steel can cause large variations in overall cost of the project. The reduction of steel in a building can be accomplished by using spun concrete columns, fibre reinforced concrete, the use of pre stressed concrete and ultra high performance concrete (UHPC). All of which will be integrated into the design proposal for the applied design and research in the designed environment project which a large emphasis placed on spun concrete.