A structural engineer is poised to be the first to use steel fibers as structural reinforcing in the lateral-force-resisting system of a concrete-framed high-rise in a seismic zone. The application, designed to reduce reinforcing-steel congestion in shear-wall link beams and, perhaps, in shear walls themselves, is based on recent successful performance tests of SFRC link beams at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Photo: Bekaert Corp. Specimen Steel-fiber reinforcing can eliminate 40% of rebar in link beams in seismic frames. Image: Cary Kopczynski & Co. It also allows diagonal rebar to be smaller and more bendable, so it can exit
The market is generally healthy and steadily growing, and margins are up for large specialty contractors. Further, advances in design tools and owner demand for collaboration are giving subcontractors a seat at the table early on in projects.