Steel lowers the cost of building an apartment

If you asked people to choose their ideal home, you would find that many dream of owning an apartment. However, not everyone realizes this dream.

The main obstacle to building an apartment is the cost, which few people can afford.

However, with the innovations in the field of construction, one can now build an apartment with ease, in the shortest possible time and with an affordable budget.

One such invention is steel and wood technology. You can save up to 40% of the total project cost.

Yusuf Kazibwe, an engineer at Nana Corp Ltd in Kampala, says the technology reduces the number of building materials and other construction costs.

It works for both residential and commercial projects such as apartments and office buildings.

“With the cost of building materials skyrocketing, steel and wood are the choice for commercial and residential structures,” he says. This technology helps customers to complete their projects with reasonable resources compared to the conventional construction method.

You can add as many stories as you want


When constructing a column (three meters) of steel requires steel (hollow section) which costs 125,000 shillings.

With the conventional method, it takes three iron bars worth 152,000sh, four wood worth 34,000sh and two rings which cost 36,000sh, cement for 58,000sh, nails from worth 5,000sh and sand for 12,000sh.

You also need an aggregate for 18,000sh, a binding wire for 15,000sh and labor worth 30,000sh. The total total of the column is 360,000 sh.

Slab per square meter

With steel technology, it takes lumber, nails, BRC, I-beams, cement, and aggregate, along with sand, metal lath, and labor in the amount of 325,000 sh.

In the conventional method, you need timber, iron bars, max span, formwork, BRC, aggregate, sand and cement. You also need polythene paper, nails, sticks of gum, rings and wire for binding and assembly work at 550,000sh.

Finished structure


With steel technology, thinner walls are built and each takes 32 bricks per square meter (sh11,200). Each brick is estimated at sh350. With the conventional method, thick walls are built with 52 bricks per square meter at 18,200 sh.


When it comes to steel technology, formwork is not required. But with the conventional method, this is done with a lot of wood and labor.

How steel helps save

When using steel, material wastage is minimal because each steel used is measured and cut with precision. Kazibwe adds that steel helps build larger spans.

You don’t need to use a lot of iron bars and concrete to support slabs with larger spans. A piece of an I-beam measures 12 meters.

Some materials are not needed, for example iron bars, maximum spans, binding wires and many bags of cement, among others. When raising the columns, a steel column is simply placed and welded to the I-beam.

This makes it easy and cheaper compared to the conventional method where a lot of materials are used to build an apartment.

These included; iron bars, 12×1 lumber, binding wire, rings, cement, aggregate, column formwork and labor. When using steel columns, these are eliminated.

It also takes a few bricks compared to those required with the conventional way of building apartments where the lintel layout is used.

Here the brick arrangement called stretcher takes few bricks to erect the walls. With the stretcher, the long narrow side appears on the face of the wall. This makes the building lighter as it depends on steel columns.

Kazibwe explains that typically when building a wall with the header arrangement, each square meter takes up to 52 bricks versus a stretcher which only takes 32 bricks.