Output for the steel construction industry in 2011 is forecast to grow to 0.94 million tonnes, up from a figure of 0.88 million tonnes in 2010, according to the British Constructional Steelwork Association.
It is also an increase on the 2009 figure of 0.92 million tonnes.
“The past year has been the most difficult one for the steel construction industry for the past 20 years,” said Jack Sanderson, president of the BCSA.
“Steel construction companies have taken the painful steps to adjust to the reduced workload levels, whilst preserving their essential capabilities for the upturn.
“Steel’s market share is holding up and the underlying long term demand for steel construction remains sound. Members are well placed to respond quickly to the recovery which is expected to start next year, although the pace of recovery is likely to be modest.”
The brunt of the fall in the steel construction sector has been felt by the private sector, but public sector projects such as schools, hospitals and infrastructure have held up.
However, the BCSA says that steel is emerging from the recession “as the framing material of choice for the multi-storey buildings market”.
A 2009 Market Share Survey, conducted by independent researcher Construction Markets showed, that in the non-residential multi-storey sector structural steel frames held a market share of 69%, the association said.
Sanderson said steel prices placed “significant challenges” on members when tendering for fixed price contracts.
“Steelmakers are in a difficult position with the volatile ore and coke prices and the change from annual to quarterly price agreements, driven by the mining companies,” he said.
“The BCSA has endeavoured to give its members maximum notice of price increases and has also put pressure on steelmakers to keep the increases to a minimum, combined with the longest possible period between increases.”
The BCSA has signed a Steel Construction Market Development Agreement with Corus, which commits both to the long-term funding of research and market development, under the direction of a new Joint Market Development Board. As part of the agreement, approximately 10 Corus staff will join BCSA on long-term secondment.