Originally posted by Jeffery Steele at Forbes.com

Did you catch the news over the weekend? Hurricanes Marco and Laura were poised to unleash a twin bill of destruction across Louisiana. In California, lighting and wind storms threatened to intensify hundreds of already-raging wildfires. Iowans continued tallying damages from this month’s derecho, which left many buildings in tatters. And in North Carolina, news arrived that early August’s earthquake was the state’s worst in 96 years.

Now another question.

Are you surprised by the growing interest in steel construction?

Once, when folks thought of steel buildings, many conjured images of cheap, hastily-built and uninviting structures existing solely to save on construction budgets. But if you equate steel with the squat, World War II-era Quonset Hut, it’s time to catch up on today’s durable, economical and, yes, beautiful commercial and residential steel buildings. In fact, steel delivers many qualities that fit perfectly with modern construction priorities, from storm resistance to energy efficiency, design aesthetics and fast construction.

A custom, steel-fabricated FEMA Flood Zone and hurricane-resistant main home, guest house and garage on the waterfront near Kiawah Island in Charleston County, S.C. showcase the possibilities of steel construction. – TRIPP SMITH

The Washington, D.C.-based Steel Framing Alliance, whose purview covers commercial and residential building, enumerates the benefits of steel framing. Steel stands as the most cost-effective mid-rise building material. Its building schedule affords greater predictability and is shorter as well. Steel doesn’t burn nor contribute to the spread of fire, a welcome attribute in an era of increasingly prevalent Western wildfires. Because it is inorganic, it will not rot, warp or split or crack. And because it is produced in accordance with national standards, steel offers consistent quality that isn’t subject to regional variations.