24 March 2021

What are the benefits of a steel profile composite floor deck versus a precast concrete floor?

Compared to a precast concrete floor, a composite floor deck constructed using a steel profile offers advantages in terms of speed and safety of construction, and adaptability. It is also lighter, which makes for a more efficient use of materials and therefore contributes to more sustainable construction.

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Transportation is also a factor to consider. From a sustainability point of view, the number of road miles can be reduced if steel profiles can be stacked in one another to fit more on a lorry. This has a positive knock-on effect in terms of reducing the number of deliveries and the number of vehicles therefore having to access the site.

Speed and safety benefits of a steel profile floor deck

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Thanks to being lighter and easier to handle, a steel profile does not need a crane to lift and move it into position. As a result, it’s faster to install than a precast concrete unit, and can be used as a working platform immediately.

Something else to look out for in steel profiles is a cover width that offers further handling benefits. Typical 900 or 1000mm wide profiles can be relatively cumbersome to manoeuvre, but profiles manufactured at 600mm wide promote better and safer handling.

Steel profiles are also adaptable, compared to precast concrete units, meaning they can accommodate changes on site. For example, if a column position changes then the metal deck can be cut to adapt to the change, saving time and effort.

How do steel and concrete floor decks perform in terms of fire and acoustics?

To form a composite floor deck, concrete cover is poured over the installed steel profiles. The depth of concrete cover varies depending on the depth of the profile itself, and the specific project requirements. Generally speaking, 60mm of cover is sufficient, with up to 70mm being required for deep deck profiles.

The composite arrangement is capable of providing all of the required acoustic and fire performance that precast concrete decks are noted for. A 60mm depth of concrete cover is also capable of acting as a thermal store, providing sufficient thermal mass to meet most project requirements.

Overall, composite decks are about optimisation. They meet all the necessary structural strength and building performance needs, while being efficient in the amount of material used.

Steel profiles are easier and more efficient to transport, they are easier to handle and install, and can be adapted on site should changes need to be made. The relatively thin layer of concrete, meanwhile, can be sourced locally, further reducing the overall number of road miles associated with the composite deck’s construction.

Tata Steel’s ComFlor® range of steel decks features seven unique profiles - including low profiles and deep decks - all designed to be used as part of composite floor decks in specific applications. Not only does the range include 600mm wide profile options and a patented optimised trough profile but uses entirely UK-produced steel.

Find out more about Tata Steel’s seven unique ComFlor® composite deck profiles, including low profile and deep deck options designed for specific applications.

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