Structural Steel Fabrication: The Best Sustainable Building Solution

What is Structural Steel Fabrication?


Structural steel fabrication is the process of bending, cutting, and modelling steel to create a structure, product, or component that will be used for assembly into buildings, industrial equipment, tools, and other final products.

The following are types of steel fabrication:

Types Details
Cutting Shearing, cutter torches, or water jet cutting is used to separate a piece of metal into several desired pieces.
Bending A massive force is applied to a piece of steel by hammering or with press machines to change its shape.
Welding The fusion process is used to combine pieces of steel.
Machining Tools such as drills and lathes are used to shape metal parts to form a specific shape.
Forming Methods such as bending, rolling, or stamping are used to shape the steel.
Assembling Methods such as bolting, riveting, or adhesive bonding are used to join fabricated components.
Surface treatment Processes like sandblasting, painting, or galvanising are used to enhance the durability and appearance of the components.


Structural steel is the type of steel used to make the products. The various shapes of the materials are often designed in the form of an elongated beam with specific cross-sectional profiles.

The structural steel types include carbon steels, forged steels, high strength low alloy steels, and quenched and tempered alloy steels. Common structural shapes include the I-beam, HSS-shape. bar, rod, and more.

What is the Process of Structural Steel Fabrication?


Here is a general overview of the steel fabrication process:

  1. Firstly, the design and specifications of the project are prepared. 
  2. The materials are acquired and delivered to the fabrication site.
  3. The steel is cut to the desired length and drilled to create (any) necessary holes.
  4. The steel is then shaped through bending and welding via processes such as section bending, roll bending, plate bending and tube bending.
  5. Later on, a Quality Check (QC) is performed to assess the accuracy / adherence to specifications. 
  6. The steel is then sandblasted and painted to protect the steel against outside elements. 
  7. Finally, the steel is delivered, assembled, and erected at the construction site. 

What can Structural Steel Fabricators Produce?


Structural Steel Fabricators can produce various steel products to be used in a variety of industries including:

  • Architecture / Construction
  • Automotive
  • Energy
  • Mining
  • Shipbuilding
  • Aerospace
  • Civil Infrastructure


Products that are commonly fabricated are:

  • Universal beams
  • Pipe racks 
  • Platforms
  • Universal Columns
  • Industrial Equipment
  • Parallel flange channels (PFCs)
  • Roofs
  • Floor joists
  • Bar joists
  • Skids
  • Staircases

Sustainability in Steel Fabrication


Low Carbon Effect 

Structural steel fabrication processes typically result in a low carbon impact compared to other construction materials such as concrete and timber. 

This is because the production of steel involves advanced technologies that have significantly reduced carbon (CO2) emissions.

In fact, steel offers a 19% reduction in CO2 footprint, when used in place of concrete in construction and demolition projects, contributing to a more environmentally friendly building solution.

In the ongoing effort to create sustainable green steel manufacturing, researchers and industry players have explored initiatives such as energy efficiency programmes, breakthrough technologies, and renewable energy sources.


Recyclable Materials

At a global level, an impressive 40% of steel production uses recycled scrap and over 500 million tonnes of steel are multicycled annually. This is attributed to the highly recyclable nature of steel, where it can be used multiple times without degrading its qualities as a building material.

Moreover, once a steel structure reaches the end of its lifecycle, the construction and framing can be disassembled and reused in new projects. The leftover steel parts (trimmed or cut steel parts) can also be reused once a fabrication project has been completed.

The majority of steel plants use steel scrap as part of their raw materials mix, and up to 100% of scrap is turned into new steel products. However, scrap steel is notably difficult to find due to the long service life / durability of steel structures. 

Overall, the recyclable nature of steel minimises the demand for new raw materials and reduces the overall environmental impact of construction.


Less Waste

The structural steel fabrication industry often employs efficient waste management practices. As mentioned earlier, steel scraps from the fabrication process can be reused and recycled, reducing the amount of waste generated.

Most water used during the fabrication process is reused or returned to source (rivers, seas), reducing water use and consumption significantly. In fact, a report from the World Steel Association stated that 90% of water used is cleaned, cooled, and returned to source. 

Additionally, slag, a byproduct of the steelmaking process, can be repurposed for various applications such as lightweight aggregate for roading. Besides, the use of computer-controlled production lines creates accurate and high-precision steel components, reducing defects and wastage

This reflects a commitment to resource efficiency and environmental responsibility in the steel fabrication sector.

Eco-Friendly Aspects


Energy Efficiency

The eco-friendly quality of steel fabrication can be observed during the fabrication phase. Steel fabrication processes often leverage advanced technologies and energy-efficient practices

Modern steel production methods, such as electric arc furnaces, use less energy compared to traditional methods. This results in a reduced carbon footprint during the manufacturing process.

This energy efficiency is seen more clearly in the finished building. The strength of steel enables it to bear thicker sheets of insulation while maintaining the integrity of the structure.

In Malaysia’s case, it keeps the building cooler during the year-round warm, humid weather. This reduces the need for air-conditioning, and therefore the use of electricity.


Fast & Efficient Process

Structural steel fabrication is known for its speed and efficiency. Structural steel is usually delivered to the site in the pre-fabrication phase. These structures are then fabricated on-site

The off-site fabrication of steel components reduces the amount of on-site work and allows simultaneous work on various elements of a project.

For example, while some steel components are being fabricated off-site, other on-site activities such as foundation preparation can be carried out at the same time. 

This efficiency not only saves time but also reduces the environmental impact associated with prolonged construction activities, such as on-site energy consumption and disruption.


Less Materials Needed

Compared to other building methods, structural steel fabrication uses materials more efficiently. A minimal amount of structural steel is required to form the desired structures.

Structural steel has a high strength-to-weight ratio, which allows for the creation of strong and lightweight structures. This characteristic reduces the construction materials needed, helping to save resources and minimise waste


Durable & Resilient

Structural steel is a notably durable and resilient material. Steel structures have a long lifespan, therefore reducing the total amount of replacements or renovations.

This longevity minimises the need for more raw materials and resource-intensive construction processes, allowing the fabrication process to leave a minimal environmental footprint.

Well-constructed steel structures are also able to endure extreme weather conditions such as storms, hurricanes and earthquakes. This is due to steel’s ductile, strong, water-resistant, and non-combustible nature.

Furthermore, surface steel treatments such as sandblasting and painting, which are applied during fabrication, make steel structures resistant to corrosion.

This structures’ durability translates to lower maintenance, where necessary care and repair are reduced, thus supporting sustainable building maintenance and repair practices.

Additional Benefits



Steel fabrication is a cost-effective construction option. This is because steel has a lower-price and longer lifespan than other building materials, such as reinforced concrete and wood.

Steel structures are also low maintenance due to their durable, water resistant, non-combustible properties. This helps to save on repair and care related costs over the course of the building’s lifetime. 

Next, the pre-fabrication of steel components which will be assembled on-site reduces the labour costs, as less workers will be needed. The lightweight nature of steel also reduces transportation costs to the site. 

However, it’s important to consider other factors that will impact overall cost such as location, project complexity, and market prices. 

Versatile & Flexible 

The flexible nature of structural steel allows it to be moulded and shaped into a variety of interesting and creative designs. This is unlike materials such as concrete and wood which have more rigid properties. 

Besides, steel components and modules can be assembled and disassembled due to their modular nature, providing a great level of adaptability and reusability.  Therefore, if demolition is required in the future, steel structures can be dismantled easily with the aid of proper planning. 

Low Health & Safety Risk

Structural steel fabrication has a relatively low health and safety risk. This is partly because individual steel elements are fabricated off-site under controlled, highly regulated, and safe factory conditions.

Besides, the use of cutting edge fabrication systems delivers precision-engineered components, reducing the likelihood of errors that could pose on-site hazards.

Steel fabrication requires less labour compared to other construction methods. This reduces the number of workers on-site, and minimises the potential dangers faced by labourers.

Case Studies


For a better illustration, let’s look at two Structural Steel Fabrication projects: the SKM Hydration Plant and Thermal Bunker by Sheng Jian Engineering and Construction (SJEC). These projects were carried out successfully, showcasing SJEC’s commitment to quality construction and sustainable building practices. 


SKM Hydration Plant

Example of SJEC’s Specialist Projects.

Fabrication and installation of a hydration plant and batching facility at Kuala Ketil, Kedah.

The SKM Hydration Plant project in Kuala Ketil, Kedah aimed to fabricate and install a hydration plant and batching facility for a premium grade calcium carbonate plant.

At the forefront of this project is safety and quality:

During the project, a Safety Site Supervisor was deployed to ensure safety compliance of this project. The project team was also assigned to carry out waste management to gather material offcuts to be returned to the client.

To minimise environmental impact, a high-performance paint system was used on the metal product for an extended product lifetime. Thus, prolonging the usable lifetime and preventing waste

Furthermore, waste management was deployed to separate different types of waste to be reused and recycled effectively.

Overall, this ensured a minimal impact to the environment, promoting efficient material use and responsible construction practices.

Thermal Bunker 


Fabrication and installation of a thermal bunker structural building, platforms, and stairs at Pengerang, Johor.

The Thermal Bunker project in Pengerang, Johor aimed to fabricate and install a thermal bunker structural building, platforms, and stairs.

The paint system in this project comes with a 5-year limited warranty. This effectively prolonged the lifespan of the building.

To minimise environmental impact, we opted for an automatic sand blasting process using a high-efficiency sand blast machine to save energy costs and provide better dust control

The painting process was closely monitored by SJEC’s Quality Control (QC), the client’s QC and the paint supplier’s QC to ensure the requirements of the painting processes were met.

Additionally, the structural support beams were of a custom design to fit the particular needs of the project.

Overall, this ensured the high-quality standards of construction were achieved, where the materials, processes, and design were carefully chosen to enhance longevity and reduce environmental impact.

A Step Towards Sustainable Construction Practices


To summarise, structural steel fabrication embodies the 7 principles of sustainable construction:

  • Sustainable design: Steel fabrication takes into account factors such as sustainable & durable materials and effective waste management.
  • Durability: Steel structures are long-lasting, ductile, water resistant, and non-combustible.
  • Energy efficiency: Modern steel production methods use less energy compared to traditional methods. 
  • Waste reduction: Waste such as water, slag and leftover metal pieces are reused / repurposed.
  • Indoor air quality: Low amount of carbon (CO2) emissions are produced during fabrication.
  • Water conservation: Water used during fabrication can be treated and reused.
  • Sustainable building materials: Steel components can be recycled and reused multiple times. 


As a whole, structural steel fabrication is the epitome of green construction. This process champions the use of less energy, production of less waste, and implementation of recycled materials. 

The durability of steel structures is in line with our pursuit of longer-lasting buildings which leave minimal negative impacts on the environment.

Looking for Steel Fabrication Services?


Contact SJEC today to consult structural steel fabrication professionals and find the best building solution for you. 

We provide tailored fabrication solutions for every project and adhere to stringent compliance with industry standards, ensuring that our projects meet the highest quality and safety requirements.

Sheng Jian Engineering & Construction (SJEC) – Industry Experts


With an impressive track record spanning over 23 years and more than 900 successful projects, SJEC has established itself as an expert in structural steel fabrication

With our team of exceptional welders and fabricators, tailored solutions, and unwavering commitment to industry standards, we ensure that first-rate results are delivered in every project. 

Here are the structural steel fabrication services we offer:

  • Structural Steel Design
  • Structural Calculation & Certification
  • Structural Steel Fabrication
  • Sand Blast & Painting Works
  • Steel Structure Installation
  • High-Performance Coatings & Fireproof Coatings


We have served a wide array of industries, including:

  • Architecture
  • Automotive
  • Chemical
  • HVAC and Electric Industry
  • Industrial Construction
  • Oil and Gas Industrial
  • Oleochem
  • Petrochem
  • Renewable Energy


Learn More About Our Structural Steel Fabrication Services.


What is the difference between steel fabrication and metal fabrication?

Steel fabrication specifically involves the process of creating structures or components from steel, a type of metal. Metal fabrication, on the other hand, is a broader term encompassing the creation of structures or components from various metals, including but not limited to steel.

How can steel improve sustainability in construction?

Steel can improve sustainability in construction through its recyclability, durability, and energy-efficient production methods. The ability to recycle steel reduces the demand for new raw materials, its durability leads to longer-lasting structures, and modern production methods contribute to lower energy consumption and emissions.

What is the carbon footprint of structural steel?

The carbon footprint of structural steel varies based on factors like production methods and transportation. However, it is generally considered lower than some other construction materials. Advanced technologies and energy-efficient practices in steel production have led to a reduction in carbon emissions compared to traditional methods.

What is SJEC’s experience in structural steel fabrication?

SJEC has over 23 years of industry experience and over 900 successful projects in structural steel fabrication. Our extensive experience and expertise allows us to deliver safe, well-executed, and capital-efficient solutions to our clients.

What is SJEC’s approach to safety and quality?

SJEC prioritises quality and safety in all aspects of our work. We adhere to stringent compliance with industry standards, ensuring that our projects meet the highest quality and safety requirements.

How does SJEC manage waste generated during the structural steel fabrication process?

During the fabrication process, we separate the different types of waste to be reused and recycled. Our adherence to waste management protocols ensures that we minimise waste generation and reduce environmental impact effectively.

How does SJEC ensure that its structural steel fabrication processes are environmentally friendly?

We prioritise long-term building solutions, implement waste management protocols, and monitor the quality of our projects closely. These steps allow us to reduce the environmental impact of our processes and ensure sustainable construction practices. 

Discover more projects on SJEC’s official website. Connect with us via LinkedIn, Youtube, Facebook, Instagram, X, and Tik Tok.
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