Steel is a non-combustible material and consequently does not burn, provide an ignition source or add fuel load that would enable a fire to spread or grow into a catastrophic event.
Steel does not melt at temperatures typically encountered in a building fire. Its non combustibility and assembly fire ratings do not degrade over the lifecycle of a building. This provides a reduced fire risk to workers and occupants, minimizes the impact on municipal fire services, and results in less property damage and collateral damage to adjacent buildings if a fire should ever occur.
Steel has a melting point of approximately 1500°C (2700°F). In a typical fire, such as in an office, residential or retail occupancy, the maximum temperature of a fully developed fire will not likely exceed a range of 800 to 900 °C (1,500 to 1,650 °F), though it could reach a peak of 1,100 °C (2,000 °F) for a short duration.
With consistent chemical and mechanical properties, steel behaves in a predictable manner when subjected to the structural loads imposed by high wind and seismic events.
Steel‐framed structures are inherently ductile. Structures are designed to absorb energy produced by earthquake ground movement and wind by “flexing” or “deflecting” in varying degrees, depending upon the construction materials, design of the structure, quality of construction, level of engineering, and the applicable building code requirements.