The SpeedCore System is a new method of composite structural-steel framing, designed to replace the common reinforced concrete core in steel office-tower construction. The method saves time and money, and offers reduced wall thickness, better flexibility for adaptive re-use, and increased blast resistance.
The 2019 NASCC: The Steel Conference, which will be held in St. Louis April 3-5, will feature two sessions about the SpeedCore system put into practice. In his presentation, “Lessons from the First SpeedCore Project,” the system’s inventor, Ron Klemencic, will discuss its first use in Seattle’s Rainier Square project. The presentation “SpeedCore and Composite Plate Shear Walls: Current Research and Developments” will showcase research findings.
A steel-framed building using a SpeedCore system is expected to take 40% less time to build than one using a reinforced concrete core. Fabricated from steel plate with ties, erected and welded together in the field and filled with concrete, the SpeedCore system has all the strength, stiffness, and damping of a reinforced concrete system without the tolerance incompatibilities and trade coordination required when a reinforced concrete wall is used, according to Charlie Carter, AISC president, who discussed the revolutionary new method at SEAA’s 2018 Convention a year ago.
“SpeedCore is set to shift the building marketplace. And we can go a lot faster with this system than the concrete industry can,” Carter said in the presentation.
The core system being used in the Ranier Square Tower in Seattle requires more expensive material, more fabrication labor, and more erection labor for the steel industry. The result for the industry is more work and a larger part of the pay for the project as we deliver this savings to the owner, believes Carter.
Because the steel modules are prefabricated off site, there is no waiting for the concrete core to be completed; the installation of rebar and formwork is eliminated, which further saves time. According to a constructiondive.com article, AISC notes that the structure is built to the tolerances of steel construction instead of the broader tolerances of concrete.
Faster construction time means very significant project savings. SpeedCore is fairly easy to design and construct, and it is a simple and attractive replacement of the jump-formed concrete core or shear wall that has been fairly dominant in the marketplace for a couple decades now. More use of steel in the core system likely means more frequent use of steel in the rest of the framing around the core.
AISC will publish a design guide, expected in 2020, based on the SpeedCore research currently underway.