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Director of North Steel Homes İhsan Büyük: The Advantage of Steel Homes

6 August 2021

İhsan Büyük, Director of North Steel Homes, one of the leading brands of steel house construction in Northern Cyprus, shared the advantages of steel construction compared to other building methods, their cost and the issues to be considered. Details are in our interview.

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Director of North Steel Homes İhsan Büyük: The Advantage of Steel Homes

Why did steel homes, which are preferred in European countries for the construction of high-rise buildings and bridges, remained in the background in Northern Cyprus? İhsan Büyük, Director of North Steel Homes, explains the advantages, costs and differences of steel constructions in comparison to prefabricated and reinforced concrete constructions.

İhsan Büyük, who started his career as a civil engineer in the earthquake zone of Düzce, is now on his course with the construction of steel houses in Northern Cyprus. As a consequence of financial and emotional losses experienced at the earthquake, he devoted himself to a path to be helpful to people. You will read in our interview, that his aim in business is to be useful rather than making big money.

İhsan Büyük has good news to deliver as well. He is about to realize a build-and-sell project, which will be a first in Northern Cyprus.

“The Most Earthquake Resistant Constructions are  Steel Constructions”

Let’s start by getting to know your company. What is North Steel Homes doing?

As North Steel Homes, we are present at every stage of the construction industry. However, the first thing we recommend to customers and friends is to build steel constructions. Advantages of constructing in steel is far more than other building methods, therefore we always recommend it with peace of mind.

Our company specializes in industrial and residential steel construction, steel pools, living containers. We are experts of this. We also deal with landscaping and arrangements of gardens.

At North Steel Homes, our permanent team consists of 2 civil engineers, 2 architects, steel masters and other personnel.  We also use subcontractors when necessary.

We work everywhere in North Cyprus. Our steel production is in Turkey. We get our steel supply from our production plant there and sell to other countries as well.

We were founded in 2012 and made quite good progress since then.

The decision to study civil engineering fundamentally was based on the involvement of my family in construction business as contractors. In 1999, when I took my exam for university, there was the earthquake of August 17th and shortly after the earthquake of November 12th  happened. We suffered enormous material, financial and emotional losses at those earthquakes. When I was accepted to the university the same year, students living in the earthquake zone were given the opportunity to transfer to universities they wished to study. Particularly civil engineering students from the earthquake zone were trained for steel constructions, because the most earthquake-resistant building method is building with steel.

All developed countries have been constructing with steel since the 1950’s, but this has been neglected in our geography somehow. Our predominant construction method is still reinforced concrete.

 “The Pandemic Increased the Interest in Steel Homes”

We observed that the visitors research about steel houses has increased during the pandemic. What is the reason? Is it reflected in sales?

Yes, it’s definitely reflected in sales. At times we had the volume of inquiries of 6-7 months  to be handled in 1-2 months.

People wanted to live in detached houses, they wanted to get out of their flats. When building a detached house, the priority was first to find a reliable company and then a fast delivery. We have been selected by most and we have delivered great work and continue to do so.

“The Advantages of Steel Construction Are Many”

What is the advantage of a steel house?

The advantages of steel structure are many. If I have to prioritize, they are:

  • Shorter building time
  • The most earthquake-resistant building method
  • Heat and sound insulation is much better compared to reinforced concrete.
  • You will not experience humidity indoors.
  • Because it is a light structure, it is less affected by factors such as landslides or earthquakes. For example, it does not crack and does not require repair. There are very few visible cracks in steel buildings. Maybe in the beginning when the soil settles, that’s all.
  • The material is recyclable. You can sell it if you want, or it can be dismantled and moved.
  • When you compare the prices with reinforced concrete, it is 30-40% cheaper.

Should you ask about its disadvantage, I’d dare to say that it’s purely psychological. Some of our customers want to hear the sound coming from a concrete wall, as they are not used to the different sound when they knock on a wall at a steel building. When the job is properly done and with good quality, steel is advantageous in every respect.

“More Affordable and More Durable”

How is the price average? Is it cheaper than to build with reinforced concrete?

As I just mentioned, it is more advantageous in terms of price as well.

Our people want steel construction to look like reinforced concrete buildings. However, when you look at buildings abroad, you can immediately tell whether they are steel or wooden construction.

Foreign customers who come to us are surprised that we lay screed concrete on the mezzanine floor. They ask us why we would do that and if it doesn’t make the structure heavier, if a light structure it isn’t better or why we would increase the cost by the extra concrete layer? Unfortunately, we are applying those layers because our people insist that the building looks and feels like reinforced concrete.

Does this increase the cost? Obviously, but that’s the demand.

Steel construction is preferred especially for residential buildings in European countries. There, steel construction buildings are more expensive than reinforced concrete ones. However, in our case it is the opposite. Furthermore, we have minimized our profit margin so that people can benefit from steel construction.

Basically, I do this job because I love it, not for the money. As a person who has experienced an earthquake, my motivation is to be helpful rather than making money. I hope that in the future, our people will understand the value of steel buildings.

Prefabricated Houses Vs Steel Houses

What is the difference between steel houses and prefabricated houses?

The carrier system is different. The carrier system of prefabricated buildings is either a box profile or galvanized sheets where the logic of masonry construction is applied thereon. This limits you in the application of designs you want. Whereas when building with steel, every design can be materialized, even those which cannot be built with reinforced concrete. You have to imagine that skyscrapers and bridges are built with steel, don’t think about residences only.

The coating of prefabricated buildings consists of more economical products. The quality of those products unfavorably affect the heat and sound insulation.

Prefabricated buildings have shorter lifecycle naturally as a result of using economical materials.

The lifecycle of a steel carcass system is 100 years under normal conditions. This is 40 years for prefabricated and 70 years for reinforced concrete buildings.

Are house patterns fixed or is it possible for the customer to build his dream house?

We usually work on a project basis. We draw the design and revise it until the customer is satisfied.   Then a quotation is given and a 3D application of the project is produced. A customer can also bring his own project and we support him if he wishes.

There is no limitation in steel construction and design. The cost will only increase if you ask for extravaganza.

A First in North Cyprus: Ready Made Steel Homes

Who prefers steel houses? Local or foreign buyers or owners of summer houses? Do you have such an observation?

We have local and foreign customers. The majority of them are locals. Due to increased request we have a project to start building and selling houses.

Our project to build steel houses on turnkey basis at Bellapais and Tatlısu will start soon. This will be a first in Northern Cyprus.

“Things to Consider in Steel Construction”

What should a customer deciding to build in steel pay attention to?

When building with steel it is necessary to pay attention that the construction is in accordance with the standards of statics and architectural design, thermal insulation and earthquake-resistance. Not everyone may know this. You may commission us or another company but this needs to be paid attention to.

Ask for a test report whether the steel delivered to the construction site is of construction standard, and even require a test to be done at site just right in front of your eyes. You cannot see the standard of the steel or whether it is even steel or not with naked eye. The incoming steel must be tested.

Steel should be able to accommodate the load-bear of the structure. They bend the galvanized sheet used on the roofs and sell it to people as “light steel”. After a certain time, it rusts and has no bearing. That’s why the standard of construction steel is important.

Examine the offer in detail and ask experts. Steel construction is susceptible to fraud. This happened in Cyprus. For example, when building a steel construction, it is necessary to receive 50% of the payment upfront, so the steel can be purchased. Steel is paid in cash on the market. There were contactors who took advantage of this and disappeared, and there were others who worked with other materials instead of steel.

Steel construction companies became popular so a lot of people set up a company, but most of them are uneducated. This also needs attention. Those who intend to start a steel construction business must have previous experience in this field.

Research the companies, research their managers, and research the buildings they have constructed.

Don’t just focus on the cost, everything should be carefully written out in the contract. Pay close attention to this.

What is your message for the readers of Kıbrıs Emlak Merkezi?

In particular, when choosing their home, they should consider the safety of their lives, think about children and the future of our environment.

They should protect the future of our children and our country by conscious actions of preventing energy losses.


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