SpeedCore? What is all the BUZZ about?

SpeedCore is a revolutionary development in the world of structural steel framing. Developed in 2019 by Magnussen Klemencic Associates, SpeedCore is a nonproprietary, innovative system that uses a concrete-filled composite steel plate shear wall (CF-CSPSW) core instead of the traditional cast-in-place reinforced concrete core. The prefabricated panels are made of two ½-inch thick structural steel plates held in place with 1-inch-diameter cross-connecting tie rods which support the panels until the concrete is poured after erection. 

Why is the industry exploring  this new model? Industry professionals are discussing many reasons to choose SpeedCore over a traditional concrete core: 

  1. Shorter construction schedule and reduced costs.

With a traditional concrete core, erection takes place at a pace of one floor every 3-5 days. With the hybrid SpeedCore structure, there is no waiting for concrete to cure, no rebar, no framework, and no demobilization for outrigger placement. SpeedCore can support up to 4 floors of decking by itself, so 4 floors can be erected in one week. And with SpeedCore, steel connection plates can be welded directly to the wall panel, so this eliminates construction tolerance issues that can occur when using an embedded plate to combine concrete and steel construction. 

  • Strength.

After erection, the prefabricated steel panels are filled with concrete, making a sandwich-like structure that creates strength and stability. Because the concrete is wrapped with the steel that is typically cast inside the wall, the connections are direct steel-to-steel. 

  • Versatility.

Because there are no hidden reinforcing bars, SpeedCore lends itself to adaptive reuse projects. It is perfect for high-rise construction but has also been used extensively for nuclear power facilities because of its impressive impact- and blast-resistance.

  • Safety.

Since the timeline of SpeedCore construction aligns with floor framing, much of the construction is under a steel deck cover, providing extra protection for workers from above.

For an example of the value added to a project due to SpeedCore, consider the Rainier Square Tower in Seattle built in 2021. The original construction timeline called for a traditional cast-in-place concrete core that would take 21 months to complete. However, using SpeedCore, construction on the 850-foot high-rise building took just 10 months. The savings in dollars and hours is phenomenal. 

SpeedCore is just getting started. As the industry catches on to its benefits, more research is being conducted to learn how to optimize this method. There are currently four ongoing SpeedCore research projects that will assist builders and fabricators in learning how to best employ and enhance this system.

Anatomic Iron Steel Detailing is excited to see what the future of the steel industry holds with SpeedCore. Advances in our industry mean that we are working collaboratively to make steel construction the best it can be.