Steel structures in Turkey are on the rise. TUCSA, Turkish Construction Steel Association has a great contribution. In the past, our steel construction stock was limited to industrial constructions, stadium roofs and bridges. Now other types have emerged, especially architectural constructions. We have the courage. A lot of problems are awaiting solutions, but architects, engineers, employers are looking at steel differently.

I notice that the Turkish  contractors and the designers who have gained experience abroad for many years, make a big contribution. The fact that the 2007 seismic building code places great importance to constructional steel, makes a major difference. When a technical publication is released in engineer’s own language, it makes a big difference. Having spent half of my 22-year career in the US, even for me, engineering, and reading and advancing in Turkish have a much more special place. I think our brain works better in native language for technical and analytical thinking. The introduction of our updated steel construction design standard in 2016 will positively affect the use of structural steel and design and application quality.

The National Steel Construction Awards are a truly special contribute to the awareness by rewarding the use of structural steel in the country. I was at the Jury this year on 17th Constructional Steel Day held by TUCSA. I tried to reflect the experience and design perspective of my career that stem from a wide variety of challenging steel designs I made. All applicants were very valuable. Especially Robert College Murat Karamancı Student Center, which was ranked first and sent to represent Turkey in the European steel construction competition, had a special place for me. But it also showed that the number of applications and the overall quality of all the designs had a long way to go. Serious concerns remain about quality and built-in standards both in design and in practice.

As Turkish engineers, it is obvious that we have good modeling skills in 3D design programs. But what we’re good at is manufacturing engineering, not structural engineering or engineering design. In other words, modeling towards manufacturing, detailing and drawing. The engineering design of important structures of the region, which are currently being built by Turkish companies, are coming from abroad. We always complain about how insufficient these designs are, and we detail them and make them more applicable as we whine about. Instead of whining, we need to study what we need to do to produce that first design, and we have to improve our design engineering, creative engineering skills on top of our manufacturing engineering. If this happens, the number of steel constructions will also increase as well as our quota and voice in the World on this subject. As ATTEC, we put our attitude and work in this direction. We already adapt our progress accordingly.

Although the overall situation is very different than my time at ITU where I graduated with a thesis in steel construction in 1995, Turkey data reflects that the use of structural steel is around 4% in total. It’s a very small number compared to concrete. But we have many reasons to be hopeful by this increase. We have to work hard. We have to work smart.


Ahmet Topbaş: Founder and Director at ATTEC. After his undergraduate study at Istanbul Technical Univesity as a structural engineer, he studied MBA at Georgia State and obtained his MSc in Structural Engineering at Columbia University of NYC. Half of his 22-year engineering experience has taken place in the USA, and he holds a P.E., Professional Engineering license. He teaches at engineering and architecture schools in Istanbul part time as a visiting lecturer. He is passionate about Learning, Swimming, Travel, Music, and Cinema. He plans to do more of Snowboarding and many other things after his kids grow up a bit more.