Is It Safe To Buy Second Hand Steel RSJs?

Regardless of the RSJ sizes, specifications and quantities thereof you are looking for, chances are you’ll find what you need on the web at the touch of a button. It’s genuinely never been easier to find the market’s very best products at the lowest prices to date without having to undertake the previously painstaking search and procurement process – the web has really revolutionised the supply process for high-end building materials.

However, at the same time there are also certain grey areas when it comes to the sale of RSJs online – one of which being that of second hand RSJ sales. Once again, finding second hand RSJs in every shape, size, specification and quantity is as easy as carrying out a web search…there are literally thousands of them up for grabs. Some sites specialise in selling used RSJs exclusively, others sell them alongside their standard lines and then there are those that have just randomly come across a bunch of beams and have decided to sell them privately.

In all of the above cases, however the same question perpetuates – is it safe to buy second hand steel beams? They are after all to be used in the construction of a building’s primary supporting structure, so is it really worth taking the risks associated with second-hand goods?

Yes – Used Beams Can Make Ideal Choices

Well, if you were to speak to the group of builders that’s all for the idea of buying used beams, they’d tell you that it makes so much more sense than buying new ones. Needless to say, the primary argument they’d come up with is the way in which used beams often retail for at least 50% lower prices than their brand new counterparts, which in the case of larger projects can see the prices of the build as a whole come crashing down to new lows. The beams are there, the seller wants to get rid of them and the buyer wants a bargain, so to buy used means to close a deal where everyone benefits.

And then of course there’s the argument that to reuse something when and where possible represents the single most effective and efficient form of recycling there is. Recycling itself isn’t a wholly green process as it takes a hell of a lot of time, energy and money to process old steel beams into new steel, so by buying second hand beams that still have life left in them, you’re doing more than your ‘bit’ for the environment at the same time.

No – Second Hand Beams Are Too Risky to Bother With

Of course, head over to the other side of the fence and you’ll be bombarded with similarly strong arguments against the use of second hand RSJs. In this instance, the charge is led by the claim that when you buy second hand, you have no way of knowing exactly how, where and for how long the beam has been in use, which in turn calls its integrity into question. You may also not know where it came from in the first place or whether it is indeed from the brand the seller claims it to be from – all of which represents a bit of a concern when you consider how important these components are.

Then of course comes the argument that the overwhelming majority of steel beams and RSJs on the market right now are predominantly recycled anyway, as it’s rare for any steel beams that are no longer used not to be put back into the system and used to make new beams. As such, you’re still doing at least something for the environment when buying new beams – they are by their very nature recycled.

In Conclusion

Much of it all comes down to personal preference and beliefs, but according to industry experts there’s a simple way of approaching second hand beams and RSJs that works across the board.

If the beams are on sale via a reputable and trustworthy supplier who is able to guarantee their quality and origins, technically there isn’t a great deal to worry about. Likewise, if you’re a hobbyist and not planning to build the world’s most towering skyscraper, you could save a fortune by investing in used RSJs.

However, if you’re going about a build of any kind and have even 1% of doubt as to the quality or origins of the beams for sale, this really is the kind of risk you cannot afford to take and therefore should avoid at all costs.