Nothing lasts forever – but that doesn’t stop us wanting to put numbers on things.

Especially if you need a below-ground substructure, you’re probably going to (quite rightly) want some kind of guarantee that it’s not going to cause problems for you down the line.

Because prefabricated steel substructures are such an innovative method, we often get people concerned about them corroding and leaking over time.

They’re also potentially worried about the quality of the weld, and how watertight the substructure will be.

The good news is that prefabricated steel is actually very different to other methods of below-ground construction you’re used to – in the best possible way!

As a specialist subcontractor, I’m going to tell you the minimum lifespan you can expect a prefabricated steel substructure.

What is the lifespan of a prefabricated steel substructure?

This is such an important question when choosing any sort of below-ground substructure for your project. Here at Premier Substructures, we wanted to give you the answer you deserve.

That’s why we asked an expert in the field of corrosion, Dr. J.P. Bloomfield, to investigate. He put together a report which confirmed the way prefabricated steel substructures are built means they’ll last over 100 years in the ground, up against the most acidic ground conditions (which are rare in the UK).

His report stated:

“In a worst case scenario where aggressive soil/water reaches the tank wall, it is a 6 mm steel sheet. Eurocode 3 states that for steel piles in aggressive soil for a 100 year life the maximum corrosion rate is 0.06 mm/year/side. It will therefore take 100 years for the corrosion to penetrate a 6mm steel tank wall.

As it will take several decades for the contaminants to reach the tank steel surface before corrosion can initiate, we can confidently expect a 100 year design life from Premier Cellar Company.”

Advice from a specialist subcontractor

If you’re looking for the best method of below-ground construction for your next project, my best advice would be to thoroughly do your research and check the concrete specification (if applicable) – was it precast or in situ?

If so, check whether your contractor can offer a warranty for the works. For instance, Sika offer a warranty which can last 25 years. Hanson, on the other hand, can offer a 15 and 30 year warranty, depending on the product you choose.

Because prefabricated steel is so different, people often question what we do and how we build substructures. However, I always relate back to products such as oil rigs and boats in the ocean surviving.

Our product is extremely similar to say, the hull of a boat – the only difference is that it’s surrounded by concrete, rather than saline water.

TIP: It’s always important to do your research. Check out how prefabricated steel compares to traditional in situ concrete and precast concrete.


I hope this blog has helped give you a better idea of the expected lifespan of a prefabricated steel substructure. Dr. J.P. Bloomfield’s report is essentially our guarantee that our substructures can last over 100 years in the ground, in spite of the most acidic conditions.

TIP: Take a look at some of the other benefits of prefabricated steel, via our recent blog.

Do you have any specific questions about using prefabricated steel for your project? Let me know in the comments. I’m always happy to help!