31 August 2018
Considering using light gauge steel framing on your next construction project? You’re probably wondering how it compares to other framing materials such as structural steel, concrete and timber.
Lightweight steel is an increasingly popular framing choice for both multi-level and single-storey commercial and residential buildings. And with its strength and durability, environmental benefits and fast and simple installation process, it’s easy to see why.
In this article we answer 7 of the questions we are commonly asked about lightweight steel framing, to help you decide if it’s the right building material for your project.
Can lightweight steel framing be used on multi-storey developments?
Yes, light gauge steel framing is ideal for low to mid rise buildings and can be used on projects up to 10 storeys tall. It is used to construct a wide range of residential and commercial buildings including apartments, townhouses, units, aged care facilities and schools.
How durable is lightweight steel?
Steel has an extremely long lifespan and requires little to no maintenance to keep it in top condition. Unlike timber, steel is unaffected by termites and won’t crack, warp, splinter, shrink, split or swell. It’s also resistant to rot and rust which means it won’t corrode or deteriorate over time.
All framing supplied by SBS Group is manufactured using BlueScope’s TRUECORE® steel, which is backed by a 50-year manufacturer’s warranty* for added peace of mind.
What are the sustainable features of lightweight steel framing?
Steel boasts some important sustainable features. It’s 100 percent recyclable and holds the title of being the world’s most recycled material. While it would take around 40-50 mature trees to produce enough timber to frame an average size house, if steel framing was used it would only require the metal from six scrapped cars.
Steel also produces less waste on site, and it can prevent cracks and air leaks due to shrinkage which aids in energy efficiency.
Is lightweight steel framing more expensive than timber?
While steel framing can cost more to purchase up front, when you look at the overall price of the project it is a more cost-efficient option. Lightweight steel can be easily managed and installed on site, which means the job can be completed faster. Depending on the size of the project, a reduction in construction times can add up to significant savings in labour. Unlike timber, steel is strong, straight and true, meaning it’s less likely to be damaged or to have discrepancies when installed, saving you on materials costs. Once installed, there is no need to straighten or plane walls made from steel.
How difficult is it to install lightweight steel framing on site?
Lightweight steel framing is generally faster and easier to install than timber, concrete or structural steel for several reasons. The lighter weight of the material makes it easier to transport and handle on site, meaning the framing can be in place faster and with less reliance on heavy-duty machinery.
If using an SBS Group steel framing system, 3D models, easy to follow layout plans, fixing locations and details are supplied to the builder for installation by your on-site construction team or by our preferred installers.
How does steel framing cope with fire and extreme weather events?
Light gauge steel framing won’t burn, which means it will never be the source of a fire or assist it to spread. Plus, if the structure is struck by lightning, steel framing provides a direct path to the ground which reduces the chances of an explosion or secondary fire. Steel framing is also naturally strong and ductile, which makes it resistant to damage from high winds and an ideal material for earthquake resistant designs.
What are the requirements for engineering certification of steel framing?
To complete the Building Permit application process, you may require a Certificate of Compliance. All our framing systems are signed off by registered engineers and are compliant with engineering certification to BCA code specifications.
Did we answer all your questions on lightweight steel framing?
We’re always happy to offer advice – if you would like to discuss the benefits of using steel on an upcoming project, please book a free consultation with one of our steel framing consultants.
*Warranty currently offered for residential applications only and is subject to application and eligibility criteria. Commercial warranties may be available on application. For full terms and conditions and to determine the eligibility of your building for a warranty visit warranties.bluescopesteel.com.au or call BlueScope on 1800 800 789. Warranties provided by BlueScope do not affect consumer rights under the Australian Consumer Law.
Find out more about the advantages of building with steel by downloading our eBook: Cold Formed Steel vs Timber >