As a leading manufacturer of lightweight steel framing (LSF) you’d expect Frameclad to sing the praises of this particular construction method, but we don’t expect you to simply take our word for it. We’ve been delivering LSF solutions for more than a decade and in that time we’ve experienced everything LSF has to offer for a wide range of clients large and small, enabling us to build a detailed picture of the benefits it provides in terms of cost, effectiveness, convenience and sustainability, particularly when compared with traditional timber solutions.
The following are just a few of the key benefits of LSF:
The fact that LSF is 60% lighter than timber alternatives offers considerable savings when it comes to the design and construction of the foundations of a building, and also enables quicker, simpler and safer installation and handling.
The strength to weight ratio of LSF is higher than any other building material, enabling 12 storeys of load bearing structure to be built, in contrast to the 6 storey maximum offered by timber.
Unlike timber, which comes in stock lengths, LSF can be delivered by roll formers to the bespoke requirements of each project.
Simplicity is at the heart of using LSF, with slots and penetrations punched in during manufacturing, whereas timber joists used in floor designs require areas to be trimmed or routed out on site or included within the design.
Timber is a natural product which means it has a tendency to twist and warp after installation, so that movement and shrinkage within a project often has to be corrected. The high tolerances of LSF components (+0mm -2mm), on the other hand means that there is no need to work around the materials ‘settling’ after installation, and also that the results have excellent thermal and acoustic properties.
In general terms LSF provides uniformity across results and, post-installation, is impervious to factors such as termites or rotting. It costs less than timber alternatives to transport and install and is fire resistant and 100% recyclable.
In terms of sustainability and the green agenda, LSF offers benefits across a range of factors, from the energy efficiency of the completed buildings to the nature of the material itself, which is rated A+ in terms of environmental performance in the BRE’s Green Guide to Housing Specification 2007.
The fact that steel is 100% recyclable on a repeated basis without any impact on performance means that the components can be re-used indefinitely, either as they are or after being recycled, a process which currently accounts for 50% of all European steel production. As a consequence, 90% of the steel from buildings being demolished is recycled and reused.
In terms of energy use, steel being used for a standard UK 2 storey house leads to electricity consumption dropping by 30%, with renewable energy systems such as photovoltaics making it possible to construct ‘zero-energy’ buildings. Pre-fabrication techniques and ‘just in time’ deliveries also combine to minimise the transport to site involved, with fewer workers also needed to travel to site.
The factory controlled conditions in which pre-fabricated LSF is produced allow energy use and pollution to be monitored and controlled, while the ‘dry’ construction process minimises the use of water.
The fact that the manufacturing and fabricating process takes place in a factory setting rather than on site means that it is safer than the alternatives, and that pollution such as dust and noise are kept to a minimum.