Anyone who wants to use cutting edge technology, the building standard of the future, green well insulated, rot proof and strong.
Light gauge steel frame’s light weight means using it will not necessitate the need for additional foundations (will not add significant load) particularily handy with victorian foundations (ideal for London). Perfect for building penthouses on flat roofs or extensions.
It even suits new builds in London as it is structurally sound up to four stories.
Lightweight, fast, clean and precise. In fact a large proportion of the work is done off site, the elements being delivered to site like lego blocks, fantastic, would this suit you?
What is Light Gauge Steel Frame?
The steel comes in sheet rolls up to a gauge of 2mm. It is then put through the roll former where it is cut to length and formed into shapes and sizes that are similar to those in timber frame but with a much higher strength to weight ratio. Steel frame members are formed in a process called roll forming by passing sheet steel from a coil of steel through a series of rollers to form bends to make the shape of a stud or ‘C‘ shape. Because the process is done without heat i.e. cold formed, the shaped steel is stronger than the original sheet steel. The computer controlled rolling allows, at the same time that the steel is rolled, the fixing of holes, service holes and locating flanges to be punched and positioned to the exact engineered position that the designers have determined to ensure that the panels or joists are to the precise dimensional requirements of the project.
The Benefits of Light Gauge Steel Frame
ecoBuilders have the experience and inspiration to use light gauge steel frame (LGSF) to its maximum and existing potential.
The dwindling supply of old growth trees traditionally used in construction coupled with population growth and ever the increasing urbanisation has lead to the need for a new construction material light gauge steel frame is the answer.
There is no limit to supply and it is ideal for residential or light commercial construction.
While being significantly stronger it is five times lighter than wood. This not only makes it easier to work with but means that it does not significantly add to the load on foundations when being used in the construction of mansards or extentions.
This is an example of an additional floor built on a flat roof where it was possible to have a balcony. The lightness of the construction allows the designer the flexibility to introduce terraces and balconies at penthouse level.
Not only is it not vulnerable to any sort of fungi or organism it is also not combustible and totally fire resistant.
A good example of how a small shop/office could be delivered complete, even finished internally!
Light gauge steel frame can even be used to build a staircase!
Light Gauge Steel Frame and its Chameleon qualities
Light gauge steel frame does not even have to look modern and stand out from its more traditionally fabricated surroundings.
Light gauge steel frame can be clad in any material externally in order to seamlessly blend in with its surroundings; brick, tiles, stone, render or timber boarding. The cladding is purely cosmetic and therefore does not need to be relied on for the structural integrity of the building.
A project in Greece, where the local surroundings were not disturbed despite using a highly, modern and efficient construction process. You suddenly begin to realise that this can really be used, virtually anywhere.
Another example of the chameleon qualities of light gauge steel frame, a timber building blending in perfectly (but so much better insulated and stronger) with it’s neighbouring houses; some over one hundred years old, in New Zealand Auckland.
Superior Construction Material
It has the highest strength to weight ratio of any building material; a man can carry a 5m fabricated panel with ease.
Steel is inorganic and so will not rot, warp, crack, or creep and is dimensionally stable, therefore not expanding or contracting with moisture content.
Last but certainly not least in this day and age, particularly in London, it is 100% recyclable!
Benefits to the developer
1. Cutting edge technology:
It is the future, green and very environmentally friendly and there is very little waste (negligible), all steel is cut to fit
2. Higher Strength:
Therefore safer structures and less maintenance.
3. Less pressure on foundations:
More flexible ideal for mansards or extensions etc or that penthouse on a flat roof!
Construction time can be cut down dramatically, everything can be prepared off site like Lego blocks and even pre
drilled for services.
5. Human Error:
Can be dramatically reduced as light gauge steel frame is very easy to assemble – the project discussed earlier
in Doha Qatar, was put together by, on site trained, Nepalese farmers, that were specially flown in.
Costs can be controlled and reduced which is music to the ears of most developers.
Benefits to the Architect
1. Easy to use and flexible;
2. Cutting edge technology;
3. Green and highly energy efficient.
4. But most importantly of all – happy and content clients, the entire event is completed faster and with controlled costs.The construction is free from movement and therefore cracking due to shrinkage. The carbon footprint is very low and the icing on the cake, significantly reduced heating bills due to its very good thermal values and airtight structure.
Two pictures of a test house illustrating the speed with which a typical two storey family dwelling can be constructed; three days to manufacture the steel ‘lego’ sections and five days to install – fantastic!
What are the Negatives of light gauge steel frame?
The only possible disadvantage is the need, for accurate preplanning.
Unlike with timber, on site alterations, on a large scale are difficult.
But we hear you say “Is this a disadvantage or an advantage?”
This necessity leads to a marked reduction in construction time on site and therefore the risk of the following occurring.
The favourite, most common and in fact infamous, bad experience builder story – “over running construction times and spiralling costs.”
If you are an architect who prides themselves on precision, a developer who needs to control costs (is there any other kind?) or simply a client who wants things done on time and for the cost you have been lead to believe, light gauge steel frame is definitely for you!
The History of Light Gauge Steel Frame
Light gauge steel frame (LGSF) has been known about since the 1850s in the USA and UK but picked up pace in the 1940s in post war Japan where it was turned to in order to rebuild.
The necessary wood was not available in post war Japan but they soon realised that this was a blessing in disguise as light gauge steel frame was used to great effect and further developed in true Japanese style.
Light gauge steel frame has now been taken up in Australia, Scandinavia, as well as the US and UK markets.
As recently as the 1990s very few steel frame houses were built in the US but the trend has dramatically increased. It has been realised that light gauge steel frame is what man, to solve modern day problems, has been looking for in a construction material.
ecoBuilders will work towards London being the first place in the 21st Century to use light gauge steel frame, as their first choice of, construction material. It ticks all the boxes and is the solution, already tried and tested, to solving the increased demand and the environmental issues facing human beings and the construction industry today.