The construction industry is continually evolving and technology is the driving force. Traditional building methods are no longer the answer. Lightweight steel framing is the next step in the natural process of evolution.
The South African building industry has many fundamental and wide reaching issues which urgently need to be addressed. There is a serious shortfall in the supply of high quality affordable housing; schools; skilled labour and materials. The industry is continually under pressure to deliver on time, to cost and at acceptable quality levels. Lightweight steel framed building is the answer to the industry’s problem.
Lightweight steel framed building is one of the leading forms of construction for residential housing in the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. It is also being used extensively in Europe, and has now arrived in South Africa. This method of building has been well tried and tested over the past 50 years, and is becoming the preferred way of building in most leading countries.
A completed home utilising an internal steel frame, typically clad with face (exposed) brick or rendered finishes, is virtually indistinguishable in every respect from homes erected using traditional building techniques. The quality of construction is in most cases typically superior to that able to be obtained by local teams of semi-skilled or unskilled construction labour, and the method of erection allows for complete flexibility in terms of the design, cladding or architectural preferences of the Client.
The lightweight steel frame comprises of a galvanised steel stud, channel and truss system which makes up the structural component of the building. The steel frame is then clad externally with a brick façade or an alternative specified finish. The type of cladding has no impact on the structural integrity of the house. The brick façade ensures that the house has the look and feel of a conventional house, and withstands any weather conditions.
The internal walls are clad with 15mm BPB Gypsum Rhinowall board or equivalent material. The BPB Gypsum Rhinowall is SABS approved and is used extensively in South Africa for internal cladding and partitioning in houses, hotels, offices etc. The board is non-combustible and has SABS Fire Rating approval.
In-between the outer façade and the internal cladding is a polyester or polystyrene insulation. This insulation is also used in the internal walls. The insulation is designed to provide a safe and efficient insulation for the homeowner. It effectively reduces energy costs to the homeowner by keeping the house warm in winter and cool in summer. The insulation also serves as an acoustic insulation by absorbing the sound and preventing it from being transmitted from one room to another. The insulation is SABS approved and is non-combustible, and conforms to SABS Fire Rating.
The steel studs are easy to erect, not requiring skilled labour. On-site training is undertaken for unskilled labour. The frame is erected in 2 days (depending on the size of the house), and then the artisans can start with the brick laying and roof cladding simultaneously. This accelerates the building process, and ensures that the internal finishes can begin early in a dry encapsulated environment.
lightweight steel frames and trusses
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