With The governments recent Ban on Timber-and- Logging, Light Gauge steel is your solution….READ ON!
Light gauge steel products are known to offer a range of construction related benefits most notably; speed of construction, cost-effectiveness and safety. They are also popular due to the products’ unique lightweight characteristic which makes them easy and safe to handle both during fabrication and construction.
Light gauge steel construction is very similar to wood framed construction in principle – the wooden framing members are replaced with thin steel sections. The steel sections used here are called cold formed sections, meaning that the sections are formed, or given shape at room temperature. This is in contrast to thicker hot rolled sections, that are shaped while the steel is molten hot. Cold formed steel is shaped by guiding thin sheets of steel through a series of rollers, each roller changing the shape very slightly, with the net result of converting a flat sheet of steel into a C or S-shaped section.
The steel used here is coated with zinc (called galvanized) or a mixture of zinc and aluminum (called zincalume or galvalume by some) to protect it from corrosion. The thickness of this coating can be varied to suit a range of environments. Typically, marine environments require the most protection, and dry, arid regions the least.
The thicknesses of steel used here range from about 1 to 3mm for structural sections, and 1 to 2mm for non-structural sections. The members are sized to roughly correspond to wood members: 2″x4″ and 2″x6″ are common sizes.
Like in wooden framed construction, a frame of steel members is first constructed, and then clad with dry sheeting on both sides to form a load bearing wall. Construction with steel follows the platform frame system of house building. Connections between members are made with self-tapping self-drilling screws.
Contractors will usually order pre-punched sections – sections with factory-made holes in them – so that wires and plumbing can be easily passed through the walls. The gaps between members are filled with insulation.
This form of construction can also be used for non-structural framing, such as interior partitions or external cladding. In fact, this form of construction was originally developed for interior partitons in offices.
Light gauge steel infill walls
Infill walling is used across many different construction sectors; health, education, commercial, residential and leisure and is the generic name given to external walls that are built between the floors of the primary structural frame of a building, and which provide support for the cladding system. Infill walls do not support floor loads but they do resist wind loads applied to the façade, and may be used within both steel and concrete-framed buildings.
Light gauge steel load-bearing walls
Light gauge steel load-bearing walls are used in light steel-framed buildings and modular construction, supporting floor loads, loads from walls above and resisting lateral wind loads. They generally include bracing to provide lateral stability to the building. Light gauge steel load-bearing walls use vertical C sections of typically 100 mm depth. Both internal and external walls may be designed as load-bearing.
Wall panels are typically pre-fabricated as storey-high units or may be site assembled from C sections that are delivered cut-to-length, but this is less common
Composite cladding panels
Composite cladding panels are used for the external envelope for a wide range of building structures including industrial, distribution, retail and residential. They provide an efficient building envelope with energy efficiency benefits. Composite panel cladding systems are produced as a sandwich construction comprising two profiled sheets bonded either side of an insulating core of foam, mineral fibre or similar material. As the panels act compositely, shallow profiles can be used.
Purlins and side rails
Purlins and side rails are often termed secondary steelwork and are available in a variety of shapes and a wide range of sizes. The depth of the section typically lies between 120mm and 340mm, with the profile thickness usually varying between 1.2mm and 3.2mm.
advantages of light Gauge steel construction
Light gauge steel structures have many of the advantages of light wood framed structures:
- They are light, and allow quick building without heavy tools or equipment. Every component can easily be carried by hand – a house is like a carpentry job on a larger scale. The main tool is a light, handheld screw gun. Since steel is strong, LGS structures are lighter than wood framed structures of equivalent strength.
- Their higher strength allows greater spacing between members when compared to wood frame construction: about 24″ (600mm) for LGS vs. about 16″ or 20″ (400 or 500mm) for wood. Fewer members translates to quicker construction times.
- It is able to shape itself to any form, and can be clad and insulated with a wide range of materials.
- It is easy to change or modify this construction at any point in its lifespan.
- There are a great range of systems and products catering to this type of construction.
- Light gauge steel structures are non-combustible, which is a code requirement for some types of structures. Since steel loses its strength in fire quite easily, it must be protected from fire with fire rated sheeting.
- Light gauge steel structures do not rot, shrink, warp, or decompose like wood structures, and can be used in areas where there is a probability of termite attack.
Why Use Space and Styles Light Gauge Steel product?
The use of pre-fabricated and pre-assembled steel components reduces site works, reduces material waste and improves quality.
This system requires a shorter construction period compared to that for a conventional system. Strong but Lightweight: Steel has one of the highest strength-to-weight ratios of any construction material. This results in savings in the foundation required and the lightness also makes for easier on-site handling.
Steel’s inherent strength and non-combustible qualities enable light steel frame houses to resist such devastating events as fires, earthquakes, and hurricanes. Homes can be designed to meet the highest seismic and wind load specifications in any part of the country.
A better quality finished house that is durable and low in maintenance.
Easy to Remodel: Remodelling can be easily accomplished. Non-load bearing walls can be readily relocated, removed or altered.
Because of its strength, steel can span longer lengths, offering larger open spaces and increased
design flexibility without requiring intermediate columns or load bearing walls.
All steel products are recyclable.