In 2022, the worldwide market for light gauge steel framing was estimated to be worth USD 36.01 billion. It’s projected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.1% from 2023 to 2030. The surge in construction projects, both residential and industrial, in developed and emerging countries is fueling this growth. This article will delve into the benefits of steel framing and provide reasons why it could be an excellent choice for your upcoming project.
To begin with, let’s define steel framing. Structural steel framing is a construction method where the vertical and horizontal components of the building’s frame are made up of a network of structural steel beams and columns. One of the UK’s largest producers of steel framing systems (SFS) is Metsec, located in the West Midlands.
Steel is a lightweight and high-quality material that weighs less than wood and has many other advantages as a framing material. Steel has the upper hand over wood when it comes to durability. Steel doesn’t warp or expand, and it can withstand extreme earthquakes and hurricanes because it’s flexible and can bend without cracking . The lifespan for steel framing with exterior exposures in higher humidity and external pollutants is estimated to be 150 years or more.
Steel is also fire-resistant, moisture-resistant, and mould-resistant. Steel’s inflammability limits the spread of fires, which wooden frames simply can’t compete with. Galvanised steel or zinc coating treatments also increase rust resistance, which means it’s a perfect material to be used in coastal areas. Steel is highly resistant to mould and copes better with water damage than wood, which will rot and warp if it comes into contact with water for prolonged periods.
Steel framing also offers expanded design options for architects. It’s robust and long-lasting, and can be shaped to form curves in the structure of a building. Steel frames provide many possibilities for interior layouts compared to conventional wood construction. Support beams are fewer, and allow for larger open areas and easier remodelling if an inside renovation is required.
Steel framing also reduces construction time and costs. Framing materials are frequently built off-site, delivered, and erected quickly in order to minimise inconvenience for people in the neighbourhood, minimise labour expenses, and expedite project completion. This accelerates the return on investment since it helps keep the project within budget and ahead of schedule to provide a quicker return.
Steel framing is also environmentally-friendly. Steel conserves natural resources by approximately 30% and may be reused when a structure is demolished. Steel is also 100% recyclable and does not contribute to landfill waste.
To summarise, steel framing presents a compelling choice for residential construction, offering a multitude of benefits. Its durability, resistance to fire, moisture, and mould, and its ability to withstand extreme weather conditions make it superior to traditional wood framing. The flexibility of steel allows for innovative architectural designs and facilitates future renovations. Moreover, steel framing can significantly reduce construction time and costs, providing a quicker return on investment. Importantly, steel framing is an environmentally-friendly option, conserving natural resources and contributing to a sustainable future. As the global market for light gauge steel framing continues to grow, it’s clear that steel framing is not just a trend but a viable solution for the future of residential construction.