Light steel frame building techniques like those used to construct Stand 47 are gaining popularity and traction among those in the know. This method of building is both faster and less messy than conventional building methods, and is also more effective in limiting wastage of materials.

As a general introduction, light steel frame building consists of structural wall frames, floor joists and roof trusses, that are made from light weight steel sections. This steel frame then forms the ‘skeleton’ of the house, which is then ‘fleshed out’ with area-specific and architecturally specified wall, ceiling and floor systems. These systems consist of various products that work together to provide a specific benefit or safety standard, for example fire safety, thermal or acoustic comfort.

The benefits of using LSF building methods are acknowledged and are generaly well-known in Europe, Australia and the USA. However, to date South African builders and architects have been slow in offering this efficient way of building to clients as an alternative to the commonly accepted methods using bricks and mortar. These benefits are:

  • High quality steel product regulated through building codes
  • Cost savings from reduced wastage
  • Facilitates improved energy efficiency of final building
  • Faster, less messy way of building
  • Reduced transport and handling costs due to light weight

A research report produced by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) confirms that LSF buildings can reduce the electricity used for heating and cooling of buildings to thermal comfort levels, in comparison to other structures. In South Africa, LSF construction also has a specific building code (SANS 517), which ensures alignment with international standards.

If you’re considering building a new house, or adding another level to your existing dwelling, your homework isn’t complete without visiting This is a link to the home of The Southern African Light Steel Frame Building Association (SASFA). This association was established to promote the light steel frame building industry in Southern Africa, and is the leading authority on standards and regulations relating to LSF building techniques and best practice. Their mission is to strive towards establishing LSF as a high quality, energy efficient, cost effective and preferred method of building in South Africa, for low rise residential and non-residential buildings.

If your heart is already set on this method of building (because you’ve done your homework) but your builder won’t budget from his old-school brick-and-mortar comfort zone, don’t panic. Just nudge him towards the next training course presented by SASFA, which takes place from 6 – 11 July 2014, at Saint-Gobain in Midrand. These workshops are specifically for building contractors, designers and inspectors, to ensure that high standards are maintained and skills are developed in the LSF building industry, and to ensure that there is an increasing number of trained LSF experts available to supply the building market. For more information on the next workshop, contact SASFA on (011) 726-6111 or email


More benefits from Stand 47: Your Home as a Healthy Space

Good health starts with clean, fresh air. To achieve the best indoor air quality, it’s necessary to remove harmful pollutants and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) from the air, maintain healthy ventilation rates, comfortable air temperatures and humidity levels. Spending a lot of time indoors therefore requires one to actively manage the quality of indoor air. Poor Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) can lead to headaches, fatigue and is also known to cause allergies and asthma.

Ways to improve IAQ can be quite simple:

• During the design phase, request your architect to specify the use of materials that improve air quality by maintaining ambient temperatures indoors without the necessity for heating and cooling that can dry out the air.

• Harmful pollutants and VOCs from varnishes or compounds used in the manufacturing of carpets, curtains, upholstery or furniture, can be removed by building or retrofitting walls or ceilings made from Activ’Air board.

• Plan good ventilation during the design phase to ensure that a fresh flow of air into the room is as simple as opening a well-placed window.

• Install a closed, wood-burning fireplace that ensures high efficiency and low emission of harmful particles, carbon monoxide (CO), and organic connections (OGC).

Good health goes beyond physical wellbeing. Our state of mind is easily influenced by our surroundings. As winter approaches it is not uncommon to experience Seasonal Effective Disorder (SAD), a negative psychological response to the colder weather and fewer daylight hours that accompanies the onset of winter.

Tips to benefit from a happy state of mind in your home space:

• Design rooms with the view to allow for the maximum amount of natural light, and integrate as much as possible with the natural surroundings i.e. garden and landscape.

• Use natural materials such as wood, and natural colours as they also have a calming effect.

• Rooms with high ceilings and large volumes in living areas create the feeling of space and freedom, further adding to a sense of wellbeing.

For more information on Gyproc Activ’Air,  go to

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How to benefit from Stand 47 comforts: Tips for Acoustic Insulation

As promised we continue to share our learnings from the building of Stand 47.  This week we focus on acoustic insulation, the lesser known relative of the more famous energy-saving thermal insulation discussed last week.

We live in an increasingly noisy world and any kind of protection from noise  contributes towards a healthier state of mental and physical well-being. Whether in the office or at home, noisy surroundings are the most common source of disturbance. Even when we sleep, noise can prevent one from getting the necessary rest and relaxation that is so essential to good health.

Sound sources differ in types: airborne and structure-borne. Airborne sound is that which travels directly from a source into and travels through the air for example the neighbours’ voices, traffic noise or the sound carried from a home cinema in the next room. Structure-borne sound is from footfall and rolling noise mainly transmitted via the structure itself. Both sources of sound can be very disturbing, particularly if you require a quiet environment for work, study or simply

If you are in search of peace and quiet at home, there are a number of solutions available to help you insulate your house for optimal acoustics.

Tip 2: Acoustic insulation.

Here are options of where and how to insulate your home for improved acoustic comfort:

1.  If you’re thinking of adding new walls in your house, consider a high quality and durable dry-wall solution with glasswool acoustic insulation. ISOVER’S Cavitybatt has been specially developed for use within steel frame structures, timber frame buildings & dry wall systems. Cavitybatts are manufactured using high quality Glasswool & are glass tissue faced on one side for ease of handling and improved rigidity.

2.    Dry lining that consists of 100mm glasswool and 12.5mm plasterboard is the perfect solution to achieve excellent acoustic performance on existing brick walls. The advantages are that it is quick and easy to install and offers thermal insulation too.

3. Is your roof very noisy during rain or a hailstorm? You can dramatically improve the acoustic comfort of your house by insulating the roof with top level damping such as 120 or 160mm glasswool.

4.    Adding sound insulation under tiles or wooden flooring, and between floors in a multi-level home will further add to the acoustic comfort level. This is best done at design stage.

The added benefits to using Isover sound insulation (which also functions as thermal insulation) are that it is non-combustible, it’s made from 80% recycled materials and it’s light-weight and maintenance free.

For more information on insulating for acoustic comfort, please visit

Images courtesy of Isover.