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 www.sasfa.co.za. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org