History And Development Of Light Gauge Steel Construction

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At the terminal of World War Two, many states, including the United Kingdom, Japan, France and Germany were enduring from an acute lodging deficit. It was at this clip that the usage of light gage steel was introduced into the building industry by utilizing it as a facing system within the edifice of steel framed ‘pre-fab ‘ houses. These ‘pre-fab ‘s ‘ were ill designed with small insularity doing cold bridging and finally condensation and moistness within the inside of the edifices. This has led to many of these edifices being demolished and traditional brick places constructed in their topographic point. Despite this, with improved insularity, light gage steel has continued to be used as an infill construction on multi floor edifices built from hot rolled steel or concrete frames. Commercial and retail edifices in peculiar continued to profit from its diverse capablenesss, utilizing it as a facing system which can be formed into many different forms. In the USA, since 1990 over 20 % of all low-cost places are now built utilizing this method and it is still turning twelvemonth on twelvemonth ( Koones, 2006 ) . However, in the UK, we are non utilizing progresss in engineering as we should be, intending the edifices that we construct are responsible for about half of our C emanations, half of our H2O ingestion, around a 3rd of our landfill waste and a one-fourth of all natural stuffs used in the UK ( Smith R A, et Al. 2003 ) . This means that the UK ‘s sustainable development marks can non be met without a cardinal alteration to the manner in which edifices are constructed. The national marks for nursery gas emanation decreases and the thrust for edifices that generate zero C in operation nowadays a immense challenge to the edifice industry ( Corus. Sustainable Steel Construction ) . These drivers have forced the industry to radically alter the manner in which it constructs its edifices developing other signifiers of building to follow with new constructing ordinances and sustainability issues.

Progresss in engineering have led to improved edifice designs enabling many of the jobs that were associated with light gage steel in old edifices to be overcome. Other signifiers of building have besides evolved, most of which are now capable of being manufactured in a mill and shipped to the site ready for assembly. These are known as Modern Methods of Construction ( MMC ) and their usage has been encouraged by Government and the Building Research Establishment ( BRE ) due to their impact on the environment and benefits to the terminal user. In 2006, the MMC market split was: ?414 million for volumetric ( based on maker ‘s merchandising monetary value ) , 52,797 lumber frame units ( houses and commercial ) , ?61 million for light gage steel frame ( which equates to around 6,100 units ) , 750 SIPS units ( estimation ) ( BRE 2nd March 09 ) .

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Today the belongingss of light gage steel are being utilised, non merely as a facing system but as a complete edifice merchandise, replacing bricks and blocks with thin he-mans of steel fixed together to organize non-load bearing or burden bearing walls. The he-man that are used are formed by turn uping the strips of galvanised, light gage steel into the needed form, of which there are many. The most common form being C subdivisions which are normally formed for usage within walls. These vary in size from 40 – 225 millimeter and between 0.56 – 3.2mm in diameter depending on whether or non they are to be used in exterior, interior, load bearing or non-load bearing elements of the edifice. The steel used is galvanized, supplying it with a protective coating for internal applications and has a standard coating of G275 ( 275 grams/m2 ) . As it is merely suited for interior applications so the full visible radiation gage steel construction has to be enclosed within a protective covering. This is referred to as the ‘envelope ‘ or a ‘warm frame construction ‘ and is formed utilizing insularity and a protective vapor barrier. The warm frame construction enables the edifice to hold first-class thermic belongingss, exceling the minimal U-Value degrees of the Building Regulations 2000. Within the UK the design codification for light gage steel is BS9590 portion 5 ; European design codification is Eurocode 3 portion 1.3 these are intended to be set of proficient regulations for the design of edifices utilizing this method of building.

Light gage steel has the best strength to burden ratio over any other edifice stuff and these high strength to burden ratios compare to six metric tons of steel accomplishing the same public presentation as 120 metric tons of concrete ( SCI, 2007 ) and as a effect of its light weight, dependent on land conditions, less significant foundations, even the usage of prefabricated land beams assembled to organize the foundations may be suited. Its light weight besides necessarily means fewer bringings to site, in bend doing less break to the local community.

There are a figure of ways in which the elements of a light gage steel edifice can be constructed, one of which has taken its name from lumber framed edifices where each component of the edifice is cut to length and fixed together on site. This is referred to as ‘stick ‘ edifice and is a really labour intensifier method which, along with a carpenter for lumber frames, requires several old ages of preparation. This is similar to traditional building but alternatively replacing the bricks and howitzer with light gage steel, a good method for ‘one off ‘ edifices but it besides prevents the benefits gained by off site industry to be achieved. The opposite to lodge edifice is the volumetric system. This is the most factory based signifier of building and involves the bringing on site of, normally, a complete room to the full fitted out with all fixtures and adjustments. This minimises on site installing work and merely requires the single ‘pods ‘ to be fixed together increasing the rate of building of the edifice. This signifier of building is really good for edifices where a perennial manner of room is required such as pupil adjustment blocks or a infirmary. When the design of a edifice is more complex so the cost of bring forthing single ‘pods ‘ significantly rises. The mill based fiction of the ‘pods ‘ ensures a high criterion of craft with a preciseness of +0 to -2mm tolerance being accomplishable and besides minimises the traffic, waste, labor, and clip spent building the edifices ensuing in nest eggs for the developer whilst understating the impact on the environment.

The unfastened panel method is another design used with light gage steel constructions. It involves the assembly of the walls, floor or roof within a mill based environment and delivered to the site when needed. All insularity, services, cladding and internal coatings are so fitted on site. The direct mill based nest eggs for the unfastened panel method is reduced due to the fact that the superstructure of a edifice merely amounts to about 15 % of the entire building costs. Any nest eggs made utilizing the system would be modest but the decreased clip spent on site related to the usage of this method would be where the nest eggs would be made.

The closed panel method besides involves the production of the elements of the edifice within a mill but will besides hold the insularity and vapor barrier fixed to it. The services, internal coatings, doors, Windowss etc may besides be in topographic point and the different elements of the edifice would merely necessitate repairing together on site which is normally achieved, as in other methods, by welding, concentrating, sleep togethering or pinching.

Costss of MMC have been muted as a barrier to the patterned advance of their usage and the Barker Review of Housing Supplies ( 2004 ) stated that “ At the present clip, traditional brick and block methods of building remain cheaper, in many instances, than modern methods of building, including off-site industry ( OSM ) . Merely four old ages subsequently a 2008 BRE study ( SmartLIFE – Lessons Learned ) , published its findings on a pilot undertaking in the Fenland territory of Cambridgeshire. It found that light gage steel building was in fact, cheaper than the traditional method of brick and block and besides that of other MMC used, including lumber framed and insulated concrete formwork. Harmonizing to the SmartLIFE study the advantage of an on-going partnership and apprehension between the light gage steel maker and the chief contractor was a factor in the methods cost effectivity. The SmartLIFE undertaking was undertaken to happen the best ways the UK can present a greater volume of sustainable, low-cost and high quality places in less clip, utilizing both traditional and advanced methods of building.

In comparing to other MMC, light gage steel ‘s long roof and floor span capablenesss besides add to its diverseness. Suites can be changed around within the edifice by merely traveling inside walls which do non necessitate destruction as opposed to other methods. They can besides be disassembled and reused or recycled unlike, for illustration, insulated concrete formwork walls. Whilst there are benefits to utilizing light gage steel there are besides disadvantages including the metals thermic conduction. Unlike a lumber framed edifice, heat can rapidly carry on across a metal he-man and with many he-mans in a wall this can cut down the temperature within a room guaranting the u value of the wall is reduced. To rectify this extra exterior insularity is required at excess cost to the developer. There are besides frights about corrosion jobs. If the edifice is non kept within its ‘warm envelope ‘ so impairment of the metal could be a job. A counter statement is that lumber putrefactions far easier and quicker than metal and lumber can besides be a nutrient beginning for a assortment of animate beings.

The electric conduciveness of the frame besides means that excess work is needed to guarantee the wiring does non come into contact with the frame. In modular and closed panel building this would be undertaken in mill conditions and would be easy overcome but with on site installing it necessarily means farther duty falls on to the sub-contractor lineman. Possibly the most serious of its disadvantages is the thermic conduction of the metal frame and its ability to do the construction to prostration. To undertake this job the repair of two beds of gypsum gypsum board at staggered articulations gives the metal frame a fire immune clip suited to transcend the minimal fire safety demands of Part B ( Fire Safety ) of the Building Regulations 2000. The acoustic public presentation of light gage steel has besides been questioned but the necessary dual bed of gypsum board besides takes the degree of acoustic public presentation past the necessary demands outlined in Part E ( Resistance to the transition of sound ) of the Building Regulations 2000. The high corporal energy of light gage steel is besides a disadvantage to people who have no cognition of its reusability and recyclability. To cipher the corporal energy within building constituents the World Steel Association uses the ‘system enlargement ‘ method of lifecycle appraisal, which is the preferable attack of the International Organisation for Standardization ( ISO ) 14040 series of environmental criterions. Although it is high in proportion to other MMC it is its ability of indefinite re-use and recycling without its qualities of all time diminishing which differentiates it from all other methods of building.

Unlike traditional signifiers of building visible radiation gage steel benefits from low waste, adaptability, away site industry, re-usability, recyclability and resource efficiency doing it one of the most sustainable edifice methods available within the UK. The edifices that can be produced by this method are light, unfastened and really adaptable intending old edifices would non hold to be demolished when they are deemed unsuitable. The insides would be merely rearranged to run into the terminal users demands therefore protracting the life span of the edifice.

Light gage steel can and does transcend the demands of today ‘s low degree edifice demands and in concurrence with other methods of building its benefits are besides widened to medium and high rise edifices. However, a figure of barriers will hold to be overcome if light gage steel is to go a outstanding method of building. Consumer assurance and the stigma of pre-fab edifices will hold to be improved upon which can merely be achieved by educating the consumer on the benefits of light gage steel, including its whole life rhythm belongingss. Finally fiscal facets will hold to be challenged including mortgage loaners and insurance companies who will basically go a portion of the instruction system. Their ain instruction in the usage of light gage steel will enable them to promote the usage of and be involved in the patterned advance of Modern Methods of Construction.

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History And Development Of Light Gauge Steel Construction. (2016, Nov 27). Retrieved from


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