Why choose steel?
Steel frame houses are lightweight, structurally solid, termite proof and completely recyclable. Steel will not bow or warp over time and has a far superior strength to weight ratio than termite-attracting timber frames. The installation of steel frames is not complicated and does not require new tools. In fact, the installation process is much the same as that of timber frames. Steel frames are produced with speed and precision, making them ideal for when there are changes in design, which can often arise after building has already commenced.
The main benefits of steel frames;
- Unaffected by termites, borers and dry rot.
- Fire resistance
- Easy to erect, cutting down on construction time
- Extremely strong yet lightweight.
- Will not warp, shrink or twist and is not weakened by knots or cracks as timber is.
- Buildings constructed with steel are long-lasting.
- Can be precision manufactured to exact proportions
- Greater design freedom and reduced risk of problems during building.
- 100% recyclable material
- Not chemically treated, making it safe to handle and free from allergens.
While steel should be everyone’s first choice, there are specific applications for which steel is particularly well-suited;
Building a hillside dwelling is made easy and affordable with steel piers and sub-floor systems. Homes being constructed on steep hillsides use steel bearers and joists supported by steel piers on concrete pads and because of the strength and spanning capacity of steel, fewer piers are required.
Large Open Plan Homes
When building with steel, open plan areas have little to no need for expensive beams. This is due again to the fact that steel combines strength and spanning capacity with reduced weight, particularly when compared to timber.
Coastal and Cyclone Prone Areas
Steel is the first choice for sites with exposure to high winds due to the strength of the material. The durability of steel also makes it well-suited to moisture-prone coastal areas, where timber can easily degrade and rot.
Fire Prone Areas
Steel will not ignite and does not burn. The CSIRO, in partnership with NASH, conducted a study outlining the features of a house with high fire resistance, with major factors being eliminating timber in the roof and using steel frames instead.
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There are a lot of false beliefs about the use of steel frames in construction;
This is one of the most common mistakes regarding steel frame homes and could not be further from the truth. A CSIRO survey found no reports of noise coming from a steel house frame. In fact many residents reported less noise in their current steel framed houses than they did in their previous timber framed houses.
Steel is engineered to resist corrosion through a phenomenon known as ‘sacrificial protection.’ A protective coating of zinc/aluminium alloy is applied to the steel which ‘sacrifices’ itself when exposed to corrosive elements, leaving the steel safe and structurally sound.
Properly installed steel frames are earthed and can actually be safer than timber alternatives. A broken or pierced wire will be grounded by a steel frame, but can remain live and continue to leak current in a timber frame. This creates an electrocution and fire hazard within the walls.