The versatility of steel offers architects the freedom to achieve their most ambitious visions and specifiers value its predictability, quality and safety assurances. As the construction industry looks to raise the safety bar since the banning of combustible materials in external walls above 18 metres, the light steel frame sector is witnessing unprecedented demand.
The amount of combustible material in a light steel framed building is much lower, therefore the fire risk during construction and when in use is vastly reduced. Steel is non-combustible and does not add to the fire load of a building – reducing the fuel for the fire, limiting risk of damage and injury.
Sustainability is a key driving force in the specification of light steel framing systems. Steel can be recycled or reused endlessly without detriment to its properties. This unique characteristic gives steel a high value at all stages of its lifecycle. The recovery infrastructure for steel recycling is highly developed with current recovery rates from demolition sites in the UK at 99% for structural steelwork and 96% for all steel construction products – figures that far exceed those for any other construction material.
Offering the best strength-to-weight ratio improves efficiencies – you get a lot of structure for relatively little weight which reduces embodied carbon. This is where steel cannot be beaten. Lighter structures not only reduce material consumption but also concrete in the ground. This means that foundation loads and sizes are reduced by over 70% relative to concrete and block-work construction.
Steel is a robust, rigid and dimensionally stable material that does not suffer from movement created by moisture related issues. The inherent benefits of steel construction are why this innovative material is dominant in shaping our city skylines.