a 7-storey multi-family building

Steel Framing & Construction

a 7-storey multi-family building

When choosing a construction material for your next project, you want to select a framing material that’s strong and durable. Steel framing is just that. Not only is steel framing robust, but when prefabricated off-site, steel frames can be erected quickly on your construction site.

Let’s take a look at the history of steel framing and how cold form steel framing is rapidly changing the construction industry.

Steel Framing vs Timber frameworks

Timber framing was, for a long time, the framing material of choice. Despite its reputation as an old-fashioned building material, wood was an excellent choice for framing a home or small projects. As timber is one of the few naturally occurring construction materials, it’s relatively non-toxic. Wood used to be widely obtainable, it could be swiftly assembled on-site, saving time, and enhancing the efficiency of projects. Due to supply chain issues, this isn’t the case anymore, pushing the construction industry to look into the use of cold formed steel.

But it also has disadvantages as it has structural limitations, fire risks and less of a lifespan. As we know, technologies around us evolve and so we were introduced to steel as a construction material which improves life span, ease of use and sustainability.

Introduction of Steel Framing to the Construction Industry 

The frame of a structure is its backbone and so it must be safe and secure. Both steel and wood frames have benefits, but cost, longevity, sustainability, and flexibility throughout the construction process should be considered when deciding between them.

Steel framing follows the same principles as wood framing but is simpler due to its greater strength, lightness and robustness with fewer parts. Steel's load-bearing capability is also much larger than other materials like timber. Additionally, when using steel framing, the columns and beams are joined by screwing, riveting or welding, and stresses are spread between them which means the structures are more stable and safer.

Another benefit when considering steel frames vs timber is that steel frames don’t twist, warp, shrink, or buckle, whereas timber frames are more flexible to their surroundings.

New Era of Cold Formed Steel Framing

Cold formed steel, also known as light gauge steel or metal stud framing, is constructed from structural quality sheet steel that has been shaped into C-sections and other forms by rolling the steel through a succession of dies. The forms are created without heat (unlike hot-rolled steel), thus the name cold formed steel.

Cold formed steel framing, also known as light, framed construction, is a system of repeating framing components that forms the vertical and horizontal structural elements. The frame members are commonly spaced at 16 or 24 inches (40 mm to 60 mm) in the center, depending on the weights and coatings.

  • CFS is the primary material for walls, partitions and roofing in commercial construction because of its lightweight, high strength, simplicity of installation, and non-combustible nature.
  • A CFS frame is comparable to wood. However, because CFS is made to precise lengths and prefabricated, relatively little sizing needs to happen on the project site.
  • Reduced waste: CFS framing generates significantly less on-site garbage than wood framing, making debris disposal less expensive.


From fast return on investment, lower labor costs to a more accurate method of construction, CFS is clearly the future of construction. With FRAMECAD discover The Way the World Constructs.

The Advantages of Using CFS Framing in Construction Projects Onsite

  • CFS frames are simple to transport and install. Furthermore, higher strength requires less material.
  • As CFS is lightweight, it can be installed quickly and easily with fewer framers on the job.
  • Due to cold formed steel’s tensile strength, it is suitable for windy or earthquake-prone environments.
  • Some builders have discovered that purchasing factory-made steel panels and trusses are an excellent way to get started with steel framing. This is because it eliminates the need for qualified framers and gives them access to expert design and layout specialists.
  • CFS panels come with pre-punched holes. Pre-punched holes allow for quick mechanical, electrical, and plumbing assembly. 
  • They also speed up the framing process when the framing step is completed.
  • Zinc coatings on steel frame components might survive for decades. CFS is a very sustainable building material. It’s 100% recyclable at the end of its life and contains no pollutants because it contains at least 25% recycled content.

The construction industry continues to increase the adoption of cold formed steel to guarantee their supply of materials and increase their quality output while reducing their waste. Moving to cold formed steel is also future-proofing their business as they start to adopt more technology into their operation. A design-led process combined with the precision of cold formed steel enables automation of repeatable tasks.

Steel Framing & Construction Case Studies

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