The Advantages of Using Cold-Formed Steel in Construction

Discover the numerous benefits of using cold-formed steel (CFS) in construction projects. From cost savings to environmental sustainability, this versatile material offers advantages that make it a popular choice among builders and designers.

The Advantages of Using Cold-Formed Steel in Construction

As an expert in the construction industry, I have seen firsthand the benefits of using cold-formed steel (CFS) in load-bearing walls, non-load-bearing walls, floors, and roofs. This versatile material offers numerous advantages that make it a popular choice among builders and designers. One of the main advantages of CFS is its ability to carry gravity loads while being lightweight. This makes it ideal for framing exterior walls for cladding. In addition, CFS members with G40 and CP40 ownership offer the same level of quality and durability. But the benefits of CFS go beyond just its structural capabilities.

It also offers cost savings for builders and can help reduce project costs by meeting fire resistance requirements and offering risk discounts for construction insurance. CFS is also an environmentally friendly option, with a minimum of 25 percent recycled content and 100 percent recyclability at the end of its useful life. It also emits no volatile organic compounds, making it a sustainable choice for construction projects. When considering the overall construction cycle, using CFS as part of a building's structural system can lead to cost savings. The Steel Network, for example, offers services such as optimizing openings and clip connections or redesigning entire systems for medium-height steel structures that support loads. Additionally, CFS is manufactured to meet the most demanding standards, making it ideal for manufacturing panels and frames. The incorporation of North American standards for cold-formed steel structures from the American Iron and Steel Institute into the International Building Codes of the International Code Council has made it easier for builders and designers to find comprehensive provisions for steel.

A study by the Research Center of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) has also shown that the zinc coating on steel structure materials can protect against corrosion for hundreds of years. Due to its lightweight, strength, fireproof properties, and ease of installation, CFS has become the go-to choice for load-bearing interior partitions in commercial construction. However, to ensure optimal performance, it is important for contractors to follow the AISI S201 specifications for recommended coating weights and proper installation procedures to protect the coatings once the welds have been placed or the fastening elements. CFS elements are made from structural-grade steel sheets that are formed into various shapes through a series of dies. This allows for versatility in design and construction. In fact, CFS was used as the main structural material in a 70-foot diameter spiral that circulates inside a 40-foot tall coffered dome. The Steel Framing Industry Association (SFIA) has also published a technical guide for cold-formed steel frame products, providing a comprehensive tool for designing with CFS elements.

This guide has been instrumental in making CFS a popular choice for student residences, assisted living centers, and hotels across the country. In addition to its structural capabilities, CFS also offers time-saving benefits. CFS panels come with pre-drilled holes that allow for quick installation of mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems once the framing is complete.