The Advantages of Cold-Formed Steel Framing

Discover the many benefits of using cold-formed steel framing in your next construction project. From shorter construction times and cost savings to durability and environmental friendliness, CFS is rapidly becoming the preferred choice for developers looking to ma

The Advantages of Cold-Formed Steel Framing

As a structural engineering executive with over 20 years of experience designing cold-formed steel, I have seen firsthand the many benefits that this construction material offers. From its non-combustible nature to its resistance to extreme environmental and seismic loads, explosion threats, and ballistic penetration, cold-formed steel (CFS) is one of the strongest and most sought-after materials in the construction industry. In this article, I will discuss the advantages of using cold-formed steel framing and why it is rapidly becoming the preferred choice for developers looking to maximize their ROI. CFS is created by profiling components from structural-grade steel sheets at room temperature, making it a stable, durable, cost-effective, and architecturally flexible option for construction projects. According to Occupational Health & Safety (OH&S), CFS structures using advanced construction automation systems are superior to traditional construction methods for several reasons.

Let's take a closer look at these advantages.

Shorter Construction Times

One of the main benefits of using CFS is that it significantly reduces construction time. Compared to traditional construction methods that use heavy materials like concrete and masonry, building with CFS can take three or more months off the schedule of a medium-rise project. This reduction in construction time translates to lower fixed project costs and faster project completion.

Minimal Material Waste

Traditional construction methods often result in up to 20% material waste, which can add up to significant costs over multiple projects. However, FRAMECAD states that CFS waste can be practically non-existent, amounting to less than 1% of the total project cost.

This is a significant advantage for developers looking to minimize costs and maximize efficiency.

Cost Savings

Another reason why CFS is gaining popularity in the construction industry is its potential for significant cost savings. While the material costs per unit (pound or plank foot) may be similar to wooden structures, 70% of the construction cost is labor. The high strength-to-weight ratio of steel allows for fewer elements to be used in assemblies, resulting in cost savings. For example, instead of using a king-shaped frame and a wooden strut, we can use a jamb with a strut, reducing the number of elements needed for the structure.

Impervious to Damage

The high pressure at which cold-rolled steel forms makes it impervious to rot, mold, and damage caused by insects, termites, and vermin.

This durability makes CFS an ideal choice for construction projects in areas prone to these issues.

Code-Approved Solution

It is essential to note that building codes require that cold-formed steel structures, whether indoor or outdoor, be designed by a licensed architect or engineer. This ensures that the structure meets all safety and building code requirements and is a practical, code-approved solution for many of the limitations faced by builders in their projects.

Speedy Construction

Steel structures also speed up construction time as CFS panels come with pre-drilled holes, allowing for quick installation of electrical cables, pipes, and mechanical systems. This feature can significantly reduce construction time and costs.

Environmentally Friendly

Cold-formed steel is 100% recyclable, making it an environmentally friendly choice for construction projects. This also helps developers obtain LEED certification for their projects, which can be a significant selling point for environmentally conscious clients.

Specialized Engineers

The specialized engineer responsible for designing the cold-formed steel structure is usually hired by the subcontractor.

This engineer will then rely on a specialized structural engineer, such as a cold-formed steel engineer, to design the elements of the structure and produce a set of workshop drawings. This ensures that the structure is designed and built to the highest standards of safety and quality.

Resources and Technical Guides

For those embarking on a cold-formed steel structure project, there are many useful resources and technical guides available. These can provide valuable information and guidance on best practices for designing and constructing with CFS.


In conclusion, cold-formed steel framing offers numerous benefits that make it a superior choice for construction projects. From shorter construction times and minimal material waste to cost savings, durability, and environmental friendliness, CFS is rapidly becoming the preferred framework component in commercial construction.

As the leading single-source solution for everything needed to succeed in the cold-formed steel industry, International Steel Framing is committed to promoting the use of this innovative construction material. I hope this article has shed some light on the advantages of using cold-formed steel framing and why it is an excellent choice for your next construction project.