The Advantages of Using Cold-Formed Steel in Construction

Discover the benefits of using cold-formed steel in construction projects and how it compares to traditional structural steel. Learn about its lightweight, cost-effective, and fireproof properties.

The Advantages of Using Cold-Formed Steel in Construction

When it comes to construction, there are various materials that can be used to create strong and durable structures. One such material is cold-formed steel, also known as light gauge steel (LGS). This type of steel is made by rolling structural-grade steel sheets through a series of dies, forming them into C-sections and other shapes without the need for heat. This results in a lightweight, cost-effective, and versatile material that is widely used in the construction industry. One of the main uses of cold-formed steel is for creating hat-shaped channels that are applied to walls or ceilings to reduce sound transmission or improve fire resistance.

This type of steel is also known for its high strength-to-weight ratio, making it ideal for load-bearing interior partitions in commercial construction. So, what sets cold-formed steel apart from traditional structural steel? The main difference lies in their production and framing methods. While structural steel is thicker and heavier and requires welding, bolting, or riveting for fastening, cold-formed steel can be easily installed using screws and pins. This not only makes the framing process faster but also results in less waste and lower costs. In addition to its ease of installation, cold-formed steel shares many performance characteristics with structural steel. Both materials are known for their durability, strength, affordability, ease of maintenance, and sustainability.

However, cold-formed steel has the added advantage of being fireproof, making it a popular choice for construction projects. When it comes to choosing between cold-formed steel and structural steel for a project, the weight of the material often plays a crucial role. In fact, a recent comparative study by the Steel Structure Industry Association (SFIA) showed that a 49,900 square foot, 5-story mixed-use apartment building constructed using cold-formed steel only cost 0.92% more than a similar building made of light-wood structures. With the rising cost of wood, more and more projects are turning to cold-formed steel as a cost-effective alternative. But it's not just about cost. Cold-formed steel also offers other advantages, such as pre-drilled holes in panels that allow for quick installation of mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems once the structure is complete.

This not only saves time but also reduces the risk of costly mistakes during installation. If you're considering using cold-formed steel for your construction project, it's important to do your research and determine if it's the right choice for your company. The Steel Structure Industry Association (SFIA) offers its members access to technical marketing, sustainability, and education services related to cold-formed steel structures. With the incorporation of North American standards for cold-formed steel structures into the International Building Codes, builders and designers can find comprehensive provisions for this type of construction material.