Move over heavyweights – lightweight is the trend of the future

by Darren
Move over heavyweights

The modern building method of using lightweight steel framing is taking South Africa by storm.


The increased demand of lightweight steel framing in the construction industry is a clear indication that this modern building method is taking South Africa by storm.

As its name suggests, a light-steel frame (LSF) building consists of a framework of structural wall frames manufactured from cold-formed, light-gauge, aluminium-zinc steel or galvanised steel sections.

This framework is then cladded on the exterior in single-skin brick or a layer of fibre cement board, and on the interior using plasterboard or fibre cement board. Electrical and plumbing services, as well as insulation, are installed in the wall cavity conveniently created by the light steel frames.

A typical roof structure also consists of a framework of lightweight, aluminium-zinc steel or galvanised steel trusses, clad in similar coated steel. 

Breaking down the benefits
Because the basic structure of an LSF building is pre-fabricated, one can expect a consistency of quality and an assembly speed that far surpasses that of traditional building techniques. With the mass of an LSF wall amounting to less than 10% when compared to a double-skin plastered brick wall, it follows that transport costs are also substantially lower. In addition, there is far less material wastage on site, which subsequently reduces the associated costs of hauling it away on completion of the project.

With these factors translating into an average cost saving of about 20%, LSF building is an option that is well worth considering for both new and retro-fit low-rise buildings, including the affordable housing market.

Lightweight steel framing has been globally successful because of its many positive attributes such as:
• Design flexibility.
• Environmental sustainability.
• Being lightweight.
• Efficient building time.
• Consistency of quality.
• Being a cost-effective solution.

Sustainability matters
Locally, aluminium-zinc (AZ) coated steel, branded ZincAL®, is produced by the only AZ manufacturer in South Africa, Safal Steel.

The company’s state-of-the-art facility, which is based in Cato Ridge, KwaZulu-Natal, manufactures under licence to BIEC International, the worldwide leader in the 55% aluminium-zinc coating technology. Its production processes have many environmental considerations to ensure a minimal impact on the environment. ZincAL® products act with sustainable integrity, offering great thermal attributes and an extended lifespan that surpasses galvanised steel.

Safal Steel
Tel: 031 782 5500
Website: www.safalsteel.co.za

Benefits of using lightweight steel:
• Pre-fabricated.
• Consistent quality.
• Quick assembly.
• Lower transport costs.
• Less material wastage.

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