Steel Framing FAQs
Is it true that the weight of a steel frame is only one third that of timber?
Yes. All New Zealand steel framing is made from thin gauge, high tensile steel, meaning that the frames are approx. 1/3 of the weight of comparable timber framing.
Will the building cost more?
No. The cost of the consent will be determined by the overall cost of the building not the material of the framing. Most Building Consent Authorities have had Light Steel Frames (LSF) erected in their area and are now familiar with the procedure for consenting steel frames. Usually the fabricator will supply engineered detail drawings for your consent application. NASH also provides support and has an excellent relationship with MBIE officials.
How do I hang a picture on the wall of a steel framed house?
The answer is, carefully. You can hang a picture of up to 10kg directly into GIB board using proprietary fasteners such as a Wall mate or a toggle bolt. For heavier objects such as a mirror or a flat screen TV, they must be fixed through to the metal studs. These can easily be found with a magnet or by tapping and will normally be at 600mm centers. It is best to use a metal angle or bracket between two studs and do not pre-drill the hole but use a self-drilling screw.
What is the difference in cost between timber and steel framing?
This naturally varies with the volume purchased and the design adopted but generally, steel is similar in cost to timber and the final constructed cost will be the same or less for a house of comparable size and quality.
Although framing costs are only around 10% of the total building cost, steel provides other cost advantages. Steel is a lot faster to erect, and frames are much easier to handle. Costs are reduced because there are usually no callbacks or cracking to plaster linings.
Is steel framing a New Zealand idea?
No. Steel framing has been around in New Zealand for over 50 years. In South Australia 30% of new homes are steel and Australia-wide the percentage is 15%. In Hawaii it is 40% and Japan builds 150,000 steel homes every year.