Category | Steel

ArcelorMittal South Africa promotes Light Steel Frame building methods to improve energy efficiency

ArcelorMittal South Africa has over the past few years played a pivotal role in the promotion of the use Light Steel Frame Building (LSF) as part of its role to promote energy efficiency within the construction and building industry. As one of the Founder Members of the Southern African Light Steel Frame Building Association (SASFA), the company actively participates in promoting the steel content for LSF applications.

“ArcelorMittal South Africa is a prominent supplier of the galvanised steel coil used to profile LSF sections.” adds Melvin Hickers, Product Manager, Galvanised and Colour Coated Products at ArcelorMittal South Africa.

SASFA has recently co-ordinated the building of a 140 m² second floor on top of existing walls as part of a renovation of a masonry built house in Johannesburg. The building process was televised, and was broadcast on DSTV’s KykNET Channel as a 13 episode series. ArcelorMittal South Africa sponsored some 5 tons of galvanised sheet and Chromadek® towards the EkoStyl series. The television programmes focused on the LSF building methods for residential applications, aimed at home owners who wished to renovate their house in accordance with eco-friendly practices. EkoStyl featured two of ArcelorMittal South Africa’s products, namely ISQ550 high strength galvanised steel sheet for the light steel frame, and the heat reflective Chromadek® steel roofing.

What is a LSF structure?

Light steel frame building consists of structural wall frames, floor joists and roof trusses, manufactured from cold-formed light gauge galvanised steel sections. These sections are made using high strength thin gauge galvanised steel sheet. Exterior cladding can consist of a single skin brick wall or fibre cement board, fixed to the wall frames. Services such as electricity and plumbing are installed in the wall cavity created by the light steel frames, as is the insulation material. Gypsum board, fixed to the light steel frame, is typically used for internal wall cladding and ceilings.

Benefits of using LSF building methods

The innovative building method is well known in Australia, Europe, and the United States of America and has been used for more than 50 years. It offers numerous advantages which include quality, significant cost savings and cost efficiency and energy efficiency. It is also a relatively fast method for use in the erection for residential and non-residential buildings.

Research recently conducted by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) confirms that LSF buildings can have a significant impact in the reduction of electricity usage for heating and cooling of buildings to thermal comfort levels, as compared with non LSF structures. Thus, LSF structures are fast becoming recognised for their contribution to energy efficiency and preservation. In South Africa, LSF construction has its very own dedicated building code (SANS 517) which ensures alignment with international standards.

“The material is also thermally insulated as part of the building process thus less energy is required for the heating and cooling of buildings. According to CSIR findings, a LSF house will require less than half the heating and cooling energy required for a masonry building,” explains Melvin.

Other benefits of utilising the LSF building material as opposed to masonry construction material include the fact that the material is manufactured and assembled under controlled conditions and the steel used is of high quality. The walls of LSF buildings have a mass less than 10% of that of masonry walls, thus resulting in significant savings for transport and handling costs.