Light Gauge Steel Frame
Used around the world for many years, light gauge steel (LGS) frames are rapidly becoming a popular option for house builders in the UK
Light gauge steel (LGS) has been used around the world as a building framing system for many years and it is now rapidly becoming a popular option for mainstream house builders in the UK due to its advantages over more traditional masonry and timber in terms of its strength, weight, and speed of build.
LGS frames are manufactured in a factory
Like timber, LGS frames are manufactured in a factory. Made from galvanised steel plate just 1 to 3mm thick, this non-combustible material can be used for all parts of the building – structural and non-structural elements, internal and external walls, floors, and roof.
LGS obtains its strength by bending (cold forming) steel plate into C-section lengths, each precision cut to millimetre accuracy and designed to perform a specific function.
Service holes for wiring and plumbing runs are typically cut into the frame as it is formed, before being fabricated into panels and delivered to site.
Because panels up to 14m in length can be transported, LGS frames are quick to build – a 200-300sqm house can be erected and weatherproofed in as little as a week, greatly speeding up a typical build program.
Steel is a stable material that does not warp, shrink or rot. Because it has a high load-bearing capability, it is also possible to incorporate concrete flooring above ground level, making it ideal for complex bespoke projects.
Steel frames can be used with any external finishes such as render, brick, and glass
So, what are the drawbacks? Well, steel can be more expensive than an equivalent timber frame but that extra cost is generally offset by savings elsewhere in the project such as less complex foundations or the need for additional structural support.
You will need to engage a specialist engineer to design and detail the frame and once signed off there is little room to make changes.
The frame can take up to eight weeks to be made and delivered and will need to be paid for up front.
For the more hands-on selfbuilder it is harder (but not impossible) to assemble the frame yourself and will require some specialist equipment including a crane for heavy lifting, but there are specialist framing contractor like Nexusmodular.co.uk who will design, build and erect a steel frame on your behalf.