The answers to some common questions that people ask us about our steel-frame kitset homes.
Will using steel cost more?
No. It is actually less expensive than timber. The price of traditional timber framing has been erratic and growing at a rate much faster than inflation; steel prices have only experienced small annual adjustments. Plus, it's a lot faster to erect, saving on manpower.
Because of modern computer production processes, the cost of steel framing is no more than a conventional framing system. The steel used to manufacture steel framing has traditionally been very stable in price and is now often less than other products. Add on savings you achieve during installation and your installed cost can be less than other systems.
What design can I use?
Steel framing is very flexible and can be used on any design. Steel’s superior strength to weight ratio means you can span greater distances and create unique spaces quite easily.
Will I have trouble with my permit?
No. The Frametek steel frames and trusses are designed to meet all current New Zealand Building Standards. Frametek supplies all the documentation you need including engineering design for the bracing of the building. In fact, Frametek will cover off any queries that arise during the resource consent process, that relate to the frames or trusses.
What about linings and claddings?
Plaster Board linings are glued and screwed to the internal walls and roofs and any cladding choice can be fixed to the external framing.
How do I hang pictures etc. to the wall?
Use a standard picture hook. To find a stud for heavy objects use a magnet or stud finder. Fix the hook with a self drilling Tek screw.
Is steel framing safe electrically, and from lightning?
Yes. The steel frames offer better protection than any other construction system because the frames are earthed and all new housing is required to be fitted with “safety switches” to protect against earth leakage in the wiring. Being earthed, the steel frame will conduct any strike directly to earth, reducing the likelihood of explosions, secondary fires, or personal injury.
How is electrical and data cabling installed in steel framing?
The studs and plates have factory punched service holes to facilitate easy cable installation. Grommets can be fitted to protect cables and additional service holes can be drilled or punched on site, if required.
Can steel framed homes be built on piers or concrete slabs?
Either. Steel frames can be fixed to a concrete slab or fixed to a lightweight steel floor system on brick, concrete or steel piers. Lightweight steel flooring systems are ideal for elevated or sloping slights as they can minimise foundation requirements.
Are more trade skills required to work with steel framing?
No. Constructing and finishing frames is about geometry, accuracy and familiarity with tools and procedures. Most trade operations with steel framing are the same as with timber. Some trade operations require specific information provided by Frametek while others need less and are simpler.
Can I have my frames and trusses pre-assembled, and are there any advantages in their off-site construction?
Yes, and the advantages are:
- Able to be stood up in inclement weather
- Shorter onsite construction time
- Lessens impact on local environment
- Safer construction
- Factory production minimizes material wastage
- Wastage and trimming are recyclable
- CAD integrated technology ensures precision components
- Eliminates the requirement for on-site skilled labour
- Just in time delivery – no need for onsite storage
- Ideal for situations where site access is difficult or restricted
- Easy to assemble, just follow the supplied layout plans
- Allows roof to be placed earlier
- Less overall labour costs
How do you assess your steel frame quality?
The frame of your building is hidden from view, but in reality there is much more to wall framing than meets the eye. The wall frame determines the quality of the build in both the short term and the long term. For instance, you need to think about:
- How straight are your walls?
- How flat are your walls and ceilings?
- How square are your rooms/corners?
- How straight is your roof?
- Do your doors or windows jamb?
- Have nails popped in the plaster walls?
- Has the plaster cracked?
- Can structural pests cause damage without your knowing?
- Does your home leak?
- Does your home squeak?
Why is a high-quality frame imperative?
1. With framed construction – the most common building choice for New Zealand homes – the contribution of the frame to the durability and longevity of the home is immense. The frame bears or transfers wind loads, and most dead and live loads to which the home is subjected. It also supports all the cladding and lining materials and most fixtures. Failure of the frame to fulfil this function indefinitely in any part of the home can have serious consequences.
2. The frame provides the strength, stiffness and geometric stability of the building. Its ability to stay straight and square indefinitely, through varying seasons with temperature and humidity changes, is vital to just about everything attached to it – the brick/exterior cladding, roof tiles or sheeting, window units, door frames, plasterboard wall linings, ceramic tiles and so on.
Is steel an advantage if you you have a site at the end of a long track or perched on a steep slope?
1. You don’t need to ship in expensive cranes and lifting equipment and most of the time you can do the construction without help.
2. Occasionally you may need some extra muscle, during set up and lifting roof trusses, but most of the assembly is a one or two person activity. Husband and wife teams can easily lift the trusses into place.
If you want to position a house hanging off a mountain high above a gorge where access is difficult, or well off the beaten track, is a steel frame is the way to go?
Yes. We can engineer your design to meet all building and council regulations and work with youto get you or your builder started.
Will steel framing affect my TV, radio or phone signals?
No. Electromagnetic waves pass through the spaces between studs allowing the use of all of the radios, phones, and television sets in your home.
Is steel framing energy-efficient?
Yes. Steel framing is designed to meet or exceed governmental energy efficiency standards. In addition, by staying straight and true, the steel framing helps prevents cracks due to shrinking or warping, thus preventing air leaks that result in costly loss of energy.
Does a steel-framed home look any different?
Your home does not need to look any different than your neighbour's and will sell just as easily. Because of steel's high strength and durability, your house should last and retain its value for a long time. In fact, if you take advantage of steel's strength and flexibility by designing wide open spaces, you will have additional selling feature.