Monday, June 13, 2016

Cold Formed Steel Framing: a factsheet

Source: CEMCO Steel Framing

Cold Formed Steel Framing (CFS)

CFS, produced by CEMCO Steel Framing, is ideally suited to midrise construction in high seismic areas for a variety of reasons.  Importantly, the strength to weight ratio of steel, which is unmatched by all other construction materials, makes it ideally suited for use in high seismic areas.  Because steel is lighter than most competing building materials, it generates lower seismic forces and less inertia when subjected to strong earthquakes.  In addition, steel framing members absorb energy unlike more rigid, inflexible materials. Cold-formed steel in particular also results in high precision members, and in this test program, components (entire walls and segments of floor) of the building have been prefabricated off-site and erected rapidly through panelized placement. In fact, the erection of the structural core of the building took only eight days.

Added benefits regarding the post-earthquake fire performance of steel include the fundamental aspect that steel is non-combustible.  It does not burn and does not contribute to the spread of fire nor to the intensity of the heat that result in most combustible construction.  The fire resistant nature of steel framing benefits building owners with lower insurance costs.

Another beneficial aspect is that steel is inorganic.  As such, its quality is always consistent.  The effects of climate, pests and fungi cannot inhibit the structural capacity of the steel framing components.  Their form and function remain stable throughout the life of the building that they support.  In addition, steel connections, whether by screws, pins, bolts, or welds provide a positive, consistent load path.

Last but certainly not least, steel is sustainable.  Steel products can be recycled infinitely.  Current industry recycle rates are estimate at 68%, though steel is truly 100% recyclable.

Sure-Board for Shear
CEMCO's Sure-Board sheet metal backed sheathing wall and floor panels were employed in this project to achieve sufficient wall and floor strength under design earthquake loading.  Like steel framing, Sure-Board is non-combustible, and is twice as strong as plywood.  A single Sure-Board panel replaces the need for installing multiple layers of shear and finish materials, and as a result construction is faster and more precise. Sure-Board has been utilized extensively as shear resistant sheathing on low and mid-rise projects across North America. 

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