Home Buyers

Be good to yourself

Most houses are built with wood, so why be different?  Why build with steel?  Well, there are many benefits for you and your family.

It’s healthier:  Steel frames are much healthier for you and your family.  No toxic chemicals are used to treat steel, unlike the treatment of timber, and it won’t rot or support mould or mildew growth.  Steel frames have also been used to achieve allergen-free and dust-free interiors – Axxis® Steel is recognised by the Asthma and Respiratory Foundation of New Zealand as a ‘Sensitive Choice’ construction product that will assist in reducing the incidence of asthma attacks.  So you can breathe easier.

It’s fire-resistant:  Steel frames do not burn and will not contribute fuel to the spread of a fire.  In February 2013, the University of Auckland’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering conducted New Zealand’s first scientific investigation into the performance of light steel-framed housing in the event of a fully developed fire.  Basing the investigation on a real fire, the study compared the predicted failure times of the wall and ceiling linings.  The study calculated the fire exceeded 900C in the enclosure of origin and over 600C in the roof space.  The study showed the steel framing did not collapse in either the walls or ceiling.  This not only prevented the house from collapsing but meant that most of it remained weathertight after the event and that the fully developed fire was restricted to the enclosure of origin.  Even more telling was the fact that a significant portion of the steel framing could have been cleaned and reused after the event.  This investigation demonstrated that light steel framing does perform extremely well in the event of a fire and significantly reduces the chances of damage to the structure as a whole.  So you can feel safer.

It’s stronger:  When building a home, we spend more time on aesthetics like kitchens and bathrooms, and we don’t think about the building’s frames.  But the frames are what hold the house together.  The stronger – or weaker – the framing, the stronger – or weaker – our house.  Steel frames are so strong they have been proven in recent controlled testing to withstand earthquakes of up to nine of the Richter Scale.  So you can feel more secure.

It’s longer-lasting:  Ezisteel uses Axxis® Steel, a galvanised, high-tensile steel specifically designed for New Zealand’s house-framing market.  This product has a 50-year durability statement backed by New Zealand Steel. 1However, tests in Europe have shown the predicted design life of the same steel coated product that is used in New Zealand is over 200 years, provided the building envelope is well insulated and properly maintained.  So you can be confident.

It gives you more options:  From a design perspective, steel-framing allows you to widen your horizons – literally. With one of the highest strength-to-weight ratios of all construction materials, steel delivers excellent spanning capability. This makes it perfect for creating wide, open spaces; as well as innovative building shapes and non-conventional roof lines. It’s also ideal for building on sloping or difficult sites. Steel framing will enhance your creative vision – giving you the freedom to create distinctive, highly-individualised buildings.  So you can be creative.

It’s superior:  The rollforming technology behind steel-framing gives a high degree of dimensional accuracy, enabling consistently straight walls, square corners and an overall superior finish. The exactness that comes from building this way helps follow-on trades to fit internal linings, kitchens and other cupboards. Plus the stability of steel means no contraction or expansion with moisture changes, so frames won’t warp, twist, sag or shrink, eliminating many of the maintenance issues that create builder call-backs.  So you can be spot on.

A tough choice?

If two products are similar in cost, but one gives you heaps of extra value, which would you choose? The price of timber frames and steel frames for the average Kiwi house is very similar.  But that’s where the similarities end.

Steel offers much greater strength, hugely improved durability, much better fire resistance and a healthier, chemical free environment. It also allows you to build ‘bigger’. Steel’s strength allows for a home with larger open areas and larger doors and windows to make the best of a view, or that make the indoor-outdoor flow seamless. It offers bigger spans at an affordable price so you don’t have to compromise on your dream home.

So, while the cost is similar, the advantages are massive. Which will you choose?

1 Lawson R.M., Popo-Ola, S.O., Way, A., Heatley, T. and Pedreschi, R.: Durability of light steel framing in residential applications. Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers, Construction Materials 163(2), 2010, pp. 109–121