Frequently asked questions

If you have any further questions that we havent addressed here, please email us or call ... someone will be here to help.
Steel Frame Specialists. Architectural Detailers. Project Support. 

CALL 0800 254 259

My Architect has designed our new home in timber. Can I convert my plan from wood to steel?

Yes. Most steel frames are made to the same dimensions as standard timber dimensions and therefore there is no problem in converting your plans to steel. We provide full Architectural support to Architects and Designers and follow this through with Consenting, Site and Construction support if required. We are happy to work with your Architect to make it all work.

What is the difference in cost between timber and steel framing?

This naturally varies with the volume that one buys and the design adopted but generally speaking steel is similar to timber. It is likely that the framing costs would be about the same although framing costs are only about 10% of the total building cost, however there are other cost advantages when using steel where significant cost savings can be made. Steel is a lot faster to erect, and frames are much lighter and easier to handle. Money is saved because there are usually no callbacks for frame straightening or cracking to plaster linings.
 
Therefore the final constructed cost will be the same or less for a house of comparable size and quality

My Builder is unsure how to build with steel. Will he be able to handle it?

Yes. Most builders start out feeling a little afraid and usure of what to do. To assist, we have some of New Zealands most experienced people available to help the builder through the differences and to also help manage the building inspections and local authorities.
Once the builder has had exposure to Steel Framing then they usually and very quickly become competent with the product and enjoy working with it. 
The immediate benefits are speed, cleanliness, manouverability and no site waste. This is followed up by not having to wait for drying or having to straighten the frames for further work to carry on.

What sized projects do you work on?

Synergy Architecture has a team of Detailers that do Architectural Consent Plans and Steel Frames. Recently we have been working on multiple housing projects with 140+ houses in each. We have also been involved in Light Commercial work and Retail Shopping complexes. We are almost always working on one off builds for housing companies and owner builders. So we can handle most residential projects.

How do I hang a picture on a Steel Frame wall?

The question we get asked most frequently .... It depends on the weight of the picture and the gib board. You can hang a picture up to 10 kg directly into gib board using proprietary fasteners such as a Wallmate or a toggle bolt. For heavier objects such as a mirror or a flat screen TV, they must be fixed through to the metal studs. These can easily be found with a magnet or by tapping and will normally be at 600mm centres. Do not pre-drill the hole, instead use a Tek Screw or self tapping screw. These are readily available from your local hardware store..

Will vibrations loosen the screws or rivets?

No. All steel frames are designed and braced to resist wind and earthquake stresses and the number of fasteners is more than adequate to rigidly hold the house frame together. Furthermore because the steel is dimensionally stable including around screws and rivets they don’t work loose over time as can happen with timber.

How do I attach lining to the frame?

Gib-board linings are screwed either horizontally or vertically into the steel frame using self-drilling screws and a suitable wallboard adhesive. The correct board should be used where either a sound or fire rating is required.

Does lightning affect a steel-framed home more than any other and is steel framing dangerous
when lightning strikes?

No. The steel frame offers better protection than other construction materials because it is a good conductor and provides many paths to earth directly to the ground. Steel creates a positive earth and the electrical energy of the lightning is conducted straight to the ground. All steel frames are required to be earthed so the lightning has less effect because it is not released destructively within the building as with other materials or framing.

How do Steel Frames perform in an Earthquake?

Steel-framed structures benefit from steel’s inherent strength in the case of natural disasters, when they are likely to offer robust resistance to earthquakes, fires, hurricanes and extreme wind conditions.
Not only is steel strong, it is lighter than wood, which means less risk from foundation movement and lower stress on foundations.

What about the environmental impact of steel framing construction? 

The overall recycling rate of the steel industry is 66%, the highest in the country, offering an environmentally sound home framing alternative. Steel is 100% recyclable and can be used time again and again without losing its properties. Because it weighs less transport costs are lower and it doesn't end up as waste. So its environmental credentials are as good as timber framing

Aren’t steel frames noisier than timber? 

No. Steel homes are quiet inside. The exterior walls and ceiling are filled with thick insulation, restricting outside noise. Wood contracts as it dries and at ambient temperatures it expands whereas a steel framed home doesn't creak at all due to humidity variations and temperature changes have less effect.

A steel frame is mechanically jointed and in a well constructed and insulated home thermally induced movement is not an issue. Steel framing expands and contracts at rates very similar to the other materials used in building, which means it is unlikely that there will be noise or cornice cracking problems.

What is the difference in cost between timber and steel framing?

This naturally varies with the volume that one buys and the design adopted but generally speaking steel is similar to timber. It is likely that the framing costs would be about the same although framing costs are only about 10% of the total building cost, however there are other cost advantages when using steel where significant cost savings can be made. Steel is a lot faster to erect, and frames are much lighter and easier to handle. Money is saved because there are usually no callbacks for frame straightening or cracking to plaster linings.
 
Therefore the final constructed cost will be the same or less for a house of comparable size and quality

Is steel framing a good choice of material when looking to a build a healthy home?

A steel framed home is a healthy home. Steel framing does not leach toxic chemicals, it will not act as a food source for mould and in the unfortunate event of moisture ingress, will not rot or promote mould growth.
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