Your guide to Light Gauge Steel Construction Technology

This short guide will introduce you to another giant player in Kenya’s construction industry, albeit a little silent. For purposes of this guide, we have used TechnoConstruct’s Light Gauge Steel Construction as a template. As such, all specifications and projects we shall reference have been executed by them.

What is Light Gauge Steel Construction

Light gauge steel construction is very similar to wood framed construction in principle – the wooden framing members are replaced with thin steel sections. The steel sections used here are called cold formed sections, meaning that the sections are formed, or given shape at room temperature. This is in contrast to thicker hot rolled sections, that are shaped while the steel is molten hot. Cold formed steel is shaped by guiding thin sheets of steel through a series of rollers, each roller changing the shape very slightly, with the net result of converting a flat sheet of steel into a C or S-shaped section.

The steel used here is coated with zinc (called galvanized) or a mixture of zinc and aluminum (called zincalume or galvalume by some) to protect it from corrosion. The thickness of this coating can be varied to suit a range of environments. Typically, marine environments require the most protection, and dry, arid regions the least.

The thicknesses of steel used here range from about 1 to 3mm for structural sections, and 1 to 2mm for non-structural sections. The members are sized to roughly correspond to wood members: 2″x4″ and 2″x6″ are common sizes.

TechnoConstruct steel specs are Gauge 22 profiles of 89mm width. Effectively, the walls will be about 120mm thick.

How is the construction done?

Light Gauge Steel as a technology can be used in literally any project.

The first step in the construction is your proposed projects. You will need to have an Architect who will design your project to your own specifications. Many construction companies will connect you to an Architect they have worked with before should you not have an Architect versed in the Technology.

After submitting your designs (assuming contracts and financing have been done), they will design a structural steel frame based on your designs. The advantage with this system is that the structural designs are to World Standards and they can adjust then to comply with whichever Design Codes your Structural Engineer is versed with.

Once the structural designs have been approved by your Engineer, the steel sections will be formed in their factory on Mombasa Road. This process will produce smaller sections that are marked for identification and prepunched for fixing.

TechnoConstruct can produce sections equivalent to 5 2 bedroom houses in a day!

Depending on the size of the project, the sections can be assembled on site or at the factory but since they have been pre-punched and labelled, the whole assembly and site erection works will be a matter of days.

In terms of Speed, TechnoConstruct can complete a 2 bedroom house in 45 days.

What do they use for their walls?

Your guide to Light Gauge Steel Construction Technology | Internal walls | Pinned Directory Kenya

TechnoConstruct uses Magnessium Boards for their wall cladding. In terms of drywall construction, the material options you have would be fibre cement boards, magnessium boards, laminates, gypsum, or timber.

Magnessium Boards offer the highest ratings for both thermal and sound insulation. It would take at least 8 hours of intense fires to burn a magnesium board.

In between the boards, and within the steel framing, they will run your electrical and plumbing lines as well as sound and heat insulation. This technology thus offers amazing levels of comfort even when constructed in extremely hot regions.

What Can You Construct With Light Gauge Steel?

Straight out answer? Anything!

From residential homes, commercial complexes, schools, hospitals, clinics, bus stops and adding levels to existing structures, the technology is very versatile.

What is the Cost?

The Technology is able to sort of adopt to your budget. For instance, if you already have done your walling in stone, you might sign up for the steel trussing and roof covering.

In this area, we have seen that their costs compared to timber are very competitive and considering the long term benefits of a steel structure compared to a timber structure, it makes for a good selling point.

The roofing can work with any covering from Stone Coated Tiles, Clay tiles or roofing sheets. So your costs would vary depending on your choices.

Just to mention, TechnoConstruct enjoys a great partnership with Tactile Roofing Kenya and Corninx Ltd.  This mean, for a roofing project, you will get stone coated tiles and water gutters at amazing discounts and all done by one company.

For complete projects, the cost of construction with this technology is very comparative with that of normal construction. Starting out at about 25,000KES per square meter, a lot will depend on the kind of final look you are going for.

TechnoConstruct have split the cost of residential homes to vary depending on your budget. Here is a summary. These costs are exclusive of transport to site but inclusive of labor. For accurate cost indications please send an email to [email protected] 

Low Cost Between 25,000Kes-30-000Kes per square meter

  • Floor screed finish
  • Corrugated roofing sheets
  • Normal paint to walls
  • Basic plumbing and electrical fittings
  • Basic Steel casement doors and windows

Medium Cost Between 30,000Kes -35,000Kes per square meter

  • Choice of ceramic tiles on floor
  • Choice of profiled sheets or stone coated tiles on roof
  • Choice of textured paint finishes on walling
  • Kitchen Cabinetry with granitic worktops
  • Bathroom wardrobes
  • Steel Casement windows
  • Timber panel entrance doors
  • Standard Electrical and Plumbing installations
  • Glazed tiles in wet areas

High End – The costs will adjust depending on your choice of finishes and fittings.

Advantages of Light Gauge Steel

Light gauge steel structures have many of the advantages of light wood framed structures:

  • They are light, and allow quick building without heavy tools or equipment. Every component can easily be carried by hand – a house is like a carpentry job on a larger scale. The main tool is a light, handheld screw gun. Since steel is strong, LGS structures are lighter than wood framed structures of equivalent strength.
  • Their higher strength allows greater spacing between members when compared to wood frame construction: about 24″ (600mm) for LGS vs. about 16″ or 20″ (400 or 500mm) for wood. Fewer members translates to quicker construction times.
  • It is able to shape itself to any form, and can be clad and insulated with a wide range of materials.
  • It is easy to change or modify this construction at any point in its lifespan.
  • There are a great range of systems and products catering to this type of construction.
  • Eco-friendly 1% waste, 100% recyclable, no chemicals, protecting our forests
  • Non-combustible, Does not burn or contribute to spread of fires
  • Speed, Up to 50% FASTER than traditional construction methods
  • Affordable, Up to 15% CHEAPER than traditional & with speed factor, provides a rapid return on capital

For more information www.tc-africa.co.ke

 

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