WHY COLD-FORMED STEEL (CFS)
WHAT ARE THE ECONOMICAL BENEFITS?
A recent study sponsored by the Steel Framing Industry Association (SFIA), “Costs to Build with Cold-Formed Steel Versus a Wood-Framed Building,” addresses framing costs on behalf of architects, building owners, and general contractors.
While the research was completed before the current spike in wood prices, “Costs to Build” establishes that CFS framing and wood framing costs in mid-rise structures are essentially the same, when construction insurance premiums associated with using the selected material are included.
COLD-FORMED STEEL SLASHES CONSTRUCTION WASTE (AND COSTS)
Waste is a growing concern in the construction industry, posing significant risk to the environment. In 2014 alone, 534 million tons of construction and demolition (C&D) debris were generated in the U.S. — more than twice the amount of municipal solid waste generated that year.
But the effects extend to a building owner’s budget and profits, too. In general, the more waste a project produces, the less profitable it will be, considering the price paid for unused materials, as well as the cost of waste handling.
Building with cold-formed steel (CFS) framing offers a solution that addresses these concerns. The Steel Recycling Institute confirms that steel is the most recycled material on the planet — more than all other materials combined. Steel retains an extremely high overall recycling rate, which, in 2014, stood at 86 percent. The metallurgical properties of steel allow it to be recycled continually with no degradation in performance, and from one product to another.
CFS is also an efficient building material, as evidenced by its high sustainability rating. According to the Steel Framing Alliance, CFS is positioned to meet the highest sustainability standards. Steel is recognized in all major green building standards and rating programs, including the National Green Building Standard (ICC-700) for residential buildings, ASHRAE Standard 189.1 for commercial construction, and the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED program, which covers all types of buildings.
Strategic waste reduction through the use of CFS framing helps building owners and developers reign in project costs, protect the environment, and boost their bottom lines. Here’s how.
Municipalities across the nation also offer incentives for building projects that obtain LEED certification (the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design green building rating system). The State of Nevada, for instance, provides property tax abatements to private sector building owners and developers for buildings that earn LEED certification. And cities like Cincinnati give property tax abatements for residential and commercial buildings constructed or renovated to meet LEED standards.
Incentives to build green come from consumer preferences as well. A recent Harris Poll found that more than 80 percent of renters surveyed believed that green properties offer better places to live. A new study by AMLI also confirmed that 84 percent of apartment residents thought that living in sustainable or green residences was important. High-performance buildings constructed to LEED criteria are attracting tenants, and these projects save owners money through energy and water efficiencies during long-term building operations.
With so many financial reasons to construct environmentally responsible buildings, choosing materials that contribute those sustainable efforts is key. Cold-formed steel (CFS) framing can help create sustainable, LEED-certified buildings in a variety of ways.
COLD-FORMED STEEL FRAMING CAN HELP PREVENT MOLD
Mold growth can be a serious concern for owners and tenants in older buildings — and for good reason. Mold is known to contribute to a variety of health-related issues. What’s discussed less frequently, however, is that mold growth isn’t limited to older buildings. New construction can harbor potentially harmful fungi, too.
To keep future building occupants safe, it’s important to consider the possibility of mold from the beginning of your project and choose a construction material that can help guard against it, such as cold-formed steel (CFS) framing.