It is refreshing to encounter a home owner that is confident enough to specify alternative building technology for building their new house.
Home owner Donald Keys appointed light steel frame construction company Futurecon as the turnkey contractor to build his 647 m² double-storey house, using light steel framing (LSF).
“From the outset we were committed to build a home that is off-grid and energy efficient,” said Keys when asked why he chose LSF.
“We have done a lot of research about alternative building methods which will allow optimal energy use, with reliable contractors in South Africa who are at the cutting edge lending itself to the modern design we had in mind.”
He notes that LSF ticked all the boxes. LSF is a no-brainer when it comes to energy and thermal efficiency as well as being kinder to the environment – “in my opinion this is the future of construction”.
He adds that it is a challenge to keep within the budget for such a complex project; however, the fact that LSF is more precise than brick and mortar makes it easier to control.
The cost is similar to that of brick and mortar in a project like this; however, costing precision and control is easier.
“We cannot give our contractor, Futurecon, enough credit. “The process has been seamless so far and Futurecon director Mitchell Walker and Futurecon junior quantity surveyor Riaan Jordaan have really gone beyond what is expected from a building contractor,” says Keys.
Southern African Light Steel Frame Building Association (Sasfa) director John Barnard explains that LSF is a ‘green’ twenty-first-century building method.
It is faster than masonry building and results in a lot less waste. It is dimensionally accurate, and provides neater finishes.
LSF buildings are well insulated, complying with South African National Standards (SANS) 204 and SANS 10400 XA. Standards are controlled by Sasfa, which drafted SANS 517, the building code for LSF in Southern Africa.
Owners and designers are encouraged to use Sasfa members for their LSF building.
Walker appointed Cape Town-based structural engineering firm By Design as project engineer. The managing agents for the estate did not initially want to allow the use of LSF; however, after Walker explained the process and advantages to them, it was readily accepted.
Foundations were completed towards the end of 2020, and Futurecon started with the LSF during February 2021. Some hot rolled steel was used, mainly for architectural expression. While Keys did not specify a tight building programme, he would like to move in by September 2021.
Barnard notes that, the light steel frame was supplied by LFS manufacturer LFS Co, fasteners were supplied by industrial equipment supplier Kare, and boards and insulation were supplied by building materials supplier CPW.
The external walls consist of the light steel frame wall panels, clad internally with fire resistant gypsum board. The external cladding consists of fibre cement board which will be finished using the Terraco external rendering.
“The speed of construction is impressive, with a small dedicated team on site. “This definitely contributes to making LSF cost-effective.”
“The site is neat and tidy,” Keys says.
When asked whether the company will meet the target completion date, Walker was confident that they would.