18th Aug 2023 -

As traditional framing materials such as timber and concrete can experience challenges in meeting stringent time constraints, steel frame systems (SFS) continue to emerge as a compelling alternative. Not only can SFS accelerate project completion, but they also offer enhanced structural integrity and efficiency. By exploring the key features of utilising SFS in construction projects, we will uncover how this modern approach can streamline various phases of a project, from design and fabrication to assembly.

What are the key benefits of accelerating project schedules through SFS?

Accelerating project schedules through SFS integration brings a collection of advantages that resonate with architects, builders, and construction project managers. Below, we profile these distinct benefits to help you determine why building a steel framing system for shorter construction timelines is a viable solution.

Reduced risk exposureAccelerated schedules mitigate risks related to external factors, such as weather disruptions or regulatory changes, safeguarding project timelines.
Budget managementSpeedy and efficient schedules lead to reduced project durations, helping you to manage budgets more effectively.
Client satisfactionQuicker project completion enhances client satisfaction by delivering projects on time or even ahead of schedule.
SustainabilityFaster project completion through SFS allows you to showcase your commitment to sustainable design principles by minimising construction-related environmental impacts.
Design iterationShorter construction timelines provide architects with the flexibility to iterate on designs more rapidly, refining and enhancing projects before construction begins.
Efficient resource allocationAccelerated schedules allow you to optimise material deliveries, labour schedules, and equipment usage for maximum efficiency.

How to save time with SFS construction

In addition to the varied benefits of SFS, integrating these systems into construction practices promotes a new era of speedy project schedules. Here, we take a look at how SFS transforms the construction landscape, enabling projects to reach completion faster while maintaining exceptional quality. 

1. Prefabrication and modularisation

Whether you are working on a roof, wall or floor project, SFS involves the fabrication of steel components off-site in controlled environments. This prefabrication approach minimises on-site work and disruptions, as pre-made components are assembled quickly and accurately. The modular nature of SFS allows for parallel processing, where various project parts can be constructed simultaneously, compressing the overall timeline.

2. Efficient construction

The light yet strong properties of steel make SFS structures quicker to erect than traditional framing materials. Because of this, the ease of handling and assembling steel components such as SFS track and stud, along with precision engineering, results in faster construction times. Also, SFS eliminates the need for extensive curing times often required with concrete structures.

3. Streamlined design and planning

SFS can seamlessly integrate with Building Information Modeling (BIM) software, facilitating collaborative design and coordination among different stakeholders. This technology-driven approach helps you to identify and resolve conflicts or design issues early on. Also, adopting BIM can help to reduce costly revisions during construction and ensure a smoother, faster process.

4. Reduced site disruptions

Compared to traditional methods, utilising SFS minimises on-site disruptions, noise, and waste generated during construction. With fewer on-site activities and faster assembly, neighbouring businesses or residents will experience less inconvenience. As a result, this can also avoid legal or regulatory hurdles.

5. Adaptability and future expansion

When you install a steel frame building structure, it allows for easy modifications and expansions, providing flexibility for future changes in its use or layout. This adaptability reduces the need for extensive teardowns and reconstructions, saving time and resources in the long term.

6. Shorter project life cycle

The rapid construction pace with steel frame construction translates into quicker project turnovers, which allows owners to benefit from returns on investments sooner. This is particularly beneficial for clients working in industries with fast-changing market demands.

7. Enhanced quality control

An SFS system benefits from rigorous factory quality control measures, resulting in consistent and high-quality components. As a result of these in-depth quality checks, minimises the likelihood of on-site errors and rework, further contributing to time savings on project schedules. 

Common mistakes to avoid when accelerating SFS project schedules

While utilising steel frame systems deliver great potential for accelerating construction schedules, an efficient approach is essential to avoid pitfalls. We look at the common mistakes that can hinder the expedited installation of SFS. Mitigating these common mistakes through careful planning, effective communication, and adherence to best practices can help ensure you deliver a successful and efficient installation. 

Skipping quality control

A lack of quality checks during fabrication can result in unevenly cut or misaligned SFS components, leading to challenges during the assembly process.
Solution: Establish quality control checkpoints at key stages of fabrication and the installation stages to promptly identify and rectify inaccuracies.

Overlooking site preparation

Inadequate site grading causes foundation discrepancies, causing delays in aligning SFS accessories and components properly.
Solution: Be sure to conduct thorough site preparation, including accurate grading and levelling, before you start with the SFS installation to ensure proper alignment.

Neglecting regulatory approvals

Delay in obtaining necessary permits for SFS installation, causing a halt in construction progress.
Solution: You should begin the permission application process early and maintain clear communication with regulatory authorities to expedite approval timelines.

Inaccurate sequencing

Starting steel frame systems installation before utility connections leads to clashes and disruptions during the assembly process.
Solution: Develop a comprehensive construction sequence that considers the integration of SFS installation with other construction activities, utilities, and finishes.

Underestimating time for connections

Allocating insufficient time for precise alignment and connection of SFS components, causing delays in assembly progress.
Solution: Make sure to carve out sufficient time for precise connection of SFS components. Also, include buffer time in the project schedule to account for any potential unexpected delays.

Inadequate contingency planning

Experiencing some unexpected changes in SFS design requiring additional time for revisions, causing project delays.
Solution: Think about developing contingency plans that account for potential design changes, material shortages, or unforeseen challenges. This will ensure your project progress remains on track.

Rushing inspections

Skipping or rushing through the final inspections of SFS connections, resulting in non-compliance issues and the need for corrective actions.
Solution: You should prioritise thorough inspections of SFS connections and installations, involving third-party inspectors if necessary, to ensure compliance and quality.

How does SFS installation timelines compare to traditional framing?

Calculating the exact time difference between SFS installation and traditional framing such as concrete or timber is difficult to gauge because it depends on various factors. These details include the size and complexity of the project, the proficiency of the construction team, and the specific methods used. However, as a general guideline, SFS installation often offers notable time savings compared to traditional framing methods. Below is an estimated comparison to take into consideration. 

SFS installation

  • Prefabrication time: Off-site fabrication of steel components typically takes a few weeks to a couple of months, depending on your project's scope.
  • On-site assembly: The on-site assembly of prefabricated SFS components is significantly faster compared to traditional framing. It may take a few days to a few weeks, depending on the size of the building and the project’s complexity. 
  • Overall time: In total, steel frame systems installation can result in a project timeline reduction of approximately 25% to 40% compared to traditional framing methods.

Traditional framing installation

  • Material preparation: The on-site material preparation, such as cutting, shaping, and treating wood or concrete, can take up to several weeks.
  • Assembly: On-site assembly of components can be time-consuming, often requiring several weeks to months, especially for larger or more complex structures.
  • Curing times: If concrete is used, curing times for foundations, walls, and other structural elements can add significant duration to the construction process.
  • Overall time: Traditional framing methods typically have longer construction timelines compared to SFS. This can potentially extend your project schedule by several weeks to months.

Where to buy SFS fixings and components with confidence

At Building Materials Nationwide, we take pride in offering a comprehensive range of cutting-edge SFS framing components that redefine construction efficiency and durability. Our steel frame systems range encompasses various precision-engineered steel components, intelligently designed to streamline construction while ensuring uncompromising structural integrity. Whether it is commercial complexes, residential developments, or industrial structures, our SFS components stand at the forefront of modern construction. 

Opening a trade account is a swift and hassle-free process. Enjoy competitive trade pricing, quick UK delivery options, and a diverse spectrum of tools and materials tailored to your specific needs. By joining us, you unlock the potential of SFS and an extensive range of premium building materials, all while benefiting from a dedicated and knowledgeable trade service. Either sign up online or give us a call to learn how we can help with your construction projects.