It is no secret the US Construction Industry has historically failed to keep up with demand. The current shortage of housing, affordable housing and multi-family has placed enormous pressure, increases in material costs, supply chain and logistic cost and availability. All of the afore mentioned have only been exacerbated by COVID impacts on a national and global scale.
With housing supply at its historical low and buyers demand at their absolute highest around the country, there remains zero evidence of any way traditional construction could ever meet the need, thus directly impacting the consumer with unattainable costs, lack of availability and impossible delays in new home construction. What is the solution?
While there is no proverbial “silver bullet” to meet an almost impossible supply need, the recent introduction of advanced construction methodologies, commonly used around the world for decades, have finally landed in the US with delivering real solutions to the growing crisis.
The residential market has historically only been provided 2 options to build wood or concrete. With both of these material options for construction suffering from severe material, quality cost and availability. There is a new material in town!
Cold Formed Steel (CFS) is a game changer.
While CFS has been used in the U.S. for decades, it has historically been relegated to a non-structural application (interior/demising walls). But as with the rest of the world, advancements in technology, engineering software, steel composition all combined with advanced, roll-forming technology CFS is now the preferred means, method and material for 100% multi-story, low to mid-rise CFS structures by owners, developers, architects, engineers, and general contractors residential and commercial applications for all of their advantages unavailable to traditional construction methods.
The advantages of cold formed steel as a construction material and methodology are too numerous to deny. The use of advanced CFS engineering and roll-forming bring about immediate, significant cost and schedule savings to every project. This is only for the physical framing alone but the savings are much, much more!
This approach provides for massive speed of fully pre-panelized, pre-notched, pre-drilled, pre-punched entire framing components (walls, floors joists and roof trusses) full labeled and sequenced hand-stick manual labor could never compete. It reduces labor by 2/3 less on the job site, removes the need for skilled carpenters and labor through 1mm tolerant machine manufactured components, all of which are fully labeled and sequenced for rapid installation. Can you start to see the where the game is being changed. We aren’t done. Now, with all the traditional skilled labor occurring inside the precision engineering software and roll forming machines, the follow-on trades (MEP’s) no longer have to cut or punch any holes on the job-site and only run their trades through openings already provided in the pre-assembled walls, trusses and joists. They are not faster and cheaper. But wait, there is more!
With less labor, faster speed to completion for the erection. What about the material itself? CFS is the most sustainable and strongest material strength to weight that is the only certified building material against seismic, cyclonic and fire. 100% of the manufactured material is recyclable and up to 67% of the original steel production from the mill is recyclable not only is it the most sustainable material available for construction, the technology application reduces the waste from any typical construction is 17-22% while CFS is less than 3%!
Now material and construction have been covered, there cant be anything else? Yes there is!
This introduction of the technology has proven to reduce cost to build, speed to completion using a superior material that resists cyclones, fire and earthquakes, while we have failed to mention that same material due to is perfectly square corners, and laser straight walls provide for far superior finishes with less skilled labor. No more nail pops, heaps of caulking and excess nails required to finish a typical wood framed home. Here in lies the beauty of the material. CFS is dimensionally stable and stronger as compared to wood. Wood inherently expands, contracts, cracks, twists and warps causing for excessive short, mid and long term maintenance and repairs. But when you add in the fact that CFS is pest and mold proof – can there be any other option for building with CFS versus any traditional material or methodology?
Last, these CFS manufacturers using the technology as described can manufacture the material off-site in a climate controlled factory, on-site in some cases, and as complete 100% turn-key modular units whereby the entire structure is completely finished in the factory, placed in a truck and delivered and set on and connected to the foundation bypassing all the elongated inspections that plagued traditional construction.
I think we can safely arrive at the conclusion that CFS offers the most reliable, stable, cost -effective, highest quality building solution to the US housing and general construction crisis. To compare CFS to traditional material and methods would be like connecting to the internet with dial-up phone router vs high-speed 5G technology. Higher quality, faster speeds, ease of use and lower cost.
At least we have been given a choice.