Steel Framing: a fast, efficient way to refurbish

5 Jul 2017

When it comes to the modification of existing houses, two cases show the advantages of building in steel achieving fast and high-comfort solutions.

Two very different construction works share one characteristic: the intervention of existing housing that, for different reasons, needed a fast and high comfort solution. The first case is a semi-detached house which had to be extended by adding a music studio on the terrace, so the additional weight on the structure had to be restricted. Then, a house in La Plata which referred an array of pathologies jeopardizing its habitability. In each case, the planners considered that Steel Framing was a right solution.

Music box on the rooftop

On the rooftop of a semi-detached house, a space intended as a music room was built. The existing structure counted on limited capacity, therefore, it was essential to restrict the overweight that the new construction would add.

HAUSIT studio developed a structure completely separate from the party walls and the rooftop, supported by a five-legged platform that matches the position of the ground floor columns. Thus, the new work did not demand changing the existing runoff from the rooftop, which was on good condition.

Music room. The partially covered space was settled with the same profiling at sight.

“Each of the variables that affected the implementation of the project brought us closer to choosing Steel Framing as a building system,” explains engineer Sonia Ganem, from HAUSIT. This solution allowed us to reduce the weight of the new construction and to work in a faster and cleaner way in order to affect the owners of the house as little as possible; as they continued to live in the house during the whole work. Steel Framing was also suitable in terms of acoustic insulation, vital because of the goal of the project.

“To the technical aspects we had to solve, we had to add the interest by the owners to use sustainable materials and technologies,” says Ganem. And she adds: “In this kind of projects it is essential to test the interaction with what is preexistent and to succeed in finishing the work in as little time as possible. In this way, the consumption of materials is optimized and waste is avoided.”

The room is 18m2 and it can be accessed through a lapacho deck on the steel structure. In the partially covered space, settled with the same profiling at sight, the building method used can be inferred.

The external coating is corrugated sheet and wood and covers a multilayer system, which provides great hygrothermal insulation. The thermo-acoustic conditioning was settled with cellulose thrown on panels, under the roof and under ceiling. The system is completed with PVC high performance carpentry with DVH.

Building from foundations

Cristina, owner of a 72 m2 house located in La Plata city, contacted an architect sure that that her house could not be repaired. “There were all kinds of building defects: raised floors, cracked walls, humidity coming from the foundations, mold and fungi on the walls, loosening of plaster, etc.,” says Esteban Jáuregui with reference to the condition of the estate, only 10 years old.

House in La Plata. From the existing housing, the perimeter walls and the roof were preserved.

The lady had the possibility of taking out a loan in order to face a “major surgery” refurbishment, which the architect judged imperative. The work needed complete demolition to the ground, with the exception of the perimeter walls and the French tile roof cover over rafter and groove wood at sight. The foundations, installations and woodwork would be made anew. Steel profiles were placed on the walls and then coated to increase thermal insulation. While the internal partition walls were built with the Steel Framing system.

“As the size of the area was not increased, the municipal approval was not necessary. With the calculation and budget, the bank approved the loan,” explains Jáuregui, who named the work Phoenix 2, because if “The Phoenix aroused from its ashes, this one aroused from its ruins.”