Steel Framing: five tips to manage the work

11 Oct 2017

Experts in structure building with steel profiles explain how to deal with these kinds of works and where to pay special attention to make the most of the system.

Steel Framing is a dry building system that requires production and management procedures prior to the beginning of the work as a key step to profit from one of the most attractive features of steel construction: a reduction in building times. “The work with Steel Framing involves lots of documents that ensure the reduction of assembly and mounting times of the structure,” highlights engineer Sonia Ganem from HAUSIT.

Being a comprehensive construction process, it is not limited to panels with plaster plates, but it comprises a bigger complexity of structural and resolution variables; thus it is important not to underestimate the construction management process to assure the final quality.

The first stages of the work are essential. “From the land movement to the placement of the last transom, 50% of the work will be executed. That is why, these stages are so important as they will provide stability and security,” points out Paula Ale, Business Manager of Perfiles JMA.

Experts have developed a list with suggestions to be considered when in the construction manager role:

1) Programming

It is always good to count on a well-organized Gantt chart, which includes all the tasks of the work, from the cleaning of the land to the placement of the last plaster plate. This will provide organizational advantage, which will improve the execution times and avoid the cancellation of future tasks. In addition, it gives information on what guilds can be involved in the work and when. Work programming enables a significant reduction in the execution times as long as the delivery of materials goes with the process.

2) Foundation

Steel Framing adapts to different types of foundations, from the most common resolution with a plate to that of a piling beam system. It is always advisable to choose the system after the corresponding soil survey. In general, a foundation plate is preferred as it equally distributes the loads around the surface.

At this point, the manager must pay attention to the interaction with wet work as, in most cases, the mounting of the metal structure is done over the traditional work. It is very important to guarantee two aspects: the leveling of the support structure and the sealing of both contact surfaces (steel and concrete), in order to avoid air leaks and acoustic bridges. The sealing do not normally stop water filtration, so it is essential to sort out the building detail with extreme care, in such a way that the external levels are always below the internal levels.

3) Panelization

For the assembly and mounting of the metal structure, a lot of documents are needed. The work management must be in charge of a strict quality control, and thus guarantee that the pre-assembled elements comply with the specific characteristics of the plans.

Any necessary adjustments during this process should be done as early as possible, because the more advanced the mounting process is, the more complex it becomes to make corrections and/or amendments. Brackets, plumb bobs and bubble levels verification from the very beginning guarantees a correct development of the work as a whole.

The work can be panelized in a workshop or on site, and basically, the decision will be based on the correct leveling of the plate. Panelizing outside the work leaves no room for possible mistakes during the execution of the plate leveling since it could imply a change, delaying the schedule.

If any unevenness is detected in advance at any of the points, panelization on site could be preferred, taking into account the complexity and logistics implied. However, the advantage is that it allows correcting certain differences on the spot and to adjust them to those projected in the workshop design, as long as they are not excessive.

In order to do so, it is necessary to count on the required engineering, which adds accurate data on measurements, panel complexity, etc. In turn, the workers should manage the documents to cut the profiles and place them on the plate, prior reconsideration of the structure together with the sill and transom elements. Later, the plate level should be corrected with lean concrete subfloor and leveling layer.

4) Subcontract Coordination

The coordination of contractors’ admission, especially related to profile drilling, requires a specific follow-up. It is important to evaluate the laying to avoid overlapping and to plan the drilling beforehand. It must be taken into account that drilling weakens the resistance of other crossing transoms and, therefore, must be controlled.

5) Installations and finishing

Once OSB panels and crosses belonging to the structural stage have been placed, 50% of the work will have been concluded. One of the biggest advantages of dry construction is its versatility to add necessary elements quickly and efficiently, which is essential during the installations. These tasks within the work are done in a clean and tidy way, and can be complemented along with the activity of other guilds, which reduces installation times of any system.