For the Professional more so than any other genre, Lightweight Construction and Advanced Building Materials in particular, will undoubtedly change the way in which designs are thought out in the future. With our reliance globally on various forms of energy, the ability to design performance into the structure will prove to be a major benefit, an added value for its occupants, its energy-efficiency/cost effectiveness and possible higher re-sale value in the future. It follows that a better understanding of building materials would be required when designing to achieve a high performance structure. There are various building material manufacturers based locally in South Africa and building materials that are imported from around the world with relevant design and specification information at hand.
The icons on the right highlight building materials most commonly used in performance driven construction. They are performance materials, manufactured to specification to offer the client a resilient, aesthetically appealing finish and above all else, a high performance structure. Should you consider a LSF structure as a “new build” or as an addition, contact a reputable roll-former manufacturer of light steel frame panels. LSF Construction in South Africa has its own building code (SANS 517) as well as an internationally recognised Association in SASFA. Such accredited roll-formers can be found on the SASFA website (refer to the Light Steel Frame icon on the left for more information)
Contact information for qualified individuals in the Lightweight construction industry as well as those associated with advanced building materials are at hand, we would suggest you visit the I’m an Associate page to begin with. Building material companies who have associated themselves with Advanced Building have qualified professionals at hand to assist you in your design and construction process. Alternatively, send a message to Advanced Building and we will direct your query to the relevant professional you are searching for.
Important to note, is that lightweight construction encompasses many different methods of construction and in time, Advanced Building will endeavour to cover these various accredited methods. For now watch this space, interact as a contributor and discover the possibilities that lightweight construction is able to deliver.
An example of a typical LSF wall panel is illustrated below, the numbers are a reference to the materials most often used on this panel.
A: Fibre Cement external cladding
The exterior surface is constructed from highly durable fibre cement building planks or boards, which offer many advantages compared to conventional plaster or timber. Fibre cement is waterproof and will not rot or cause paint to bubble. Consistent strength throughout the plank/board means that the plank will not crack. Fibre cement is also termite and rodent proof. Locally in South Africa, Everite-Nutec are the largest manufacturer of fibre cement. There are a small percentage of imported fibre cement goods but these would need to meet the standards set out by regulatory bodies. Durability, robustness, resiliant, creative & decorative are terms commonly used when referring to fibre cement materials.
One-way or two-way moisture resitant membranes allow your home to breathe, while eliminating moisture build-up in wall panels. Two way semi-permeable membranes may offer a better solution if locally obtainable. These would include products such as Isover’s “Vario”, Tyvek’s “Housewrap” or similar approved membranes that assist with allowing internal condensation to escape whilst preventing external moisture penetration.
C: Oriented Strand Board (OSB)
Oriented Strand Board (OSB) is manufactured from waterproof, heat-cured adhesives and rectangular strands of wood arranged in layers, resulting in an exceptionally strong board. This board will serve three main functions on the LSF structure, namely bracing, backing board for strength and a thermal barrier between external and internal temperature.
D: Glass Wool Insulation
Wall panels are filled with fire-proof glass wool that provides excellent insulation against heat, cold and noise. These superior thermal and acoustic insulation properties make a steel frame building quiter and more comfortable than a traditional brick or concrete structure. Apart from standard glass wool insulation, Isover manufacture a well known product both locally and abroad called “Cavity-Batt”. What sets this glass wool insulation apart from conventional insulation is that it has a rigid “backing” to the glass wool which when used in a vertical wall application, remains in place and does not sag as conventional glass wool would do over a period of time. This would prevent any thermal bridging from occuring. Currently in South Africa the SANS 204 (Energy Efficiency code) is out for public comment. The code has been designed to create thermally efficient structures, requiring less energy and thus providing the structure with a better thermal performance. The design requirements for current LSF structures already exceed the minimum requirements set out in this code and as such will provide for higher performing structures than current brick and concrete structures.
E: Galvanised Steel Frame
The building gets its outstanding strength from a lightweight steel frame that is designed using sophisticated computer software. The steel is coated with a combination of zinc and aluminium, which ensures that the frame will never rust. The amount of protection given to the steel (such as in the form of galvanising) is determined by factors such as how close to the coast the structure will be built, ext..
F: Interal Lining – Gypsum / Magnesium Oxide board
Gypsum boards provide a superior finish when skimming walls or ceilings when a clean skim is the desired internal finish. They are also able to be used in area’s requiring certain fire-ratings as well as in area’s of moisture. Magnesium-oxide boards are non-toxic, non-flammable and insect proof. It does not feed mold or mildew. It keeps its shape even if it gets wet and provides an excellent bonding surface for tiles, paint and other wall coverings. This type of board is best used internally as it does not fare well against strong external elements such as heavy rain.