Light Gauge Steel Frame is most economic form of Domestic Construction
A 2008 BRE report “SmartLIFE Lessons Learned” published the results from a pioneering housing demonstration project of 106 homes studied on 3 sites in Cambridgeshire.
The SmartLIFE Housing Demonstration Project was conducted to find the best ways the UK can deliver a greater volume of sustainable, affordable and high quality homes in less time, using both traditional and innovative methods of construction.
The project involved 140,000 hours of monitoring and it concentrated on issues such as build speed, build quality, the sustainability of the construction process, and the related costs of the resulting houses were assessed and recorded for each of the construction methods:
- Timber frame,
- Light gauge steel frame,
- Insulated concrete formwork
- Traditional brick and block construction
The key findings have been that:
- Offsite Manufacturing systems can compete on cost with traditional build.
- Light gauge steel frame system used on the project proved to be the most cost effective followed closely by brick and block
- All the systems used, including traditional brick and block construction, achieved a high level of sustainability, reaching Ecohomes ‘Very Good’.
- The highest achieving system used on the project in terms of speed and cost – the Light gauge steel frame system – was delivered through an already established partnership between the site contractor and the manufacturer. This delivery partnership was seen as key to the success of the system.