Seeking Home Builder Input on Cold-Formed Steel Framing

Filed in Codes and Standards by on February 2, 2021 6 Comments

A new home built with metal framing and brick exteriorRecent concerns about lumber prices have led some builders to explore other framing methods for new homes, such as cold-formed steel framing. While many of these alternative methods have traditionally had a limited share of the market – less than 1% in the case of cold-formed steel framing – they are getting fresh consideration as builders struggle to construct affordable homes.

Prescriptive provisions for cold-formed steel framing have been a part of the International Residential Code (IRC) since the beginning. As with traditional wood framing, the IRC’s cold-formed steel sections tabulate required floor joist, wall stud, wall header, ceiling joist and roof rafter depths and thicknesses, specify wall bracing amounts and provide details for connecting cold-formed steel framing to foundations.

Many of these provisions came from work done by Home Innovation Research Labs under a contract with HUD. In addition to the IRC provisions, this work also formed the basis for the American Iron and Steel Institute’s (AISI) standard AISI S230 – Standard for Cold-Formed Steel Framing – Prescriptive Method for One- and Two-Family Dwellings. The AISI S230 standard is referenced in the IRC, the International Building Code and other International Code Council standards.

In recent editions of the IRC, AISI had been working to simplify and streamline the cold-formed steel provisions in hopes of making them more user-friendly. As AISI continues to evaluate the use of these provisions, it has developed a survey to obtain feedback from builders and other industry professionals regarding their experience with the IRC prescriptive provisions and AISI S230 standard and opinion on possible options moving forward.

The survey is very brief and provides some background and reasoning information. Please click the following link to access the survey via Google Forms.

The deadline to complete the survey is Feb. 12, 2021. Your input is essential to AISI’s standards development process and IRC code activity and is appreciated.

For questions about the AISI survey or the IRC cold-formed steel provisions in general, please contact Gary Ehrlich.

Comments (6)

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  1. WilliamTurner says:

    need rigid insulation on the outside or the thermal performance in heating or cooling conditions is really bad.

    • Actually my home is steel framed and does not have rigid insulation. I installed a pellet stove to heat the home as a secondary heat source. I shut down the radiant heat in home running just the one pellet stove. We use 1.5 to 2 tons to heat the 2000 sq ft one level home a season. In addition we have a heat pump that we use just for cooling in the summer and no increase really to speak of on costs associated with that. Therefore i would probably say in some cases you are right but in mine you are not.

  2. Al Zichella says:

    Light gauge metal framing is vey common in residential housing in Florida multi and single family. Framing is straighter with bo waste.

  3. Vmb says:

    We’re having more and more clients ask about alternatives.

  4. fox ren says:

    Under different condition, the performance may vary, there is always pros and cons for different building method.

    In the end, you will have to consider the building cost & maintaining cost,

    the maintaining cost is actually not much different in many cases except for extrem cold areas.

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