A Guide To SFS Sytems In Construction


Most structural steel solutions used in construction today are constructed using a steel framing system or SFS consisting of mild steel (don’t let the name fool you – mild steel is a material that is immensely strong!). Buildings greatly benefit from its enormous strength, but flexibility is another crucial aspect of steel frame.

Another significant benefit is that it can bend without cracking, which is fantastic because a steel building can flex when it is pushed to one side by anything like wind or an earthquake. Steel’s suppleness or plasticity is its next distinguishing feature. This means that under extreme pressure, it will progressively deform instead of breaking like glass. This characteristic enables SFS structures to sag or deform, providing people with a signal to leave. A steel structure rarely collapses, therefore failure in steel frames is gradual. Because of these characteristics, steel often performs much better in earthquakes than the majority of other materials.

Steel construction is most often used in:

High rise buildings                  – Because of their strength, light weight, and quick construction

Industrial buildings                  – Because they can span large spaces at a relatively low cost

Warehouse structures            – Because they can span large spaces at a relatively low cost

Residential buildings              – In a method called light gauge steel construction

Temporary structures             – Because they are simple to erect and dismantle

Steel framing systems or SFS systems generally fall into one of these main categories…

Conventional Steel Fabrication:

Conventional steel fabrication is the process in which groups of steel fabricators cut steel pieces to the right lengths and then join them using welding to create the finished structure. This can be completed entirely on the building site or in part in a workshop, which offers better working conditions and saves time.

Bolted Steel Construction:

Finished and painted steel components are created by steel fabricators and then brought to the construction site where they are simply bolted in place. This is the preferred way to construct buildings out of steel since much of the fabrication can be done in facilities equipped with the necessary equipment, lighting, and workspaces. The length of the vehicle or trailer – typically a maximum of 6 metres (20 feet) for regular trucks and 12 metres (40 feet) for long trailers – that the components are shipped in determines their size. The only tasks required on site are lifting the steel components into position (using cranes) and bolting them, therefore the job is completed there quite quickly.

Light Gauge Steel Construction:

In North America and the majority of Europe, light gauge steel is a type of construction that is frequently used for homes and smaller buildings. In contrast to wood framing, light gauge steel members are employed in this construction instead of wood. Light gauge steel is steel that has been bent into C- or Z-sections and is composed of thin (1-3mm) sheets of steel.

Advantages of a Steel Framing System or SFS…

  • They can be built on site quite quickly because a lot of the work may be done in advance at the factory
  • Because of their flexibility, they are excellent at resisting dynamic (changing) forces like wind or seismic stresses
  • There is a large selection of pre-made structural sections, including I, C and angle sections
  • They can be fashioned into any shape and covered with any material
  • There are numerous connecting techniques, including bolting, welding, and riveting

Disadvantages of a Steel Framing System or SFS…

Steel framing systems have two disadvantages:

  • They are vulnerable to corrosion in wet and/or humid conditions.


  • They lose strength at high temperatures, and are susceptible to fire!

In a fire, steel loses strength very quickly. Mild steel can lose nearly half its strength at 500 degrees celsius (930 degrees F). This is what took place when the World Trade Towers fell in 2001. As a result, steel in buildings must be safeguarded against fire or extreme heat; this is typically done by wrapping it in boards or spraying on fire protective material.

As SFS contractors Lynco offer design of SFS/Metsec systems in accordance with performance specifications and a client or architect’s visual concepts. A variety of SFS systems are available to cater for specific project requirements. The versatility of SFS systems allows the creative design brief of a project to be achieved without compromising the structural, thermal, acoustic or airtightness performance

At Lynco we design and value engineer both the building envelope and the internal fit out of a project in accordance with each client’s design ideas and specification requirements. to find out how Lynco can enhance your next project or get in touch on: +44 (0)28 9447 7800