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Summit discusses the benefits of Cold-Formed Steel Framing

After Summit Design + Build’s successful completion and on-time delivery of Edge on Broadway, a 6-story residential building project in Chicago’s Edgewater neighborhood, it only felt right to pen down our lessons and experiences with a critical component that made an economic and on-time delivery possible – COLD FORM METAL PANELS.

Summit Design + Build, alongside the development team and the project engineers were looking into the most compatible structural system to use for the 6-story residential building project at 6145 N. Broadway. The cold-formed panelized framing system was the perfect solution as it is pre-fabricated, versatile and durable. The weight to strength ratio allowed us to use it for five floors of structural load-bearing and non-load-bearing walls (64,000 square feet) while keeping the supporting structures light. 

Use of this structural system has an indirect cost savings in foundations work as well. The foundations for this building cost less than the contemporary wood or steel structure because it has less weight to hold. Therefore, it is ideal for all kinds of soil conditions.

Cold-Formed Construction Benefits for Key Stakeholders

This system helps to benefit every stakeholder of the project.

Owner Benefits

  • It speeds up construction time, creating an early ROI
  • It cuts down costs in comparison to a typical wood or steel structure. Cold-form wall construction doesn’t require fire stops, sheathing, house wrap, gypsum wallboard or separate steps for insulation and continuous insulation. Since there are fewer steps, cold-form wall construction uses fewer materials and reduces multiple trade requirements.
  • It increases the marketability of a project. A cold-formed panelized framing system eliminates the number of soffits that need to be used. This allows properties to have higher ceilings, creating more spacious and modern rooms which are more marketable to target renters and tenants.

General Contractor Benefits

  • Cold-form steel construction has been around since 1850 but has seen continuous innovation since then. This particular project utilized a TotalJoist system from iSpan Systems. This is a robust system with a simplified installation compared to steel or wood. It allowed the team to keep the speed without sacrificing quality.
  • It doesn’t require the complexity of service-heavy follow-up trades by taking advantage of large pre-cut service and wiring openings.
  • Reduced training time is greatly advantageous for offsetting any unforeseen delays in foundation work. Easy to learn, this framing has a quick transition from learning curve to trained labor. Skills for using wood studs can be transferred to using steel C-section studs. Formed steel single tracks are similar to top and bottom wood plates.
  • The list of tools required to work with cold-form structure is relatively small, including tools such as an adjustable torque screw gun, a hand seamer, clamps and a magnetic level.
  • Construction moves faster since there is little in the way of punching, cutting, or drilling steel onsite. Cold form beams and columns are easy to move and put in place without the need for heavy machinery

Engineer Benefits

  • Cold-formed metal panels are non-combustible with a One-Hour Fire Rating (UL, ULC Rated) and 50 STC Acoustic Rating with a single layer of gypsum.
  • Unmatched clear span vs. I-wood allows for open design and bigger rooms

Why You Should Consider Cold-Formed Steel Framing

Cold-formed steel framing is the perfect framing system to use for a 6-10 story building. Cold-formed steel is a cost-effective, easy to install solution that does not sacrifice on quality. Cold-formed steel is also durable, sustainable and it is one of the most resilient building materials on the market. Do you have an upcoming project that would benefit from Cold-formed steel framing? Contact Summit Design + Build to let us know how we can help.

Cold-Formed Steel Framing Imagery