Lightweight steel frame construction gains impetus with Marley Building Systems


Completed Light Steel frame two bedroom 42 m2 house

Lightweight steel frame construction gains impetus with Marley Building Systems

The quality, cost and time efficiencies of light steel frame construction outweigh any and all of the traditional brick and mortar values. This said however, it is a method of building that is taking time to become entrenched in the South African building industry.

What is needed is a paradigm shift towards an environmentally conscious mindset which Marley Building Systems is actively motivating.

Light steel frame construction is an alternative, energy efficient method of building that has been used for decades of years in the US, Europe and Australia.

Admittedly, in relation to our international counterparts, the South African market is still in its infancy, but the burgeoning energy and water crises being faced by the country will undoubtedly expedite the demand for this seamless dry construction building system.


Firecheck Plasterboards of 2 700 x 1 200 x 15 mm were fixed to steel frames with jackpoint screws. All joints were fibataped expressed and filled with a suitable compound for the external cladding.

When Marley Building Systems acquired the Lafarge Gypsum business in South Africa in November last year, the company also took on the light steel frame manufacturing division of that organisation.

This component of the business was an ideal match for the innovative, sustainable and complete building solutions offering from Marley Building Systems, as a leading supplier of superior roofing, cladding and dry construction solutions.

Clarence Kachipande, Marley Building Systems’ Specifying Manager: Commercial, said: “As innovation remains a key focus at Marley Building Systems, we have understood that IBT (Innovative Building Technologies) will increasingly continue to play a significant role in the delivery and provision of critical built environment infrastructure.”

Recently, the South African government passed a resolution that 60% of all new social infrastructure projects are to use such alternatives, meaning the usage of building materials other than brick and mortar.

The Marley Building Systems’ light steel frame solution is made from galvanised steel of minimal 0.8 mm gauge thickness, resulting in load bearing and strengths of up to 550 mpa. It comprises of an 89 mm X 41 mm C-section profile with studs spaced at either 400 mm or 600 mm centres, depending on the structural requirements.

The system is clad with a water resistant material externally (for example, Kalsi fibre cement boards). The insulation (wall batts) is inserted between the studs, and, finally, internal cladding with 15 mm Siniat Fire Check plasterboard meets fire safety performance requirements, while achieving a perfect finish.

The initial design has to be fulfilled by a professional such as an Architect or Engineer. The plumbing and electrical designs are submitted by the respective professionals and then collated by the Architect. On completion of the design, a structural engineer is required to certify the structure.

Marley Super 6 of 3 600 x 920 x 6 mm Barge Boards 80 x 200 x 3 000 Marley Super 6 Ridge LD and RD were used for the roof.

Marley Super 6 of 3 600 x 920 x 6 mm Barge Boards 80 x 200 x 3 000 Marley Super 6 Ridge LD and RD were used for the roof.

Light steel frame structures offer a number of distinct advantages, including:
Greater flexibility in spatial design than conventional building materials.
Buildings can easily be extended without major costs, and most material can be reused.
Superior fire resistance, thermal comfort and acoustical performance.
A fast and effective add-on storey extension solution to existing buildings (masonry or steel frame) with little to no interference to the structure or its users.
Internal layouts can be easily reconfigured by shifting walls at a later stage.
To demonstrate the ease of installation, Marley Building Systems will be assembling an eco-friendly steel frame home at the upcoming Interbuild Africa exhibition in August.
Our professionals will be on-site to answer any questions you may have regarding the light steel frame method of building for both residential and non-residential purposes.

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