The Benefits of Steel Frame Houses

Steel frame houses are part of the property construction sector. What benefits do they provide?

Construction is a tedious and intricate process which involves a careful consideration of important factors. Choosing the size and type of the housing development comes down to available finances, environmental conditions and generally the purpose of the housing structure. Steel frame houses have become a common feature in the housing mix in South Africa. These structures are normally used for industrial purposes, warehousing and residential buildings in farming communities.

What type of steel frame houses are available?

Skeleton steel framing

This type of steel frame house is made from steel beams and columns which are connected either by bolt or welded connections. The beams around a steel frame house are known as spandrel beams and this is where masonry walls are placed.

Wall bearing steel framing

This type of construction entails erecting masonry walls around the home interior. The steel on the walls is anchored by using steel plates and bolts. The construction design in this instance takes into account the weight of the steel and the distance between support structures.

Long span steel framing

This type of steel frame construction is preferred by homeowners and contractors because of its ability to provide sufficient, flexible and mixed-use floor space, column free internal spaces and a reduction in construction time. All this is achieved simply because long span refers to a span which is more twelve meters which is relatively long.


Another commonly used steel frame construction method especially in areas with bad climatic conditions and structures which carry heavy loads are arches. Arches are available in different types such as web, two pinned and three hinged as well as fixed. Choosing which one to use depends on the purpose of the building, type of foundation in place and strength capacities which refers to the loads the building will carry. It is however important to state that three hinged structures are stronger than two pinned and fixed arches are naturally more suitable for buildings with lighter loads and grounds which are stable.

What are the benefits and advantages of steel frame houses?

Resilience to earthquakes and wind loading

Weather conditions can never be ignored in construction planning. While South Africa is not prone to earthquakes, there are certain parts of the country like the Western Cape which experience strong winds. Steel frame houses have the ability to withstand such hostile climatic weather conditions.

Ease of construction and deconstruction

Steel frame houses involve precision cutting of pieces according to the size of the building with joints being clearly planned before welding. This makes it easier to contract and deconstruct if need arises.

Short construction time

Installing steel frame happens a lot quicker than brick walls. All panels are prefabricated and unlike brick walls, you don’t need to render on each side to achieve a flat surface.

Resistance to fire when treated

Fires can destroy a lot of construction materials but not steel. You can therefore count on a steel frame house to minimise the damage to your house and possessions in case of fire.

You can change walls without tempering with foundation

One key benefit of steel frame houses is that you can change internal wall plans without changing the slub. For brick houses, any changes to the walls will need that you readjust the foundation wall.


While the prices of steel are not the cheapest, it costs less in the end because you need less personnel to construct and it’s completed faster. You don’t need to worry about extra pairs of hands to do pre-levelling and laying of one brick on top of the other.

Environmentally friendly

Steel is recyclable and reusable on a small and large scale. It has resistance to harbouring mold, supports solar panels without difficult, loses less heat during winter and cools faster in the summer which helps to reduce electricity consumption and costs.

The above in a nutshell are what steel frame houses are all about. Steel frame houses are a good alternative in housing construction from a cost, time, durability and environmental point of view.