Large commercial construction projects are expensive, complex affairs. If you are managing one of these projects, it is likely that you are responsible to a large number of stakeholders who each have an interest in seeing the project not only completed correctly and on time but in the most cost-effective way possible. When working with designers and builders in the early phases of a project, one of the most important decisions that needs to be made is the material used for framing. While it is important to trust the advice of your contractors, having some basic knowledge about these two techniques can help you to understand why it may be worthwhile to choose one over the other.
What is Framing?
A building's frame is the core of its structure. Sometimes referred to as stick framing, it is the horizontal and vertical components that define the shape of a structure and provide its support.
Framing is not necessarily the first step in any construction project, but it is the point where a structure begins to take form and shape. Since a building's frame is effectively its skeleton, the material and design decisions made during framing are incredibly important.
Traditional Wood Framing
Wood frame construction is a traditional form of framing that has commonly been used in a wide variety of project types. In fact, the vast majority of residential constructions in the United States are done using traditional wood framing.
Wood isn't just for residential structures, however, and commercial buildings are often constructed with wood frames as well. Wood framing has a number of advantages, including environmental sustainability and a generally lower cost. Wood is also generally fairly easy to work with, which can speed up construction times and further reduce labor costs.
While the use of timber is still generally not suitable for very large or tall structures, it is a great option for many smaller commercial projects.
The Advantages of Steel
While wood has a number of benefits working its favor, steel framing is still the most common option for most commercial buildings. Steel has its own set of benefits that make it very attractive for most large projects.
Chief among the benefits of steel is simply the fact that steel studs are completely resistant to the greatest threats faced by wooden framing. Steel is not susceptible to warping or rotting from moisture damage, there is no threat from pests, and steel is generally not combustible.
In addition to these elements of endurance, steel is also relatively lightweight when compared to solid timber framing elements. This can help to reduce storage and transportation costs that can be sizable over the course of a large project.
Ultimately, the choice of framing material will likely be dictated by a number of factors, including the size of the structure and local fire safety requirements. The key to making the correct decision is having a good understanding of the advantages of each material and working with contractors who can properly advise you on the correct framing system for your project. For more information, contact a commercial framing system construction service.