Cold-formed steel framing is a durable, reliable and cost-effective option for low-rise and mid-rise building projects. It typically refers to light-frame construction where the vertical and horizontal structural elements are primarily formed by a system of repetitive framing members. The framing members are typically spaced at 16 or 24 inches on center, with spacing variations lower and higher depending on the loads and coverings.
Wall members are typically vertical lipped channel "stud" members, which fit into unlipped channel "track" sections at the top and bottom. Similar configurations are used for both floor joist and rafter assemblies, but in a horizontal application for floors, and a horizontal or sloped application for roof framing. Additional elements of the framing system include fasteners and connectors, braces and bracing, clips and connectors. Cold-formed steel floor and roof trusses are also available for cold-formed steel framing applications.
Cold-formed steel refers to a manufacturing process where metallic-coated sheet steel is roll-formed into products such as studs, joists, track, headers, angles, truss members and other components. For cold-formed steel framing, typical material thicknesses range from 0.0147 in. (0.373 mm) to about 1/8 in. (3.175 mm). Standard cold-formed steel products are defined in AISI S201, North American Standard for Cold-Formed Steel Framing – Product Data, 2012 Edition (free download at www.aisistandards.org). A variety of cold-formed steel framing products are available from various manufacturers. Cold-formed steel framing products are typically made from zinc-coated cold-rolled steel with yield strength of 33 ksi or 50 ksi.
Cold-formed steel framing in North America is typically designed and constructed in accordance with standards developed by the American Iron and Steel Institute. Cold-formed steel framing lends itself to architectural layouts where the floor and roof systems are supported on bearing walls. Cold-formed steel framing has been used successfully in building projects greater than 10 stories in height.
Learn more about Strong, Safe, Affordable and Sustainable Steel: The Obvious Choice for Mid-Rise Construction (Canadian Steel Construction Council brochure)
View the current Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) for cold-formed steel products.
Following is a listing of cold-formed steel framing resources and organizations that can provide additional information.
2/23/2017 - The SDI standards are included by reference in the 2018 International Building Code and are available for free download at www.sdi.org.
2/21/2017 - Tech Note F103-17 examines the structural elements of a curtain wall system and introduces the subjects of design load and framing analysis.
2/15/2017 - Cold-formed steel projects will be considered for Design Excellence and Innovative Detail (new category), and individuals will be considered for Distinguished Service.
The Cold-Formed Steel Framing Resource Center for Building Professionals