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Your Steel Framing Questions – Answered

Innovation is at the forefront of the construction industry – but which new processes can you trust? And how does adopting a new method affect the other professionals on your build site? When it comes to steel framing, we often get asked these questions – which is why today, we’re answering them all one-by-one.  

Steel framing is a more convenient, quicker choice for residential and light commercial projects. Built for lightweight durability, on site efficiency, and streamlined production, steel framing is quickly gaining popularity throughout New Zealand. If you’ve never come across residential steel framing, however, then you probably have a few questions on your mind. 

Why should I transition away from a framing process I’ve used for years? 

It’s a changing world. Efficiency (for both your time and your money) has never been more important in the industry. Steel framing from MODNframe offers a far easier, simpler solution for framing, helping you finish projects faster and improving quality at the same time. 

 Timber framing is becoming more of an old-school method. It can take a long time to manufacture and treat, it requires drying time, needs heavier on-site machinery to put into place, and it typically results in 20% material waste.  

 Steel framing solves these problems, offering speedy quotes and manufacturing turnaround times. Plus, the material is 70% lighter than wood and produced to size, making it easier to maneuver and install on site without producing waste. If you’re brand new to steel framing, check out this blog to get a feel for how steel framing works on residential and light commercial builds.   

 Does it actually save costs? 

While the frame itself requires a similar investment as timber, the installation time and process from start to finish ends up saving builders significant costs.  

Here’s how: 

  • Steel framing takes a fraction of the time to install, saving considerable labour costs. 
  • Steel is inorganic. It doesn’t require drying, and it won’t warp over time. That means fewer delays and no adjustment costs later on. 
  • No waste for disposal. Steel doesn’t require the expense or hassle that comes with treated timber waste. 

The result is a lower investment in the overall process when choosing to work with steel framing. 

What if my builders don’t know how to install it? 

Cold-formed steel framing from MODNframe is designed for a highly-streamlined installation process. A framing layout plan is included, which provides everything your team will need to know about adjusting to steel framing. Builders often find the process of steel framing installation to be intuitive and much easier and faster than working with timber.  

Master Builder and MODNframe manufacturer Bruce Wolfe explains his first encounter with steel framing thirteen years ago. “The first house took some getting used to, but the second was amazing, saving us so much time. Our team absolutely loved using the steel framing. It made a huge difference for us, and we never went back.” 

MODNframe provides continuous support to builders, making the transition from timber to steel efficient and pain free. We follow Donovan Group’s commitment to exceptional customer service, which means that we are always here to offer guidance or support at any point of the process for our clients,” says Warwick Stichbury, MODNframe Commercial Manager. 

Is it risky to try a “new” process? 

In reality, steel framing for residential and light commercial properties is not a new method at all. It has been around since the mid-1800s, and is commonly used in many areas of the world for residential properties. 

Historically, New Zealand has not had the support of a reliable, nationwide distributor, which has slowed the popularity of residential steel framing domestically. With MODNframe now providing that quality service across the country, more builders and companies of all sizes have access to this highly-efficient product and process. 

What about rust? 

MODNframe products are made using galvanised steel, which effectively protects the material from rust. Galvanisation includes a zinc coating that prevents corrosive substances from reaching the steel, acting as a consistent and reliable long-term solution.  

What about thermal breaking? 

MODNframe products are created with cold formed steel, which means that the frames have a higher thermal conductivity than timber. To prevent thermal breaking, a thin film insulation material should be applied to the frame to keep the steel from reaching its dew point.  

This method is easily incorporated at the time of installation, and doesn’t add significant costs to the framing process. Film insulation products are available directly from MODNframe or your local builders merchant, and they are easy to install and cost competitive. 

What about design changes throughout the project? 

The real time-saving part of working with steel framing is that every frame, truss and component arrives on site already manufactured to size and ready to install. Making revisions in the middle of a project simply requires the builder to contact MODNframe and make a request for the appropriate materials. 

Bruce explains, “If there’s an alteration, builders come back to us – the manufacturers – and we send out new materials. But this is a very quick turnaround, just a matter of days sometimes, because the manufacturing process is so efficient. All in all, it still saves heaps of time for builders.” 

What about electrics and plumbing? 

Steel framing from MODNframe will include service entry points in the original design and incorporate holes into the manufacturing process.  

Subcontractors actually save time when working with steel framing, as they do not have to drill service holes. Learn more about the process from a subcontractor’s perspective here. 


If you have further questions about steel framing for residential or light commercial builds, get in contact with the MODNframe team. We are supporting builders, architects and developers to transition towards more efficient, innovative practices every day – and we’re proud to be leading the charge in New Zealand.  

Learn more about the benefits of cold formed steel framing for residential properties by exploring our previous article here.