The light gauge metal stud framing phase of a commercial building project has a significant impact on several other trades. It is known that good planning and practices tend to achieve higher production rates and a level of quality that meets the project’s specifications. Planning and layout are the responsibility of the developer, but this does not mean that everyone should not be involved with preparing the work flow. During the actual other production items should be the subject of planning as well.
You might notice how the first thing contractors and commercial developers do prior to initiating any work on a property is put up step ladders or set up scaffoldings to stock the area with correct materials, then string out proper electric cords and secure adequate lighting. Some of these steps may seem inconsequential, but if they are not carried out beforehand they will result in frequent work interruptions and, ultimately, slow down production.
Why is metal stud framing important?
Non-load bearing or non-structural metal studs and framing are not intended to carry any axial loads. Axial loads mark such elements, such as floor joists, ceiling joists, roof rafters, or roof trusses. However, they can carry the dead load of many typical wall finishes as gypsum board, plaster work, or similar finishes. They can also provide resistance to normal transverse loads. Lateral loads typically do not exceed 10 lb/sq. ft on a steel framed wall system as defined by ASTM C645.
Light gauge metal framing is used for interior wall partitions and comes in various shapes, thicknesses, sizes, and finishes. Each of the components has a specific function in the overall wall assembly. Based on the framing members and the height of the wall the contractor or developer can select the correct size and thickness. Centre to centre stud spacing for standard interior applications is 12″, 16″, or 24″. Other factors in the selection process include the setting up of the wall finishes, and impact resistance requirements, if applicable. As a general rule, interior walls of public space buildings require more resistance to impact than those of private residences.
Light gauge metal stud framing is more challenging to set up than low cost alternatives. It is estimated that close to 60% of metal studs used in the United States are intended for interior non-structural wall partitions. They are ideal in offering durability, strength, and stability for wall partitions. Other benefits include: resistance to corrosion and fire, being termite-proof, not susceptible to mould and made of recycled material.
The quality in construction employing light gauge metal stud frames has improved in recent years thanks to the adoption of best and acceptable framing practices, innovative steel framing products, and better tools that facilitate maintaining high production rates.