When ArcelorMittal employee Patrick Tavernier decided to build an extension to his new home, his initial design ideas were centred around the traditional brick houses common in Belgium. But once an inspection of the site revealed an unstable subsoil, Patrick and his architect began to look for an innovative and sustainable alternative.
“A brick design would have required us to install pilings before construction could begin,” explains Patrick. “This was significantly more expensive than our budget allowed. After looking at different options I came across a steel-framed construction. It seemed to be the ideal choice!”
The designer of the extension, Christiaan D'herde of 5³ Architecten, notes the steel frame adds significant value to the project: “The cold-rolled steel frame is light, and the entire structure is self-supporting. That allowed us to do away with load points, and greatly simplify the foundations. The steel frame also had a positive impact on the price tag and got a very positive reaction from our engineer.”
The frame uses Magnelis® steel from ArcelorMittal Europe – Flat Products. It was manufactured by beSteel, a local firm specialising in cold-formed steel profiling.
“This is the lightest construction solution on the market,” explains Hélène de Troostembergh, sales and marketing manager for beSteel. “The ratio between strength and weight is extremely high.”
Pictured in the extension (from left to right): Patrick Tavernier and Myra Goossens – the proud owners, Hélène de Troostembergh (beSteel), Christiaan D’herde (5³ Architecten), and Sigy Waterschoot (Matthijssens)
Another key advantage of Magnelis® was its resistance to corrosion notes Hélène: “Because of this we are able to offer our customers long guarantees against rust. The steel structure can also withstand a range of natural problems such as termites and moisture. This increases the lifetime of the building compared to structures made of wood or stone.”
Magnelis® steel-framed buildings are also good for the environment says Christiaan: “The wall thickness of the profiles allows us to add insulation easily, ensuring excellent energy values. Steel is a very durable product which is 100% recyclable.”
The steel frame of the extension was completed in just two days.
Before the framework of the extension was manufactured, beSteel made a 3D drawing of the house. “We noted where holes were needed for services such as plumbing and electricity and included them in the custom-designed profiles. Once made, the profiles were packaged and shipped to the site,” explains Hélène.
Sigy Waterschoot, project manager for local contractor Matthijssens, notes that it is like putting together a Meccano® kit: “Each part is numbered so we know exactly how the profiles and exterior panels should screw together. Once assembled, we installed acoustic insulation inside the frame, and thermal insulation on the outside. We then coated the walls with a plaster layer and added the exterior render. The result is a house that has a traditional finish with many advantages.”
For his part, Patrick is extremely happy with the result: “The frame was delivered, and two days later the steel construction was complete. Our fixed costs were much lower and we saved on variable costs such as bricklayers and cranes. I am now a fan and recommend steel-framing to anyone who is planning to build!”
1. Less site preparation, saving time and money
2. Speed of construction
3. Lower fixed and variable costs
4. Durability of the Magnelis® solution
5. Outstanding resistance to corrosion
6. Extremely high strength-to-weight ratio
7. Sustainability of steel!
The lightweight steel-framing solution is suitable for structures up to eight storeys in height.
Individual components are bolted together to form a rigid structure.
The steel frame is covered and then insulated before the external render is applied.
Once complete, the extension and original house will blend into this traditional neighbourhood.
Artist’s impression of the finished house
Copyright images: Jeroen Op de Beeck (ArcelorMittal Gent), Jo Van den Borre (Infosteel) and 5³ Architecten