HomeIndustry SectorsBusiness and marketsNew market: Light steel frame building method holds potential

New market: Light steel frame building method holds potential

Light steel frame building (LSFB) materials hold the potential for quick, accurate building construction and new market opportunities for South Africa.

Professionals in the industry – from building and construction contractors and sub-contractors to designers, power tool manufacturers, architects and engineers – are in a challenging time of economic constraint and change for the construction, steel and building sectors locally.

Whether novice contractors or seasoned suppliers, the Southern African Light Steel Frame Association (SASFA) encourages new members and companies across various sectors to explore growth and development of the local and export markets for light steel frame building.

SASFA has become a beacon of inspiration, source of support and an empowering network for its members. “The active demand for LSFB in South Africa is one of the most exciting developments in recent times,” explains John Barnard, Director of SASFA.

“While this method of building has been used in the United States, Europe and Australia for decades, it was only relatively recently introduced to our shores. The speed of construction, accuracy, excellent thermal properties, logistical cost advantages and design flexibility are all factors which have made LSFB the building method of choice for a growing number of construction projects.”

Barnard continues: “SASFA was established in 2006 by interested parties as an industry representative association, with all activities and actions aimed at increasing LSFB’s share of building and construction sector projects.

“Today, the Association embodies the collective wisdom of its members and serves as a valuable reservoir of knowledge for professionals and practitioners in the industry. SASFA’s management of codes and standards, its strategically neutral and advocacy role as an industry voice across many construction-related industries and authorities, and its training programmes are unsurpassed.”

Joining SASFA – a member association of the South African Institute of Steel Construction (SAISC) – is the most affordable and practical way to tap into the growing LSFB market; and in which to stay abreast of new trends and technologies.

“The Association forms a strong vehicle for advocacy, education, and professional networking. Listing on SASFA’s website boosts members’ exposure online and generates referrals. Furthermore, members have the opportunity to network with clients and professionals through access to all SASFA events,” Barnard advises.

Light steel frame building professional body

The Institute’s and SASFA’s library and databases of companies and people associated with the industry are readily available to members, as is its up-to-date technical advice and specification changes relating to LSFB. SASFA also offers members training courses on demand, to further develop the skills available to the LSFB industry. In addition, membership serves as a form of certification which is deemed useful by finance providers, building authorities and the National Home Builders Registration Council (NHBRC).

“Arguably, one of the most compelling reasons to join SASFA’s expanding network is to gain access to the ‘bigger picture’ now and beyond. SASFA members belong to a professional representative organisation, where membership also signifies credibility and reputability,” Barnard points out.

“To this point, all our members are instrumental in leading the way on thinking and strategy, and shaping the future of LSFB. For this reason, SASFA has a solid reputation, both locally and internationally.”

The Association has achieved many significant milestones since inception. For example, it has drafted the SASFA Building Code for LSFB in South Africa, and taken the Code through the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) certification process, to form the national code SANS517 for Light steel frame building.

SASFA also obtained acceptance of LSFB from the South African banks for bonding of LSF houses; and acceptance from the NHBRC for enrolment. The Association has arranged awareness-raising seminars in the major centres of South Africa, involving several overseas speakers and obtained representation on the relevant SABS committees.

In addition, SASFA develops and presents popular training courses for building contractors, design consultants, building inspectors and all others who have an interest in LSFB; and has drafted an accreditation scheme for LSF systems, manufacturers and builders. Three of the systems in use in South Africa have been accredited. The Association has also established a category for LSFB in the SAISC’s annual Steel Awards.

“SASFA is a very dynamic and active force within the local LSFB market, working with a large and diverse set of partners across a wide range of industry sectors, to create access, drive innovation and stimulate demand – all the while providing a collective voice for our members. SASFA is the ‘glue’ that keeps the industry together, and facilitates alignment. Simply put, if you are in the building and construction sector – or in any way related – membership of SASFA is paramount for continued success,” concludes Barnard.

Nicolette Pombo-van Zyl
As the Editor of ESI Africa, my passion is on sustainability and placing African countries on the international stage. I take a keen interest in the trends shaping the power & water utility market along with the projects and local innovations making headline news. Watch my short weekly video on our YouTube channel ESIAfricaTV and speak with me on what has your attention.