With eight decades of experience behind it, voestalpine Metsec plc is pioneering offsite framing in the construction industry
Voestalpine Metsec plc is the UK’s largest specialist cold roll-forming company, providing products for the construction and manufacturing industries.
The firm, based in Sandwell, focuses on adding value through expert design, precision manufacturing and on-time, in full product delivery, combining excellent service and quality products to provide cost-effective solutions for customers throughout the world.
Metsec has developed and structured its recruitment and progression procedures to ensure that all of the brightest talents out there are given a chance. Its award-winning training scheme has seen more than 100 engineering apprentices join the company over the last two decades and provides the next generation with a proven route to development.
Metsec apprentices have the opportunity to experience every aspect of the business and have access to the latest technology in the company’s state-of-the-art facility.
The company’s aim is that, by 2020, 20% of its staff will have come through the apprenticeship scheme.
Stephen Giles, environmental, safety and training manager at Metsec, said: “The advanced apprenticeship scheme that we offer is a great way for students to get hands-on experience and make a direct impact on the company at a rate that suits each learner.
“Looking ahead, we aim to take on at least one apprentice every six months to ensure there is a continual flow of young engineers entering the industry. This will not only futureproof our business, but will help bridge the ongoing skills gap.”
The High Mobility Pool, a voestalpine group-wide initiative, offers young professionals with several years’ work experience the unique opportunity to draw on their abilities and experience in order to contribute to international projects.
Over a total of two years, they gain valuable experience working in different voestalpine companies around the world, while getting to better know the voestalpine group as a whole.
Metframe: Safe, sustainable, speedier and cost saving
Metframe is a pre-panelised system that is used to provide the load bearing structure of up to 15 storeys high. The system uses the studs in the same way as load-bearing SFS, except they are bolted together offsite to form panels, giving offsite manufacturing accuracy.
The ever-expanding adoption of offsite framing is one of the construction industry’s growing trends, and accounts for around 2% of the total construction market – a market share increasing by 25% per year.
Five years ago, the government, in partnership with the industry, set out its strategy for change in Construction 2025, which focuses on erecting buildings that create less emissions, can be delivered quickly and cost less to build and run over their lifetime.
Faster onsite construction means government construction targets could be met more easily and building projects would be less affected by adverse weather, while a shorter onsite programme is also more cost-effective.
Fabrication of individual steel pieces takes place offsite under controlled, highly regulated, safe factory conditions; digital design and leading-edge fabrication systems deliver precision-engineered components with minimum waste.
Offsite framing techniques are playing their part in delivering this vision, with the numerous benefits ranging from cost; space; speed; health and safety; quality, and sustainability.
Cost: Savings are achieved through waste reduction and the speed of build that the system allows, with offsite framing structures, such as Metframe, regularly taking less than two weeks per floor to construct.
Space: On construction projects where access and space are limited due to the proximity of other buildings or natural features, offsite framing offers a practical and safe solution.
Speed: Offsite framing projects are programmed and constructed around 20-30% faster than traditional construction, which allows tight deadlines to be met more easily, while disruption to clients and the local community is minimised – a particular benefit in the case of a school or hospital.
Health and safety: The factory environment of offsite construction eliminates the variables of weather and visibility, and hazards such as falls from height and equipment accidents.
Sustainability: This is at the forefront of offsite framing systems such as Metframe, which offer zero waste and a low carbon footprint.
Work in the factory can be scheduled to start at the same time as the site is being prepared, so the two processes can occur in parallel, resulting in an accelerated build programme.
Offsite construction generates up to 90% less waste than site-based building methods (Source: WRAP), while there are up to 90% fewer vehicle movements onsite compared with a traditional construction project – reducing noise, dust, congestion and carbon emissions (Source: Mtech).
Quality: Stringent factory-quality control, better working conditions and automation mean offsite-fabricated elements are made to a higher quality than the site-fabricated equivalent.
Established for over 80 years, voestalpine Metsec plc is owned by the voestalpine group, one of Europe’s leading specialist engineering companies. It is part of voestalpine’s Metal Forming division, the world’s leading provider of high-quality metal processing solutions with production facilities all around the globe.
Headquartered in Oldbury, with a sales and technical office in the Middle East, Metsec has supplied products and design services to landmark projects including the Queensferry crossing, Abu Dhabi airport, Wimbledon, BBC Wales studios, Resorts World and Glasgow Velodrome, along with a host of retail sites, sports stadia, hotels and student accommodation.
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