The Steel Construction Institute has played a key role in the development of light steel framing in the UK for over 20 years
The Steel Construction Institute (SCI) was formed in 1986 as a non-profit distributing independent company to build on earlier work that was delivered in-house at British Steel with the aim of encouraging greater use of steel in construction. Our early structure reflected the offerings from British Steel, including a team dedicated to the development of robust light steel framing solutions.
In the early 1990s, the Light Steel Framing Group (LSFG) was formed to bring together parties from across the light steel framing supply chain so that British Steel could understand needs, and fund SCI and others to develop solutions that would help assure the quality of light steel framing.
A range of design guides was produced, aimed at both architects and engineers, covering key technical aspects including structure, acoustics, durability and fire. SCI also played a key technical role in the development of British Steel’s own Surebuild product.
As British Steel – by that stage Tata Steel – started to pull back from downstream supply into the light steel framing market, the LSFG morphed into the Light Steel Forum.
Membership of the forum is limited to manufacturers, who fund the group and its activities, which they direct through quarterly steering group meetings. Current members are:
- Ayrshire Metals
- BW Industries
- Etex Building Performance
- Fusion Building Systems
- Hadley Steel Framing
- Kingspan Steel Building Solutions
- Vision-Built Manufacturing
- voestalpine Metsec
“A range of design guides was produced, aimed at both architects and engineers, covering key technical aspects including structure, acoustics, durability and fire. SCI also played a key technical role in the development of British Steel’s own Surebuild product.”
Recent output from the group has included a number of free Technical Information Sheets covering a diverse range of subjects, including support for masonry cladding, value benefits of light steel construction, BIM and 3D modelling in light steel construction, durability, robustness and sustainability.
As well as developing generic guidance, SCI has a long history of providing third party assurance for proprietary light gauge products. SCI Assessed offers specifiers assurance that the claims of a manufacturer are correct, for example load-span capability. The SCI NHBC Stage 1 scheme provides assurance that a given manufacturer’s proprietary details comply with the generic details given in NHBC Standards Chapter 6.10.
SCI Product Certification
As a logical extension to earlier activities and to respond to the needs of the industry, over the past year or so SCI has been developing our Product Certification scheme. SCI certificates cover not only technical content, be that concerning structure, acoustics, fire etc, but also factory production control to provide assurance that a certified product is, and does, what it says. The current scope of certification includes:
- Roofing and cladding.
- External wall systems (infill).
- Light steel framing systems.
- Modular building units.
For each of these areas, SCI has a Technical Scheme Document that clearly defines the scope of what SCI will assess and how it will be assessed. This ensures that different certificates within a family are immediately comparable – a given certificate may not cover everything (scope is a function of what the certificate holder supplies) but any gaps will be clearly stated on the certificate. The stated scope of the light steel framing scheme is:
Light steel framing systems formed from structural panels. The structural panels are constructed from light gauge, cold rolled steel profiles and associated components or materials, for use in walls, floors and roofs. The light steel frame system, including any incorporated hot-rolled steel sections and associated components, will provide the complete structural solution.
Certificates offer clear, unambiguous statements about compliance with all relevant requirements and regulations, and are structured to follow the Basic Requirements for construction works as set out in the Construction Products Regulation. They have been developed in consultation with a number of warranty providers with the aim of avoiding duplication of assessment, and so easing the route for products into the marketplace.
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