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New Purposes for
By Chuck Mears, FAIA
All images courtesy Radius Track Corporation
OVER THE PAST SEVERAL DECADES,
THE CONFLUENCE OF VALUE
ENGINEERING AND SUSTAINABLE
DESIGN HAS ENABLED CONSTRUCTION
OF BETTER, MORE EFFICIENT BUILDINGS.
BOTH TRENDS PLAY CRUCIAL ROLES IN
REALIZING THE QUALITY, DURABILITY,
AND LONGEVITY OF THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT.
OFTEN, VALUE ENGINEERING AND SUSTAINABLE
DESIGN CAN IDENTIFY THE BEST MATERIAL
FOR THE APPLICATION AND INSTALL IT IN
THE MOST EFFICIENT WAY POSSIBLE. SUCH
CAREFUL CONSIDERATION OF MATERIALS
AND PROCESSES GENERALLY RESULTS IN
LESS WASTE, ACCURATE USE OF MATERIAL,
AND EFFICIENT USE OF RESOURCES
One material consistently meeting the criteria for both
purposes is cold-formed steel (CFS). While the use of
CFS in construction projects is not new, it is being
used in innovative ways to provide environmentally
responsible, cost-effective construction methods. This
article explores the use of CFS as a new way to frame
apertures and create support for shaped façades, as a
lighter and more ﬂexible replacement for structural
steel, and as a more geometrically appropriate way to
achieve curved surfaces.
CFS framing provides the highest strength-to-weight
ratio of any building material. It is ideal for creating
curves because of its ability to be ﬂexed and retain its
shape. From a sustainability standpoint, CFS is lighter
than other framing materials, reducing shipping costs.
It is completely recyclable and can save time onsite
with ease of panelization offsite.
CFS will not rot or warp. It neither splits nor cracks
and will not expand or contract with moisture content.
The material is produced in strict accordance with
national standards, with no regional variations. These
30 the construction speciﬁer | may 2013
4/16/13 3:33:26 PM