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New Purposes for COLD-FORMED STEEL 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 AND MANPOWER. 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 standards include: 30 the construction specifier | may 2013 CS_May2013.indd 30 4/16/13 3:33:26 PM