Troubleshooting/FAQs

We’ve bundled a stack of our tips, tricks and troubleshooting advice into categories to make it easier to find the info you need when working with steel – just click on the category and select the advice you need.

Can’t find it? Call the team at TRUECORE® steel on 1800 800 789

Tips for sparkies

Do electrical holes in steel framing need grommets?

Steel frame manufacturers provide holes for electrical services by using flared holes, which do not require grommets. If flared holes are not used, grommets will be required and are usually delivered on site by the frame manufacturer.

How do I fix electrical stud plates?

Fitting electrical stud plates on steel framing is straight-forward. Low profile wafer head screws are recommended to ensure minimum interference with plasterboard wall panel, which is fixed over the plates, to the wall frames. Simple tools such as vice grips can save time and make the job easier. Vice grips are a quick clamp-and-release tool that fits around the stud lip to clamp and hold a plate in exact position, leaving both hands free to do the screw fixing. Visit the tools you’ll need section to find the right tools and supplies for the job.

How do I make holes for electrical cabling in steel frames?

For the additional holes you may need to make on site, check out the video and downloadable instruction sheets. Before making additional holes, first consider other options available to you such as the use of notched out noggins or wall cavities, which can all save you time. Cable ties present a quick and inexpensive method for holding electrical cable in position on noggins, studs, and trusses.

How do I run electrical cabling in steel framing?

Most holes required for electrical cable are already provided in steel framing systems made from TRUECORE® steel. Feeding electrical cable through the pre-punched holes provided in steel framing is straight-forward and saves time drilling holes.

Where can I get grommets from?

If grommets aren’t supplied, you can get them from most electrical suppliers. Visit the tools you’ll need section to find the right tools and supplies for the job.

 

Tips for 2nd Fix chippies

How do I fix architraves and skirting on steel framing?

Screw fixing may be required with some door jams. However most of the fixing of architraves and skirting, is generally done with great efficiency using nail guns that use hard nails instead of ordinary nails. Visit the tools you’ll need section to find the right tools and supplies for the job.

How do you cut to length or make mitre joints?

The typical work of a second fix carpenter, such as cutting to length, and making mitre joints is pretty much the same as for any timber-framed house. By and large the only difference may be the type of vices used to make the connections

Click here to see a video demonstration.

 

Tips for plumbers

Can I use copper piping with a steel frame?

Yes! But ensure copper piping is isolated - in the presence of water copper will develop galvanic cells which will result in rapid destruction of the protective metal coating of the steel frame. Copper pipes are easily isolated from the frame by using nylon grommets or face fixed to the studs using plastic clips. Both of these systems also resist water hammer noise.

How do I brace poly pipe against a steel frame?

The plumber’s tool kit should contain clips that are readily available for bracing poly pipe against the frame. The clips are easily screwed to the frame.

How do I install noggins or studs for tap and shower fittings in steel framing?

Steel noggins can be easily applied to steel framing. Noggins should be cut to size and screwed or nailed between existing noggins, top or bottom plates or studs as required. Once the noggins are in place, follow your typical plumbing procedure fixing fittings to the noggins with standard plumbing tools.

How do I make service and/or vent holes in steel framing?

For additional pipe holes, make sure you have the right tool for the job. Take a look at the videos and downloadable instruction sheets to see the many hole making options available to you. Make sure the tool you select makes the right size hole for the grommets you need to use. Before making additional holes in steel framing, first consider if there are other options available, such as the use of wall cavities to run your pipes as this can save you time.

How do I run plumbing piping using steel framing?

Most holes required for plumbing are already provided in steel framing systems. Feeding poly pipe through the pre-punched holes provided in steel framing is straightforward, and saves time having to drill every hole. Steel frame manufacturers can provide plumbing holes that are flared, these flared holes do not require grommets, if plumbing holes are not flared, grommets are required and are usually delivered to the site by the frame manufacturer.  Visit the tools you’ll need section to find the right tools and supplies for the job.

What’s the best type of piping for use with steel framing?

The use of poly water pipe and poly gas pipe makes the work of plumbers very cost efficient and is becoming more popular.

 

Tips for plasterers

How do I fix plaster on a steel frame?

Today, most plastering work whether with steel or timber, is heading in the direction of screw fixing which is appropriate for steel framing. Screw fixing using collated screws and the latest screw guns speed up the process of fixing plasterboard to steel framing.

What are the benefits of steel framing to a plasterer?

The squareness, flatness, and non-shrinking properties of steel framing, make it an ideal working medium for plasterers. And with the latest in screw gun tools, it’s really easy to fix. Visit the tools you’ll need section to find the right tools and supplies for the job.

 

Steel framing porkies

Does a steel frame need chemical or physical termite protection?

The Building Code of Australia specifies chemical and physical termite barriers only where structural members are subject to termite attack. A steel frame is completely resistant to termite attack and a house built with a steel frame without a termite barrier is a reasonably safe option for an owner. One of the safest possible options is a steel frame plus non-structural fixtures of termite-resistant materials.

Visit the National Association for Steel Framed Housing's (NASH) Termite Information Site.

I have heard that steel frames are made of thin steel. How do I know they will be strong enough?

The properties of steel are known and consistent, and conform to Australian standards or their equivalent. Steel framing components are designed around those properties. Most modern systems use high tensile steel components and appropriate jointing methods and are engineered to pass strict performance tests. So strong is steel that is the material of choice in high cyclonic areas.

I’ve heard a steel framed house is dangerous in lightening?

Lightening will have minimal effect on a steel frame as steel creates a positive earth allowing the energy to conduct straight to the ground and not be released destructively within the frame. Correctly installed steel frames are electrically safe because they are earthed and it is a requirement that all new housing be fitted with circuit breaking safety devices.

I’ve heard steel frames are not electrically safe. Is this true?

It is a BCA and AS/NZS3000 standard that any new dwelling, regardless of framing materials, must be fitted with a safety switch known as an RCD (Residual Current Device) or an ELCN (Earth Leakage Circuit Breaker). These devices are designed to prevent death by accidental electrocution.

I’ve heard you can’t earth steel frames. And if electrified, the current will flow through any humans who are nearby. Is this true?

As outlined on the NASH website, steel house frames must be permanently earthed in accordance with the requirements of the local electricity authorities. A temporary earth should be established until the permanent earth is installed.

An electric current will follow the path of least resistance, the amount of current being in inverse proportion to the resistances involved. In other words, if there are two paths the current can follow, it will split into two, the stronger current being conductive through the lower resistance. If that resistance is very low relative to the other, nearly all the current will flow through it. This is how the process of “earthing” works. Steel is an excellent conductor of electricity so it is improbable that any electric current would actually pass through a human body (high resistance) instead of the frame to earth system (low resistance). Non-conducting building materials with higher electrical resistances than steel actually increase the chance that more current will pass through the human. For more information on Electrical Safety, check the National Association of Steel-Frames Housing (NASH) website.

If I use a steel frame how much flexibility do I have with design?

Steel frame manufacturers and fabricators can produce almost any one or two storey home designs seen in the Australian market today. Furthermore, it is possible to produce designs in steel that are difficult to replicate using other materials due to its spanning capabilities. By taking advantage of this feature a homeowner can often build with less expense than by using more conventional materials.

Is steel framing suitable for cyclonic areas?

Yes. Steel is used extensively in these areas because of its inherent strength and high tensile properties. It is recommended that you consult with your local steel framing fabricators for details.

Steel expands and contracts as the temperature changes. Is this a problem?

Whether a steel frame is mechanically jointed or welded, in a properly constructed and insulated home, thermally induced movement and noise is equally as likely as with other materials. Steel framing expands and contracts at rates not too dissimilar from other materials, which means it’s unlikely that there will be noise or cornice cracking problems.

What warranties are available to the homeowner?

Generally, there are two types of warranty that may be available to BlueScope Steel customers. Material Warranties* cover the materials (such as TRUECORE® steel) that certain steel products are made from. Performance Warranties are offered by some manufacturers of these end products to assure users they will perform as expected when installed. (If a homeowner asks you about warranties, refer to either the project supervisor, your supplier or call BlueScope Steel Direct 1800 800 789.)

*Conditions apply, see our warranty page for more information.

Why are people building more steel-framed homes?

Steel is the product to use to protect the long-term investment of the homeowner and to reduce the amount of call backs for the tradie. It’s lightweight and strong, won't burn, is termite and borer proof and won't shrink, warp or twist - so the home is maintained for the future.

You can’t build a steel frame on piers or concrete slabs? Is this right?

No, this is not correct, you can build on either. Steel framing can be fixed directly to a concrete slab, or to steel flooring systems on brick, concrete, or steel piers.

 

Steel framing benefits

A frame made from TRUECORE® steel can provide design flexibility.

Steel framing encourages home designers to think outside the square and make the most of available space and spanning capabilities. It lends itself perfectly to innovative designs and non-conventional rooflines, helping to create distinctive, highly individualised homes. In particular, the high strength-to-weight ratio of steel roof framing allows for longer spans, creating larger, more open living areas. And because it’s steel, it measures up against increasingly stringent building and fire regulations.

A frame made from TRUECORE® steel has environmental benefits.

Steel framing made from TRUECORE® steel delivers a range of environmental benefits, both immediate and long term. The relative lightweight of steel framing, combined with its design versatility and flexibility, means a steel-framed house can be built with minimal site impact. Quite literally, it ‘touches the earth lightly’. This is especially apparent on sloping and difficult sites where it can be used in conjunction with suspended flooring systems, reducing the need to cut into the site and thus leaving a much smaller imprint. And because steel frames are fabricated off-site to exact specifications, there is minimal cutting and wastage onsite - making for a cleaner building environment.

A steel frame is 100% termite proof.

Wall and roof framing made from TRUECORE® steel is 100% termite and borer proof. Because of this, the frames don’t require additional chemical treatments to protect them from pest attack. TRUECORE® steel is also non-combustible, so its use significantly reduces the amount of flammable material in a home.

A steel frame made from TRUECORE® steel is strong.

The inherent strength and durability of TRUECORE® steel provides structural integrity in all types of environments and conditions - from Australia’s cyclone-prone north to the cold climate regions of the south; in bushland, where fire is an ever present threat, and near the coast. Backed by a 50 year BlueScope Steel warranty* when used in residential house frame applications, TRUECORE® steel provides homeowners with the peace of mind of knowing their most valuable asset is protected by the strength of steel.

*Conditions apply, see our warranty page for more information.

Frames made from TRUECORE® steel are straight and true.

Wall and roof frames made from TRUECORE® steel are engineered to be dimensionally accurate. They won’t shrink, twist or warp, reducing the likelihood of problems such as cracking cornices, jamming doors, sticking windows or wavy rooflines.

Steel is recyclable.

Steel is one of the most recycled materials on the planet. Not only is TRUECORE® steel 100% recyclable, it is made with a component of recycled steel.

 

We've bundled a stack of our tips, tricks and troubleshooting advice into categories to make it easier to find the info you need when working with steel - just click on the category and select the advice you need. Can't find it? Call the team at TRUECORE® steel on 1800 800 789.