Zinnia Apartments: Light-Gauge Steel supplied by Dynamic Steel Frame.

Intracon Constructions’ use of light gauge steel has resulted in a unique building – Zinnia Apartments in Yarraville, Melbourne.

The development consists of 39 one-, two- and three-bedroom architecturally-designed apartments by Kylie Caruana from Rothelowman.

“Zinnia is a unique residential building in that we have applied load-bearing light-gauge steel and structural steel to the whole building to allow for flexibility in inter-tenancy walls, rather than using concrete for the lower levels and lightweight steel on the upper levels,” Caruana said.

Intracon’s preference for steel framing influenced its choice of engaging Melbourne-based Dynamic Steel Frame to design and create the prefabricated steel wall frames, trusses and joists, according to Intracon director James Banks.

“We’ve worked with Dynamic Steel Frame before and were keen to work with them again.
In fact, we always had them in mind when choosing steel framing for this job,” Banks said.
From the builder’s perspective, the key advantage of using a steel frame over alternative materials is in saving time and, as a result, cutting costs.

“Using steel framing on this project rather than timber frames, for example, has saved about $500,000 in construction costs,” said Banks.
“Using steel framing allows earlier access to floors for following trades, as no curing or back-propping of the structure is required. We’ve found that by using steel framing on a 12-month project construction, time can be cut by about a month: preliminary savings alone can be in the order of $50,000, so it’s a significant advantage in terms of both cost and time.”

The speed of construction and cost saving benefits of using steel frames were echoed by installer Tim Leach of CNC Construction.

“I’ve been working with load bearing light gauge steel for over 20 years because it’s a very quick, efficient and cost-effective method,” he said. “For this job we were able to get all the frames up in 11 weeks: that’s about seven weeks faster than if we were working with concrete.
“Doing the same job with wood framing would have taken about the twice the time, and we would have had to double the manpower on site to get it down closer to the time taken using the prefabricated BlueScope steel frames,” he said. ■



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