Stick-build’ - Steel in Residential Construction

In this method of construction (illustrated in Fig. 5.32), discrete members are assembled on site to form columns, walls, rafters, beams and bracing to which cladding, internal lining and other elements are attached. The elements are generally delivered cut to length, with pre-punched holes, but connections are made on site using self-drilling self-tapping screws, bolts, or other appropriate site techniques.

The main advantages of ‘stick-build’ construction are:

• construction tolerances and modifications can be accommodated on site
• connection techniques are relatively simple
• manufacturers do not require the workshop facilities associated with panel or modular construction
• large quantities of light steel members can be densely packed and transported in single loads
• components can be easily handled on site.

‘Stick-build’ construction is generally labour intensive on site compared with the other methods, but can be useful in complex construction, where prefabrication  is not feasible. This form of construction is widely used in North America and  Australia, where there is an infrastructure of contractors skilled in the technique.

This stems from a craft tradition of timber frame construction that now uses many power tools. In these countries, traditional timber contractors have changed to light steel framing with little difficulty.

‘Stick-build’ site construction using wall studs and floor joists
Fig. 5.32 ‘Stick-build’ site construction using wall studs and floor joists

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