Steel Framing Systems (SFS) Working Group

Formed by manufacturers, engineers, suppliers and contractors involved in the design supply and construction of light gauge steel structures and facades (commonly referred to as SFS) to provide readily accessible and relevant information to allow SFS to be designed, specified, costed and installed correctly and safely for contractors and occupiers of buildings.

What is the FIS Steel Framing Systems (SFS) Working Group?

The Steel Framing Systems (SFS) sector has seen significant growth in recent years based on the efficiencies that it can bring to the construction process through speed and offsite opportunities.  The sector relies on a number of skills which have been transferred from the drylining sector, but these need to be honed to install systems with a structural element.

The SFS Working Group brings industry together focus on the common issues around skills, education and understanding within the construction and specification process for SFS.  By highlighting these issues the industry, through the FIS can develop a programme of engagement and education.

The key objectives of the group are to:

  • Develop technical standards as required
  • Promote best practice in the market
  • Educate and inform clients and specifiers about SFS
  • Promote the products and skills of FIS members in this field
  • Shape the market so that the correct adherence to standards is recognised and adhered to by all to the benefit of clients.

What are the issues that the group is looking to address?

An example of a recent project delivered is that the group jointly recently collaborated with the Steel Construction Institute (SCI) to publish guidance that clearly defines the structural capacity systems and the correct engineering solutions required to meet the individual building needs.  This guidance is used to educate the sector which has seen significant growth now the benefits of fast and sometimes offsite construction using these stems can offer developers.

Key challenges currently being addressed are how to:

  • Improve procurement processes and ensure contractors are engaged earlier in the design process
  • Better specification clauses that are meaningful to the sector
  • Better ways of describing SFS in bills using New Rules of Measurement (NRM)
  • Skills development and competency for the industry
  • The impact of Regulation 7 on specification of cavity trays across England and Wales
  • Fire Safety and  the opportunities for through-the-wall systems

Working Group Meetings

Meetings are open to all members of the FIS and invited guests (prior confirmation of attendance is essential).  

Date of Next Meeting

The next meeting is being held on the afternoon of the 14 October 2020 (location to be confirmed). The Drylining Working Group is meeting in the morning.  To find out more and book your place click here

Having seen this industry grow rapidly in the last 15 years, I feel that it is imperative that everyone specifying, designing and installing SFS understand it is a structural element of a building and must be treated with respect. There is an assumption in some quarters that this is just another stud system and although there are similarities in the way it looks, SFS is designed to carry a load from the cladding and be the main structure of the building itself. However, with FIS giving the SFS sector a voice through this forum we have seen competitors coming together to address these issues and provide the representation that’s required.

Collin Kennedy

Group Chairman, Veitchi

To find a supplier or installer of SFS Systems who is a vetted member of the FIS click here

Key Resources developed through the SFS Working Group

The Steel Framing System Guide

The Guide has been developed by our Working Group, in collaboration with the Steel Construction Institute (SCI) is for anyone who designs and installs SFS infill walls, and anyone checking that the products are being correctly installed, such as a ‘Clerk of Works.’ It will help to raise standards, show clients what SFS is and how it works.  Click here to download the Design and Installation of Light Steel External Wall Systems guide

Additional information is available through the Finishes and Interiors Sector Knowledge Hub here

To find out more about joining the SFS Working Group

If you are a member of the FIS already, simply contact the FIS on info@thefis.org or call 0121 707 0077 and ask to be added to the circulation list (or book to attend the next meeting and you will be automatically added).  If you want to find out more about joining the FIS – click here