Climatic Considerations: Steel vs. Wood Framing in New Zealand | Kiwi Steel Frames

Climatic Considerations: Steel vs. Wood Framing in New Zealand

In the realm of construction, choosing the right framing material is paramount, particularly in a place like New Zealand, where the climate poses unique challenges. In this article, we’ll delve into the advantages of steel framing, shedding light on why it’s the preferred building material of choice for many projects across the country.

Understanding Steel Framing

Steel Framing is a construction method that uses steel frames to support a building’s structure. Unlike more traditional methods of Timber Framing, which has been the go-to choice for many years, steel frames offer many benefits that have revolutionised the building industry.

The Building Process with Steel Framing

When it comes to steel frame construction, the entire process is a marvel of precision. The manufacturing process ensures dimensional accuracy, resulting in steel frames that enable consistently straight walls and square corners. This is a stark contrast to Timber Framing, where dimensional variations can lead to challenges during the building project.

Fire Resistance

One of the remarkable features of steel frames is their inherent fire resistance. Steel is non-combustible; unlike timber, it doesn’t support mould growth or absorb moisture. This fire-resistant quality of wall frames is of utmost importance, especially in New Zealand conditions, where the risk of wildfires is a reality.

Eco-Friendly Choice

Another compelling reason to opt for steel framing is its eco-friendliness. Much of the steel used in construction is recycled, reducing the environmental impact. This commitment to sustainability aligns with New Zealand’s focus on responsible building practices and conservation.

Advantages of Steel Frames

Dimensional Accuracy

Steel Frame construction ensures dimensional accuracy throughout the building process. This precision enables builders to create straight walls and square corners, which can be challenging with Timber Framing due to variations in timber dimensions.

Fire Resistance

The fire-resistant properties of steel make it an excellent choice for building in New Zealand, where wildfires are a concern. Unlike timber, steel does not support mould growth or absorb moisture, reducing the risk of structural damage.

Minimal Wastage

Steel Framing minimises wastage during the construction process. Every component is manufactured to precise measurements, reducing the need to cut or modify materials on-site. This saves time and cost but also reduces the environmental impact.

Superior Finish

Steel Frames provide a superior finish, creating a sleek and modern appearance for residential and commercial buildings. The clean lines and consistent dimensions create a complete design with a high aesthetic appeal.


The upfront cost of steel framing is higher than that of a timber frame. However, the long-term benefits far outweigh the investment. Reduced maintenance, resistance to pests and moisture, and the ability to withstand seismic activity on the Richter scale make it a cost-effective choice.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. What is the NZ standard for steel framing?

In New Zealand, steel framing must adhere to the NZS 3404.1:2009 Steel Structures Standard. This standard provides the requirements for the design, fabrication, and construction of steel-framed structures to ensure safety and durability.

Q2. What is strong metal for framing?

The strong metal used for framing in New Zealand is typically structural steel. Structural steel is known for its durability and strength, making it an ideal choice for framing in construction projects. It provides the structural integrity needed to support buildings and withstand various loads.

Q3. What type of steel is used in framing?

Steel framing in New Zealand commonly uses mild steel or structural steel, which are both strong and durable. These types of steel have the necessary properties to withstand the structural demands of framing in construction projects. They offer excellent strength-to-weight ratios, making them efficient and reliable.

Q4. Is a steel frame better?

Steel framing offers several advantages that make it a popular choice in construction. It is known for its strength, durability, and resistance to pests like termites. Steel framing is also fire-resistant and can be more environmentally friendly due to its recyclability. However, whether steel framing is better depends on a construction project’s specific requirements and preferences. Evaluating factors like cost, design, and local building regulations is essential to determine which framing material suits your needs best.

In the world of construction, where stability, precision, and fire resistance are paramount, steel framing stands out as the superior choice. By enabling consistently straight walls, with its fire resistance and by providing an eco-friendly, cost-effective solution, steel frames make an ideal material for New Zealand’s diverse climate and building projects.

So, why delay? Embrace the future of construction with steel framing and experience the many advantages it brings to your building project. Whether you’re constructing a commercial building, a tiny house, or any other structure, steel framing ensures a stable product that will stand the test of time while minimising environmental impact. Make the switch to steel framing and build with confidence.