Intellisteel is a leading design manufacturer of cold-formed steel framing that has emerged as a disrupter in the US construction industry. This case study highlights the key challenges and opportunities that Intellisteel has faced and the transformative impact of cold formed steel (CFS) on the construction sector.
In 2016, Intellisteel embarked on a mission to revolutionize construction by introducing the use of steel framing to the US commercial and residential construction markets. Offering complete turnkey projects via offsite manufacturing and panelizing entire superstructures out of one of its factories in Florida or Texas, delivering structural components to job site, or by delivering fully assembled modular structures across the US.
The US construction industry is heavily reliant on wood-based construction methods, which historically, and until today pose several challenges, including susceptibility to termites, mold, mildew, diminishing quality and availability of wood along with drastically increased insurance requirements. With the majority of US States within some form of disaster/weather impact zone – CFS is the only certified answer for disaster resilience.
Traditional construction methods require a large workforce resulting in increased labor-related costs. The industry also continues to face challenges with supply chain disruptions and uncertainty, causing even greater delays in project schedules.
Transformation with Steel Framing
Intellisteel found that by using cold-formed steel framing the construction project risks associated with labor, material, supply chain, termites, mold and mildew were mitigated as steel withstands hurricanes, seismic activity, floods and high winds, making it possible to drastically reduce the insurance premiums that currently burdens wood-based construction project financing. Insurance savings alone are transforming deals that were once deemed financially unfeasible into viable and profitable opportunities going forward! This is enormously good news for all stakeholders.
The team successfully harnessed the precision of steel framing, design-led engineering and modular construction techniques that significantly reduced the cost of labor for each of their projects.
By utilizing cold-formed steel, offsite manufacturing proved to be over 50% faster than traditional construction methods, making it the clear choice for projects that prioritize speed.
The sustainability and recyclability of cold-formed steel, having the distinction of the most recycled material in construction have appealed to project financiers, owners, and developers as they contribute to reduced carbon footprints and the conservation of natural resources.
Contrary to misconceptions, cold-formed steel has demonstrated its direct cost benefit vs wood construction hard costs alone before you add on additional savings for labor efficiency, insurance savings, precision framing installation, optimized design and engineering and waste reduction.
The importance of the design process cannot be overstated. Intellisteel allocates a significant amount of its time and resources to design and engineering each project. The design process not only shapes the future but also determines the outcome of a project. Adopting a design-led, focused approach and aligning all stakeholders is paramount. This ensures that the final product adheres to the intended design and takes into account practical considerations on the job site.
The use of steel framing consistently results in overall construction excellence, speed and cost savings. Intellisteel’s CEO and Co-Founder, Stanley Adwell said, “when all the walls are straight and all the corners are square. When all the finishes look like they've never looked before with wood, and it took ⅔ less people to do it in 50% of the time. All of a sudden now you've totally changed the game.”
Stanley is confident that steel framing will play a dominant role in the construction industry's future. He said, “the next 5 years, cold formed steel will absolutely be at the forefront. Wood is no longer a tolerable mechanism for construction for all the reasons of its material and method inefficiencies, deficiencies and supply chain volatility.”
“Our business without FRAMECAD would not be a business”
FRAMECAD, a technology and software partner, played a crucial role in Intellisteel's success by providing the necessary technology, software and support, allowing Intellisteel to challenge the norms of the US construction industry.
Intellisteel has exemplified the transformative potential of cold-formed steel in the construction sector. By overcoming traditional challenges with innovative technology. The company has positioned itself as a leader in US offsite, onsite and modular construction, offering cost-effective and sustainable solutions. As the US construction industry continues to evolve, the future indeed seems bright for steel framing.