Utilising TRUECORE steel, light gauge framing presents a versatile solution for addressing key challenges in the construction industry.
Against a backdrop of global material shortages, increasing labour costs, affordable housing shortages and rapidly changing climate, the Australian construction industry must continually adapt to provide solutions that are fit-for-purpose. Light gauge framing made from TRUECORE steel may offer a solution to tackling some of these industry challenges.
Steel is a key enabler for a construction industry seeking rapid efficiency and non-combustible materials that can be supplied locally to build homes, apartments, schools and commercial buildings.
Antony Schillaci, manager marketing and market development at BlueScope, emphasises that light gauge steel is well-suited for structures intended for prolonged durability, resilience and adaptability. Its properties accommodate multiple future reuse options without the need for reinvestment in structural alteration and refurbishment. Additionally, light gauge steel is appropriate for designs where end-of-life considerations are key, such as those designed for disassembly and reuse.
“TRUECORE steel is made by BlueScope to strict tolerances, fully complies with all relevant Australian Standards and incorporates BlueScope’s patented Activate technology – a thoroughly tested protective aluminium/zinc/magnesium alloy coating,” says Schillaci. “Framing made from TRUECORE steel can be prefabricated offsite, to support minimising waste and driving efficiencies onsite.”
“Light gauge steel framing is strong, straight and true and dimensionally accurate, which assists with improving the efficiency of installers and follow-on trades onsite.”
The National Association for Steel Framed Housing (NASH) has estimated the number of light gauge steel fabricators in Australia has more than doubled in the last five years, providing a key indicator of the building industry’s broader adoption of light gauge steel framing as a viable material alternative.
ResponsibleSteel certified sites
TRUECORE steel is manufactured at BlueScope’s Port Kembla Steelworks in New South Wales and Western Port in Victoria, which are both certified to ResponsibleSteel Standard Version 1.1.
ResponsibleSteel is said to be the steel industry’s first global multi-stakeholder standard and certification initiative. The ResponsibleSteel Standard comprises 13 Guiding Principles including:
- Corporate leadership;
- Social, environmental and governance management systems;
- Responsible sourcing;
- Decommissioning and closure;
- Occupational health and safety;
- Labour rights;
- Human rights;
- Stakeholder engagement and communication;
- Local communities;
- Climate change and greenhouse gas emissions;
- Noise, emissions, effluent and waste;
- Water stewardship; and
Philippa Stone, sustainability manager at BlueScope, says the ResponsibleSteel certification assures customers of BlueScope’s commitment to the highest standards of environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance at both its Port Kembla and Western Port Steelworks facilities.
“Certification reinforces our longstanding commitment to sustainability and will continue to support our purpose of strengthening our communities,” says Stone.
ResponsibleSteel aims to provide specifiers and building practitioners with confidence that when they specify or use steel that has been sourced from a ResponsibleSteel certified site, they can trust that the steel was produced at a steelmaking facility that demonstrates responsible sourcing and production practices.
ResponsibleSteel members include the Green Building Council of Australia, Infrastructure Sustainability Council and the Australian Supply Chain Sustainability School.
“At the Green Building Council of Australia, we have adopted ResponsibleSteel as one of the ways we evaluate materials within our Green Star tool,” says Davina Rooney, CEO of the Green Building Council of Australia. “BlueScope’s leadership in the development of the ResponsibleSteel Standard and certification of the Port Kembla Steelworks illustrate their commitment to responsible choices for manufacturing and performance improvement.”
New Environmental Product Declarations
BlueScope has recently published a range of new Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs), providing transparency for the environmental impacts of its products, such as TRUECORE steel.
“Based on life cycle assessment (LCA), BlueScope EPDs are expressions of our strong commitment to environmental transparency and reflect our focus on product stewardship and broader commitment to sustainability,” says Stone. “EPDs are increasingly sought after by customers due to their robust and credible third party verified information.”
“They can be used as a tool to assess the LCA of a whole building or structure, which can help inform material selection and design choices to minimise environmental impacts across the building life cycle.
“The combination of the product-specific EPD for TRUECORE steel and ResponsibleSteel certification for Port Kembla Steelworks where the steel in TRUECORE steel is manufactured, equates to a Responsible Product Value of 15 in the Green Building Council of Australia’s Responsible Products Score Checker.
“This is considered ‘best practice’ under the Responsible Products Framework and may contribute to a project’s Green Star rating.”
BlueScope’s EPD for TRUECORE steel includes rollforming information, to provide indicative results for the final formed product.
BlueScope’s range of EPDs can be used to support LCAs including embodied or upfront carbon, for end uses such as buildings, and can be used as a source when using rating tools such as Green Star.
Owned and operated by the Australian Steel Institute, the Steel Sustainability Australia (SSA) Program is designed to identify sustainable steel suppliers by assessing the environmental and social impact of their steelwork manufacturing and processing operations.
BlueScope is verified as meeting best practice ESG standards in the manufacturing of its semi-finished steel products which supply the downstream fabrication or processing facilities seeking SSA certification, including TRUECORE steel fabricators. SSA is a recognised initiative under Green Star’s Responsible Products Framework.