What is a lightweight metal frame?

A lightweight metal frame is a very high quality construction process, governed in France by DTU 32.3 and which enables quick, sustainable and robust private homes, collective housing, industrial and service buildings to be built. This construction process provides a high architectural, ecological and modular potential. Furthermore, it enables worksites to be accelerated significantly.

Is this process new?

No. This building method was created and disseminated in the UK and USA from 1850 onwards. It has developed greatly over the last 50 years thanks to the rapid pace of progress in steel and 4.0 manufacturing tools, significantly improving both quality and productivity. For example, 17% of homes in Australia are built using this method, 40% in Hawaii and 150 000 homes are built using lightweight steel in Japan every year. There is therefore a great deal of experience with this building method and the French market is rapidly expanding. In France today, around 10% of individual homes are built with a metal structure (heavy and lightweight steel).

Is this method governed by standards?

Yes. Lightweight metal frames are, like any building method in France, strictly controlled. There is a specific building code with identification n° 32.3. This is drawn up by standardisation committees managed by a bureau of normalisation under the auspices of AFNOR (French Normalisation Association). Furthermore, ARKEO SYSTEM’s specifications are drafted by the Industrial Technical Centre for Metal Construction (CTICM), which guarantees that the ARKEO SYSTEM building method complies with the building code and Eurocodes.

Is this building method environmentally-friendly?

Using lightweight steel is a method with several environmental advantages :

  • It is 100% recyclable with several recycling sectors. In Europe 85% to 90% of steel is recycled.
  • The fully automated process enables the production of waste to be considerably reduced. The manufacture of a house’s structure only generates 2 to 3% waste, which is also recyclable.
  • ARKEO SYSTEM steel is produced in Europe.
  • It enables a dry worksite without using water and therefore avoids any discharge into the environment.
  • Finally, thanks to its light weight (3 times lighter than wood, 10 times lighter than concrete), steel generates less CO2 emissions in terms of transport and lifting.
  • Reduced foundations
Does it allow radio and mobile phone signals to pass through ?

A house’s structure is basically made up of spaces between the profiles. It therefore allows radio-waves to pass through without any difficulty. The hollow space inside a house’s walls also enables the piping and electrical wiring needed for daily life to be installed.

Is there a Faraday cage effect ?

The metal frame is not a faraday cage because it is connected to the earth. Consequently, houses are protected against lightning and any other electrical phenomena.

Does a house with a metal frame look different to other houses ?

No. A house with a metal frame looks just like any other house. The same outside finishes can be applied onto it as with any standard construction. The method can therefore be adapted according to urban constraints or the client’s wishes: city or country style, traditional or contemporary design, social housing, etc.

How resistant is the structure to fire ?

Smoke and hot air, as well as asphyxiating gases are responsible for around 75% of deaths due to house fires. A steel structure will not burn. It will therefore not contribute to or spread fire, and will not give off either smoke or carbon dioxide. The structure’s fire resistance is low, but the legal time needed to evacuate is guaranteed by coatings on the frame which respect fire resistance standards. The adding of inside walls must therefore respect regulations in force in terms of fire resistance.

What is the thermal comfort of lightweight steel houses ?

The lightweight metal frame is generally associated with ITE (outdoor thermal insulants). This insulating method is the best thermal solution because it cuts all thermic bridges and provides considerable energy savings.

Does my home’s frame have a warranty ?

Yes. In addition to ARKEO SYSTEM’S ten-year insurance, we provide a joint liability insurance for the manufacturer (Epers), which protects you against disorders affecting the structure, after their acceptance, due to a defect in the product’s implementation and not a manufacturing fault. The ARKEO SYSTEM manufacturer’s liability is therefore covered.

What is the performance of the lightweight steel used by ARKEO SYSTEM ?

The steel used by ARKEO SYSTEM to manufacture metal frames is provided with a type 3.1b material certificate under standard NF EN 10204. Satisfying EUROCODES requirements, in particular those regarding the ductility of steel, is therefore guaranteed because steel does not leave the manufacture’s factory unless standard criteria are respected. The metal frame has unrivalled protection against oxidation: ZAM (or ZM) is a zinc, aluminium and magnesium based coating, whose resistance against corrosion is classed as type C5, according to standard EN ISO 4713. ZAM’s resistance against corrosion is particularly remarkable: tests carried out show it is eight times more resistant to corrosion than classic coatings obtained by continuous galvanisation.

How does lightweight steel react to natural catastrophes, such as cyclones and earthquakes ?

Steel is the material with the best weight/resistance ratio. According to the location of buildings, structural engineers calculate resistance and adapted bracing. The lightweight metal frame is recognised for its earthquake and cyclone-resistance.

Can a rolling shutter be integrated into a lightweight metal frame ?

Yes, of course. Outside closing products on the market today can be perfectly integrated into lightweight metal frames. We can put you in touch with specialist professionals to choose the right design.

Lightweight steel ? Can it lead to problems of solidity over time ?

No, not at all. All our frames are calculated by our in-house design office, following standards in force (EUROCODES) and, of course, the construction’s geographical location (service, snow, wind loads, etc).

What type of land can an ARKEO SYSTEM be built on ?

The steel structure’s light weight means it can be built on many different types of land (soft ground, slopes, infills, etc). This is more complicated for heavier houses, made from bricks or concrete. Plus, this light weight also enables you to make savings on extensions and elevations with traditional costly reinforcements.