| || |
research effort described in this report explores the potential of steel framing
for the construction of factory built homes that conform to the U.S. Department
of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) code, or the International Residential
Code (IRC), with the goal of developing technologies that are competitive with
wood framing. This research critically assesses and refines the use of light-gauge
steel design in the factory environment. MHRA first explored the use of light-gauge
steel for factory building in 2001 when developing a design intended to demonstrate
the economic and regulatory viability of steel for HUD-code construction. The
current work builds on this earlier effort by exploring the commercial viability
of light-gauge steel-frame designs through a case study approach conducted in
cooperation with industry partners.
The report consists of two case studies
of the application of steel framing in a factory environment. A case study approach
was taken as a way of addressing head-on the major technical issues associated
with steel framing in a home manufacturing plant. In each case study, engineers
worked with plant staff to develop solutions for a unique combination of market
and product-specific conditions.
The first case study focuses on Quality
Homes of the Pacific (QHP), a HUD-code home producer that was formed in 2001 in
Hawaii. QHP started with the light-gauge steel framing design developed under
the Phase I MHRA research. This design, as well as revisions to it, is presented
in Chapter 2. Work with QHP was given considerable attention as the company committed
to building a new manufacturing facility dedicated to 100 percent steel construction.
The technical hurdles faced by QHP and their solutions covered a wide range of
issues important to proving the value of steel in the factory environment. Given
this unique environment for product development, evolving a viable steel design
in partnership with QHP was the major focus of Phase II research.
case study documents the engineering of a steel-frame, factory built home design
developed in conjunction with R-Anell Housing Group, a producer of HUD-code and
modular homes, and commercial modular structures. R-Anell is headquartered in
Denver, North Carolina. The company was interested in investigating the feasibility
of transferring steel framing technology, which it uses for its commercial modular
structures, to its residential HUD-code and/or modular production. This case study
is presented in Chapter 3.
Selected elements of the R-Anell modular steel
design are included in Chapter 3 with the full set of details contained in Appendix
A. Appendix B provides a list of resources including organizations and events
that focus on light-gauge steel framing.