Design of the housing product
Light steel framing has been introduced as a substitute for the
block inner leaf in conventionally built housing, and has been
marketed as not requiring significant changes to current practice.
However, theories of industrialised construction have long held
that successful implementation of building systems requires a
thorough re-evaluation of products, processes and practices.
The Hi Spec project investigated the potential for light steel frame
systems in a scenario where the constraint of emulating current
practice and products has been lifted. Recent shifts in the housing
market and its regulatory framework, mean that this kind of
innovation is increasingly required of an industry that has often
been accused of being adverse to change.
During the Hi Spec project, student architects designed housing
'products' that have market appeal and make effective use of light
steel framing; They were not required to reproduce current house-
building products and practices, or to see themselves in the
traditional architect's role, but they were expected to take a robust
attitude towards construction technology.
As a result their designs imply innovative practice for all those
involved in the production of light steel frame houses.