Steel Framing Houses – Efficiency On All Levels
They are a relatively new presence on the Romanian building market even if they have used this technique for decades in many other parts of the world. As a consequence, we wanted to find out more details from a specialized builder, starting with the pros of this type of construction, to prices and how Romanians, in general pretty reticent, view something new in a field where they are known to act with great care and attention.
Our interlocutor is Dorel Chereches, a representative of Case Mexi, a firm based in Oradea, NW Romania, but active in almost any county and even in Western Europe. We asked him to give us a broad overview of the advantages of this building technique. “First of all, the main advantage lies in a shorter building time which revolves around 90 days for a turnkey house. So, basically in three months a customer gets an entirely finished home. Of course, the term can vary depending on the complexity of the project, with a little extra time entailed. But when it comes to bigger houses, we send a larger team so the timeframe remains pretty much the same”, he explained to us.
The list of pros doesn’t stop here. “Besides the timeframe, I would also like to point out the quality of the construction. And I am particularly referring here to comfort and, more specifically, thermal insulation. This is two times better than what a brick house offers – the heat loss of our houses amounts to 1.169 Kw/square meter when a brick houses loses 0.319 Kw/square meter. So the thermal insulation of our house is very good”, Dorel Chereches pointed out.
These house are equally durable, he added. “The steel we use for the metal framing has a life expectancy of over 50 years in an open environment, in a closed one it goes up to as much as 100-120 years”, he further said. And, if that was not enough, the steel framing houses can withstand a 9.8 degrees earthquake, which is an unneglectable aspect in a country with significant seismic activity.
Given these advantages, we asked Dorel Chereches what the market of these houses is like in Romania and how Romanians eye the company’s offers. “We built our first steel framing house six years ago. The market is still at the beginning, but is rapidly advancing. Compared to the previous years, there are much more potential customers now”, he synthesized.
As concerns the typical Romanian’s reaction, it mainly comes down to financial calculations. “This system is not necessarily seen with reticent eyes, but Romanians tend to believe that a steel framing house automatically means a much cheaper house, which is not. People always look for something cheap, but when I lay the offer before them, when I tell them we use radiant floor heating and modern technology, some start turning their nose, arguing it is too expensive for a new building system. But, as I said, the market is developing and there are now more potential customers. This year, for instance, we have signed 12 contracts over the first five months, including houses to be built in Italy, Switzerland and Norway”, Dorel Chereches said.
The discussion inevitably goes to the price topic. “The final price of a home is given by the materials the customers chooses for the finishes. But the average price for a turnkey house is 420 Euros per built square meter, including the plans, the foundation, radiant floor heating, modern and efficient window systems, sanitary ware etc”, he argued. In general, the turnkey price for such a house is 10 to 15 % lower than a classic house.
Most of the customers prefer attic houses due to small plots of land, even though, if given the chance, they would all opt for a single level house, Chereches added. The house plans are drawn by the Polish architecture website Archipelag.pl which partners with Case Mexi while the Romanian company build these houses.