Time, Cost Savings and Value Propositions

There can’t be many people who have never heard the phrase “Time in Money”: it’s a well word cliché but one which holds eminently true.

Maybe more so when one contemplates real estate development, where the benefits the shorter the time it takes to construct a new building are almost immeasurable—both in terms of direct costs but also those attributable to social costs due to noise or dust pollution from construction sites.

When it comes to building materials such as cold formed or cold rolled steel (“CFS” or “CRS”) there are clearly advantages in its use when compared to other materials. However, to better understand some of them, it’s necessary to step and consider what is the main value proposition of CFS and how can a project be successfully put together to achieve time and cost savings.

But first, what is a value proposition?

A value proposition refers to the demonstrable value a company promises to deliver to their clients should they choose to use their product. It can be presented as a business or marketing statement that a company uses to summarise why a consumer should buy a product or use a service.

Such a proposition aims to convince a potential consumer that a particular product (in this case CFS) will add more value or better solve a problem for them than other similar offerings. It has to clearly explain how a product fills a need, communicating the specifics of its added benefit, some of the reasons why it’s better than similar products on the market.

An ideal value proposition is to-the-point and appeals to a customer’s strongest decision-making drivers.

 An example of a time saving value-proposition for a construction project

Canadian CFS construction company “FrameTech” was outgrowing their existing manufacturing facility and urgently needed to start planning and constructing a new, much larger building.

Being a CFS supply company, the key objective was to be able to use only CFS in their new construction, instead of structural steel in part and a selection of pre-engineered metal (“PEM”).

FrameTech, obviously, knew all about why they wanted to use but CFS, given that some of the key, well-known benefits are as follows:

Strength: CFS is up to 20% stronger than typical hot rolled steel (HRS”) as making steel at or about room temperature holds its structural integrity, whereas using heat to roll the steel can weaken it. CFS is, therefore, the preferred material for curtain walls and partitions in commercial construction due to its light weight, high strength, non-combustible nature and ease of installation. It is increasingly being used as the primary structural framework for buildings up to 9 stories tall.

Sustainability: is one of the best materials to use when projects call for minimal carbon emissions and waste, an energy-efficient finished building and to minimise the impact of construction on the environment

Aesthetics: CFA generally looks better than hot rolled steel, with more of a modern look.

So what were some of the key considerations, challenges and benefits for FrameTech in their value proposition?

  • to eliminate the use of structural steel for certain elements of the building; needing a large flexible workshop with 60-foot clear spans, 25-foot bays, plus 20-foot height to truss bearing the team has to pre-fabricate as much of the project with CFS as possible;
  • leave open the option to be able to add future overhead doors and production; further space can easily be added at a later date, meaning there is an opportunity to add extra machines. The resulting building is fully adaptable and any wall panel can be adjusted or removed as required;
  • create a more efficient, economical design and construction: this meant working and closely collaborating with a specialty engineering company known as Martin/Martin;
  • the building had to be economical to produce using their equipment and own materials, and able to be designed in detail for efficient and economical construction.

Engineers developed truss and column assemblies, with interior and exterior column assemblies using vertical truss sections, to provide lateral stiffness and stability during construction;

  • add enough insulation to the frame of the building the team (3 inch rigid foam for wall insulation with 6 inches on the roof), with the result that even over a cold winter in one of the world’s harshest climate heat energy savings were over 66%;
  • the project took a total of 9 weeks from start to finish, saving approximately 17 weeks when compared with traditional construction methods;
  • direct cost savings were made as FrameTech were using their own in-house, expert team  which resulted in an estimated $1 million saving in labour costs and potential time delays.

Without doubt, using CFS can help save time and money for certain types of buildings—making a very attractive value proposition for any entity looking to move ahead quickly with a project!

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