load bearing solutions

Load Bearing Solutions

Load bearing structures with structural stud walls, bracing, and apertures designed in-house by voestalpine Metsec

voestalpine Metsec SFS load bearing is a complete load bearing system suitable for structures up to 5 storeys without the need for a primary hot rolled or reinforced concrete frame.

Load bearing structures make use of the axial capacity of the SFS frame, with studs designed as a series of columns to provide complete load bearing wall panels.

The system provides a complete load-bearing superstructure for low to medium rise structures with all voestalpine Metsec SFS components supplied to site loose and then assembled in-situ with Tek screwed connections.

The voestalpine Metsec SFS system has many advantages over traditional methods of construction. It is light-weight, fast track, durable and is suitable for confined sites. This flexibility makes load bearing structures ideally suited to penthouses or high level inset structures where it is important to keep the loads to a minimum. It also benefits from reduced crane and transport costs, when compared to pre-panelised solutions.

Design Service

voestalpine Metsec’s SFS technical team can offer advice on wall and floor build-ups and have a library of test details to substantiate performance data for a range of build-ups. A full and bespoke design and detailing service can be provided. For this process to work effectively, the following basic architectural information should be provided by the design team:

  • Wall set-outs and build-ups
  • Structural set-out of apertures in walls
  • Floor build-up and positions where trimming-out required
  • Roof build-up and set-out and details of feature (i.e. eaves/parapets/hatches etc.)
  • Junction detail with supporting elements

Please note:
SFS Load bearing structures require a full voestalpine Metsec design prior to commencement of work on site.

load-bearing stud walls and sections detail

Load-Bearing Construction Details

Load-bearing Stud Walls

Load-bearing stud walls are designed using Metsec lipped C-section studs that are storey height with track sections at the base and head. The set out/extent of the SFS wall is determined by the architectural configuration and design requirements. The size/gauge and centers of studs are also determined by the design.

Wall Apertures

Wall apertures are set to suit the architectural layout. The design of lintels and jambs is dependent on the aperture configuration. A short section of stud is used as a support bracket for lintels and cills. An additional stud is positioned adjacent to the jamb for a brick-tie channel where masonry cladding is required.


Bracing is achieved through flat strap bracing that is screw fixed to wall studs. The quantities and positions of bracing are determined by Metsec design.


Roofs are designed including joists that are laid flat or with a tail to suit the project. Access hatches/roof lights can be incorporated where required. Bracing requirements are dependent upon roof build-up. The parapet detail shown has studs continuous from the floor below. Joists are supported by and fixed to an end track which is fixed to studs. End joists are also screwed to studs.


Ceilings are designed using resilient bars that are fixed to the underside of Metsec joists.


Floors are designed using Metsec joists with depth, gauge, and centers determined by the spans required. Joists are supported by/fixed to track and screwed to the wall head.

External finishes

External finishes can be supported/restrained by SFS load-bearing walls. An example of foil-faced rigid insulation for masonry cladding is shown.

Blocking detail

Blocking detail involves solid blocking of joist section cut to fit snugly between every third joist and adjacent first/last joist. Design determines blocking requirements.

Load-Bearing Section References Explained

Load Bearing Structures with Structural Stud Walls

voestalpine Metsec SFS load bearing section references are designed to be easy to read and understand at a glance. Each section type is identified by a unique reference consisting of three numerical values seperated by a letter or a dash.

Studs Sections (lipped sections)

Example stud reference – 240M12-50

  • 240 – Refers to the section depth of 240mm (numbers ending in 0 are always lipped)
  • M – Refers to voestalpine Metsec SFS
  • 12 – Refers to the gauge (thickness) of the section i.e. 12 is 1.2mm thick
  • 50 – Refers to the width or section flange of 50mm

Track Sections (un-lipped sections)

Example stud reference – 244M20-70

  • 244 – Refers to the section depth of 244mm (numbers ending in 4 or 6 are always un-lipped)
  • M – Refers to voestalpine Metsec SFS
  • 20 – Refers to the gauge (thickness) of the section i.e. 20 is 2.0mm thick
  • 70 – Refers to the width or section flange of 70mm

Colour Coding Explained

voestalpine Metsec prints stud or joist sections and track sections with references that are designed to be easy to read and understand at a glance. voestalpine Metsec prints the Metsec name down both flanges for the thinner thicknesses of section and these are colour coded as follows:

  • BLACK = 1.2mm or 1.3mm thickness
  • RED = 1.4mm thickness
  • GREEN = 1.6mm thickness
  • ORANGE = 1.8mm thickness
  • BLUE = 2.0mm thickness

On our drawings any sections greater than 2.0mm or that are made up of multiple sections are shown in yellow so they are highlighted on the drawings.

Slotted head track or sections thicker than 2.0mm are not colour coded but still have the “M” reference on the web.

All stud or joist sections and track sections have a string of numbers and letters printed down the back web along with our CE mark. One of the string of characters will start with a M and have two numbers alter it e.g. M12 or M20. This denotes the thickness of the section i.e. M12 = 1.2mm thick section.

Load Bearing Performance Data

Need for full system performance data

Coupled with the need for optimal performance, confidence in that performance is paramount and being able to have data available to support the whole system is an ever increasing requirement.

Making performance data accessible

See how our systems will perform in different applications with a full range of insulation and plaster boards. We give you access to a full suite of performance and testing data so you can be confident in your construction.

Fire performance data is available with all three major manufacturers of plasterboard – BG, Knauf & Siniat.

Fire performance solutions available with 2 types of sheathing board, RCM Y-Wall (Calcium Silicate) and Euroform Versaliner (MGO).

Performance data is available with 2 types of insulation, both can be used above 18m, Kingspan K15 and Rockwool Duoslab.

Tested both load bearing walls and also non-load bearing for infill solutions which are more economical.

We now have performance data for over 200 wall and floor solution combinations.

Full performance data

Each and every one of our systems is tested or assessed for fire safety by the UK’s leading independent centre – the BRE. We also calculate acoustic and thermal data for complete peace of mind.

For more information on this please take a look at our SFS Framing downloads.