In May 2005, Smorgon Steel announced the first major sale of LSB to Steel Framing Systems for use in the construction of more than 90 new architecturally designed homes at the AVJennings development “Stellar at Carina”.
That project is well underway, and 13 homes using LSB have so far been completed. Since then, there have been a number of other developments related to LSB that are summarised below.
Pryda Australia, part of international group ITW, has entered into an agreement with Smorgon Steel for promoting LSB into the timber truss and frame market in Australia. Pryda is a major provider of software and manufacturing systems to the pre-fabrication market, with a large network of licensed fabricators in all states. Fabricators of timber roof trusses and wall frames are the largest suppliers of structural materials to house builders, and the agreement with Pryda represents a significant opportunity for the development of LSB sales to the national housing market. Pryda design software is to be updated to include LSB as a default specified member to assist in LSB selection. The updated software will be available to all fabricators nationally from the first quarter of 2006. The program will offer a range of choices for LSB sizes to enable selection of the most suitable beam for applications in construction of a house frame.
Pryda’s General Manager Maurie Anglin said, “Pryda has enjoyed a strong relationship with Smorgon Steel as our steel supplier for many years, and this new LSB initiative has given us an opportunity to work together in our primary market. We see an advantage to our customers through the use of LSB in domestic housing construction”.
Hudson Frame and Truss
Smorgon Steel has also secured supply of LSB to Hudson Frame and Truss, a member of the listed company Hudson Timber Products. Hudson Frame & Truss Limited (HFT) is the largest manufacturer of pre-fabricated house frames and roof trusses in Australia.
General Manager of HFT, Colin Broadbent, stated that “our customers include some of Australia’s largest residential builders, and provision of LSB is part of our ongoing efforts to be at the leading edge of supply to them.”
Colin also saw benefit in materials handling and workplace health and safety that a lighter product like LSB will bring. Henley Properties Group Henley properties group has recently trialled LSB in a home under construction in Melbourne’s Western suburbs. As a result, discussions between Henley Properties – one of Australia’s leading residential builders – and Smorgon Steel regarding the ongoing use of LSB in more Henley developments are underway.
Residential construction market in Western Australia
Smorgon Steel has also secured supply agreements for LSB with two of West Australia’s largest builders – the BGC Group (trading as National Homes, Western Australia Housing Centre, GO Homes – The Home Builder, NOW Homes, Statesmen Homes and Commodore Homes) and JCorp. These builders have significant positions in the WA residential housing market and are amongst the largest builders in Australia. Of particular value to these builders is the onsite flexibility and materials handling benefits, in some cases eliminating the need for overhead cranes, provided by the LSB.
Smorgon Steel’s Managing Director and CEO, Ray Horsburgh, said “LSB is an exciting development for the Company. While the product is still in the early phase of its life, we are very pleased with market acceptance to date. LSB is beating the internal milestones we established to measure its success, although it should be remembered that LSB is still not one year old.
Ray Horsburgh continued, “In addition to the achievements we have had to date with LSB in Australia, we are undertaking research into the product’s viability in selected offshore markets. Although the research is not yet complete, we are very pleased with progress so far.”