What is spot welding?

Spot welding is often considered to be a fairly simple process for welding sheet metal. However, if you aren’t familiar with the technique and are quite new to it, there are a number of things that can go wrong. That’s where we come in. This article will help you get to grips with spot welding, what it is, how it works, and where you would use it, so you can get a better insight into it when looking for experts to carry out your bespoke fabrication project.  

What is spot welding? 

Spot welding involves overlapping metals being joined between two copper alloy electrodes. Pressure and electric current are applied to the area you want to weld and the internal resistance to the current creates the level of heat that is needed to successfully complete the weld.  

The heat helps to melt the metal and fuse the materials and form a welding joint that takes the shape of a button or “nugget”. This is where the name spot welding originates from as the electric current is used on one small part of the surface of the metal.  

How does spot welding work? 

The key parts of the spot welding process are successfully melting the metal as quickly as possible whilst at the same time using enough pressure to allow the metals to fuse. Ultimately this is done with high current but low voltage pulses sent to the electrodes that will create that resistance and heat. Let’s look at each stage in more detail. 

Set up the metals correctly 

The very first thing you need to do is overlap the sheets of metal and make sure they are secured in the correct position. This will allow you to apply the level of pressure and electric current needed without the metals shifting and trying to weld in the wrong place. If this does occur, it will be better to simply start again with new metal. Based on the type of machine you have; the pressure can be applied to the metal in different ways.  

Apply the pressure and current 

Next you should be ready to add the pressure and current to the area between the electrodes. In most cases standard copper electrodes will be used but certain metal types will need different electrodes like tungsten or molybdenum. When the metal melts, it will likely get to around 2000C, which is higher than the temperature it needs to be in order to fuse.  

Cooling the weld 

The last step in the spot welding process is letting the nugget cool and become solid. As this happens the electrodes support the metal and only stop being in contact with it when the metal has fully solidified.  

Uses of spot welding 

Spot welding can be beneficial in a number of industries, but it is mostly found in vehicle production. This is because the automotive industry depends on processes that are cost effective, reliable, and fast, and spot welding ticks all of those boxes. Robots are placed on assembly lines to spot weld car parts automatically as they can achieve the high level of precision needed and the process is easily repeatable, so all the completed parts look the same. Other places spot welding can be used include: 

  • Kitchenware 
  • Electronics 
  • Manufacturing of nails 
  • Medical uses e.g., attaching dental implants 


Spot welding is a very specific process that is mostly used with sheet metal and is great in certain applications. However, in contrast to MIG or TIG welding, it can’t be applied to a broad range of uses.  

Looking for a fabrication company in Sheffield? 

If you have an upcoming project and need expert fabrication in Sheffield, FEM can help. Our team of engineers have extensive knowledge and experience in many processes relating to fabrication and welding and perfectly meeting our clients’ requirements. Contact us today to discuss your metal fabrication needs and how our services can benefit you. 

Types of structural steel and their uses

Where would the world be without structural steel? It is one of the most popular construction materials for big building projects in the world. However, that isn’t the only industry you will find this metal. It’s flexibility in the types of steel you can get, and the wide range of beneficial properties lend well to a variety of uses that we will be exploring in more detail in this article.  

What are the different types of structural steel? 

As mentioned above, structural steel doesn’t just come in one form and the different types emphasise different benefits that allow the steel to fit in with various applications and uses in industries. The most commonly use type commercially is carbon steel. This is because when more carbon makes up the metal (up to 2% earns the title of ultrahigh carbon steel and is the maximum) it improves its overall strength and durability. We’ll look at some other examples of popular steel types below.  

High strength micro-alloyed steel 

In this type of steel, alloys like manganese, nickel, or chromium are added to improve its strength, ductility, and corrosion resistance. Different elements can be added to alter the properties of the metal to the desired effect.  

Weathering steels 

Weathering steels are a sub-category of the previous steel in this list and focus on creating the best possible resistance to outdoor elements. Given that many industries need their metal to be weather-resistant, this is one of the most valuable forms of steel and is largely used in fabrication and construction.  

Quenched and tempered steel 

Heat treatment is used to create this steel with the outcome being increased strength, which is why it is often used in buildings.  

Fire-resistant steel 

When using steel for structural purposes there are situations where they could be more at risk to fires. To combat this, a fire-resistant steel is created by thermos mechanically treating the metal.  

Real-world uses of structural steel 

Thanks to its broad range of useful benefits like low cost, high strength and longevity, corrosion resistance and more, structural has found its place in many key industries and efficiency has improved because of it.  


Aircraft undercarriages, anchor chains, trains, rails, and ships are just a few examples of the essential products structural steel is used to manufacture in the transport sector.  


The energy sector uses structural steel in a wide variety of applications. It can be found in many industrial buildings as well as several different energy sources like transmission towers, pipelines, wind turbines, electromagnets, and more.  


Structural steel is a big part of the mining industry with a significant part of the substructure being reinforced using steel. Other important parts of mining that feature structural steel include offices, workshops, and mining screens. The main reason behind this is that the smooth surface of the metal makes it easy to clean, meaning it won’t interact with any elements found in the mine.  


Structural steel is resistant to external pressure and stay in their required shapes for the long term. This is particularly advantageous in the marine industry where the products are often exposed to the natural elements. Submarines, boats, ladders, and stairs all include structural steel in some way.  

Where can I find structural steel fabricators near me? 

If you’re looking for professional and experienced structural steel fabricators for your project in Sheffield, the team at FEM are here to help. We have worked with clients in a wide range of industries to create high quality bespoke steel fabrication products that perfect fit with their requirements, and we can do the same for you. Contact us today to discuss your bespoke metal fabrication needs. 


The thermal efficiency of aluminium framework

Energy efficiency is an essential consideration for all construction projects, now more than ever with the effort to reduce climate change and carbon footprint. When it comes to buildings whether they are residential or commercial, doors, windows, and frameworks are key contributors to heat loss and high energy costs, so choosing the right material is extremely important. In this article, we will be exploring the impressive thermal efficiency of an aluminium framework and why aluminium fabrication is so important in maintaining thermal efficiency.  

Why does thermal efficiency matter? 

Thermal efficiency and the performance of framework is important in two ways: high thermal efficiency will help to save money on energy bills thanks to less heat escaping and, as mentioned above it reduces carbon footprint by keeping a building warmer, so the heating doesn’t need to be on as much. Equally, the thermal performance of aluminium windows and doors can be beneficial in the summer too by preventing heat from getting in, so the property can be kept at a reasonable temperature no matter the season.  

Explaining R and U values 

You might have already heard of R and U values as they play a key role in measuring the energy efficiency of both windows and doors. If you can’t decide which materials to use on a project the R and U values could be the influencing factor as the better the measurements, the more energy efficient the finished product will be. All parts of a product can be given these values so you can fairly compare aluminium with other materials like uPVC or timber.  

The difference between a U-value and an R-value is a U-value measures how good the product is at stopping heat from escaping. So, the lower the U-value is the less heat that has been lost and the better the efficiency is. By contrast the R-value comes from things like the type and thickness of the material and ultimately measures to what degree the material can prevent heat loss. Therefore, in the case of R-values, the higher the number the better.  

U-value is the most important measurement with the legal requirement being 1.6 W/(m2K) or below when new windows are being installed onto an existing building. High quality aluminium frames will almost always have a U-value that is less than this.  

How important is the framework for saving energy? 

The type of glass you use can make a significant difference to how thermally efficient your finished product is. Even though it might not seem like it because it is a smaller area than the glass and its main function is providing structural integrity, the frame is just as important in aluminium fabrication door designs and windows for maintaining heat.  

Aluminium frames on windows and doors are fairly new to the market and haven’t always had the best reputation for thermal efficiency, especially in comparison to materials that have always been widely used like wood. However, time and advancements in technology have led to aluminium being fabricated in a way that achieves and even exceeds the standard for energy efficiency and is a much more cost-effective option than its timber counterparts.  

This is thanks to a process called thermal breaking which utilises a resin filled channel and placing a reinforced polyamide bar in between the aluminium profiles to form an insulated wall in the framework. As a result, temperature and sound will escape at a much slower rate than with normal aluminium.  

Other benefits of aluminium 

As well as modern aluminium fabrication leading to high levels of thermal efficiency, the metal has many other properties and benefits that make it ideal for use in windows and doors. The most valued examples include its reduced cost (particularly when compared to market alternatives), its sustainability and easy recyclability that benefits the environment, and its overall strength and durability which is useful not only against various weather conditions and corrosion but also helps with security and making it more difficult for a building to be broken into.  

You can find out more about the benefits of aluminium, particularly in relation to windows and doors, in one of our other guides. Click here to learn more.  


Aluminium is one of the best materials on the market for thermal efficiency thanks to the fabrication work that goes into it to make it that way. If you’re looking for the highest quality aluminium fabrication services for your next project, our team at FEM can help. Contact us today to discuss your requirements and learn more about what we can do for you with our bespoke fabrication processes. 

Sheet metal hemming explained

Hemming is a sheet metal fabrication process in which the edges are folded over each other. The aim of it is to give the edges more strength, improve the visual aesthetic, join different parts together, and cover any rough edges or burrs/defects. In this article, we’ll be exploring everything you need to know about sheet metal hemming including the benefits of the process and the different types of hem. Let’s start by looking at hemming in more detail.  

What is sheet metal hemming? 

Like the name suggests, sheet metal hemming does resemble edge stitching on clothes. When the edge of sheet metal is hemmed, its strength is reinforced to give it better longevity and accuracy during the process is essential for a better surface quality and appearance ahead of its application upon completion. A common use for sheet metal hemming is in the production of car parts, including the doors, bonnet, and boot lid. This is because it is extremely useful for connecting two metal parts together.  

What are the benefits of hemming? 

There are several benefits to using sheet metal hemming including strengthening the edges of the metal, covering imperfections, making the edges easier and safer to work with, and joining parts together. This all works together to create a product that will be high-quality and long lasting in various industries.  

Breaking down the main hemming processes 

Conventional die hemming 

This type of hemming is the most commonly used for fabrication of straightforward and flat panels on a mass production scale as it is more restricted to simple pieces. It requires several stages, often referred to as pre-hemming and final hemming to bend the complete length of the metal and predetermined angles with a hemming tool. Despite the production of conventional die hemming being very costly, especially when buying the equipment, there are ways to minimise cycle times significantly.  

Roll hemming 

A hemming roller is used to carry out this process in small parts. Due to the accuracy and technicality required it is often done with robots so the roller can precisely create the flange. By contrast to die hemming, roll hemming is considered to be much more flexible, economical, and less expensive, but the cycle times can be a lot higher due to the roller needing to follow a vert strict path to achieve its goal to the highest possible standard.  

What are the different types of hem? 

Closed hem 

In a closed hem, the folded over part of the metal lies completely flat on top of the other metal surface with no air pocket or gap in between them. More tonnage is needed to make a closed hem than other hems, meaning thicker sheets of metal should be avoided in this process as they could start to crack.  

Open hem 

When the metal is folded over, a gap or air pocket is left between the metal, with the bend sitting at an angle of 180 degrees. Not as much tonnage is required to create this hem in comparison to a closed hem.  

These are the two main types of hem that you need to know about, there are others, but these are the most commonly used.   

What is the difference between hemming and seaming? 

As well as hemming, there is another similar process in this area of metal fabrication called seaming. You will often find seaming being used in the food industry as it is very effective in sealing tinned items thanks to its ability to cut off one side of the sheet metal from another. Even though they can be considered as quite similar, seaming is different to hemming in a few notable ways including: 

  • In most cases they will be used differently for example, the hemming process features heavily in vehicle production and some other general uses. Seaming on the other hand is more specialised and has its role in food and roofing sectors for which hemming would not be suitable.   
  • There will always be a gap in the seaming process, it doesn’t create a fully flat style of hem.  
  • The goal of seaming is simply to join two parts together, the strength of the edges, the look and quality of the end result is not as important as it is with hemming.  

Where can I find sheet metal fabrication near me? 

If you’re looking for high quality bespoke metal fabrication, our team at FEM can help. The range of products we make are diverse and span across a range of sectors from structural fabrications, offshore oil, and gas, nuclear, and many others. We have accreditations in place to ensure there is full traceability of all materials while manufacturing metal to a specified standard. Contact us today to discuss the specific requirements of your project. 





Manufacturing vs Fabrication: What’s the difference?

Manufacturing and fabrication are industrial terms relating to the process of production or construction. People often compare manufacturing vs fabrication like they need to choose between them, but in a lot of cases they work together. In this guide we’ll be looking at the meaning of both manufacturing and fabrication within industrial processes. 

What is involved in fabrication? 

Fabrication is a method of constructing products by mixing typically standardised parts using one or more individual procedures. For example, steel fabrication is the creation of metal structures using multiple different processes like cutting, bending, and assembling. 

Metal fabrication will mostly form a complete assembly made from smaller sub-assemblies to use with readily available standard sections. This is done with CAD (computer-aided designs) that are programmed with CNC (computer numerical control) technology which directly communicates with the machinery is on the factory floor. 

By using these technologies, production quality standards are increased, and better-quality assemblies are made. This makes for a more accurate and quicker steel erection time on site, which is essential in high volume production, lowering the cost for customers though maximised material utilisation and faster assembly times. 

Our team at FEM have extensive experience of fabrication in Sheffield which ensures the highest quality within all our projects, giving our customers products that are durable and have longevity. 

What is manufacturing? 

A manufacturing process involves converting raw materials into a finished product. Basically, it’s making something from start to finish. The manufacturing sector includes large scale production using machines, tools, and chemical/biological processing.  

It is the stages that raw materials need to undergo before being deemed a final product. There are a range of different industries that fall into this category such as: 

  • Apparel 
  • Chemicals 
  • Electronics and electrical equipment 
  • Fabricated metal 
  • Food and kindred 
  • Leather 
  • Lumber and wood 
  • Petroleum refining 
  • Printing and publishing 

Comparing manufacturing and fabrication 

Manufacturing is about making a complete product to be sold to consumers using either prefabricated parts or raw materials. Normally, the production process uses machinery, assembly lines, and skilled labour. There are five general categories when it comes to manufacturing: 

  • Repetitive- the same product is created all the time 
  • Job shop- an open system without assembly lines, this strategy is useful for specialised or custom-made products 
  • Discrete- this might follow the assembly or production line method, but the processes for making them vary significantly 
  • Continuous- the nature of the product being made is regularly in demand and needs continuous movement 
  • Batch- products are manufactured in specific groups within a restricted timeframe. Contract manufacturing can be part of this method because typically the contractor is producing quantities of unique products for various companies 

Fabrication involves building a product to be used by manufacturers, not consumers. Fabricators work to process raw materials or refine parts of them, so they are suitable for assembly. The options are practically limitless, but some of the most common methods of fabrication include: 

  • Cutting/punching 
  • Welding 
  • Folding 
  • Machining 
  • Shearing 
  • Stamping 

The main difference between manufacturing and fabrication is how much of the process a job involves. Fabrication entails assembling standard or specialised parts to create parts of a product to be used in the manufacture of the completed piece. 

Manufacturing on the other hand, is a start to finish method, from creating parts to the final assembly to form the finished product, often using areas of fabrication within the manufacturing journey. 

If you’re looking for metal fabrication Sheffield, check out our range of fabrication services and if you have any questions or want to discuss a specific project, contact our family run team at FEM today. 


Mild steel vs stainless steel

The overall term steel covers a wide variety of different metals, two of the main examples being mild steel and stainless steel. Even though both stainless and mild steel include a whole sub-group of different metals, there are a few important characteristics that differentiate the two. 

What is mild steel? 

Mild steel is a type of steel made up of iron and carbon as its main components. This type of steel differs from normal steel in the sense that it contains a much lower percentage of carbon compared to standard steel. 

The carbon content of mild steel can vary from 0.05% to 0.25%, with its properties being mostly dependent on this little amount of carbon. There are several grades of mild steel, and it is often used as a building material with a number of famous skyscrapers and bridges being made from it. 

What is stainless steel? 

Stainless steel is comprised of iron and chromium and is categorised as a metal alloy. It has around 10% of chromium mixed in with the iron, with the other metal elements involved being nickel, molybdenum, titanium, and copper. Non-metal components in stainless mainly have carbon present. 

This type of steel can naturally cope with very high temperatures. For this reason, stainless steel is often used to make kitchen equipment. Unlike normal steel, it has a clean and shiny appearance which makes it attractive and appealing for consumers. 

Comparing mild steel and stainless steel 

The most prominent factor that distinguishes mild steel from stainless steel is their alloying element. As previously mentioned, mild steel is alloyed with carbon whilst the alloying element in stainless steel is chromium. These alloys produce vastly different outcomes in terms of corrosion resistance, malleability, ease of fabrication, and cost. 


Due to stainless steel being alloyed with chromium, it has a significantly higher level of corrosion resistance than mild steel. The chrome within the stainless steel reacts with oxygen in the air and creates a natural ‘chromium oxide’ protective layer on the surface of the metal. This means that as long as the layer doesn’t become damaged, the metal will be resistant to corrosion. 

Different grades of stainless steel will contain different elements that make them more suitable for various environments, for example a marine environment which includes the presence of water and salt. 

By contrast, mild steel does not have a chromium oxide protective layer, meaning the iron that is present will react with the moisture to form iron oxide or rust. Therefore, additional processing will be needed during mild steel fabrication such as galvanising in order to ensure the metal is protected. 


Chrome is a hard alloy, which means stainless steels are a lot stronger and resistant to impact in comparison to mild steel. However, despite stainless steel fabrication being relatively easy, it’s not as easy as mild steel metal fabrication. Mild steel is much more malleable than stainless steel, and so it is commonly used in general fabrication engineering.  


When deciding between mild or stainless steel, cost can be an influential factor. Despite stainless steel offering a far better life span and corrosion resistance than its mild counterpart, the different alloying elements it contains (especially chromium) make it more expensive.  

If you combine that with the extra work that goes into fabricating it, stainless steel comes with a much higher price tag than mild steel. However, the benefits you get in return with stainless steel, particularly the aesthetic look, impressive rust resistance, and low maintenance, you will find that it’s very much value for money.  

At FEM, our team are experts in the field of steel fabrication in Sheffield with skills covering both mild steel fabrication and stainless steel fabrication and welding. So, no matter your project requirements we will carry out the work to the highest standard. Contact us today to find out more about how we can help you with our steel fabrication service. 



How beneficial is galvanisation in fabrication?

Galvanising is a process that is commonly used in the metal fabrication industry. This is mostly because it allows fabricators to properly protect their steel using an efficient and effective process. There are many reasons why galvanisation is used over other protective coating methods. Below is just a few of the benefits for galvanising in fabrication. 

Firstly, what is galvanising? 

The process of galvanising involves using a zinc coating to hot dip galvanise your steel. The zinc then reacts with the steel to create a protective seal around the metal with the aim of minimising corrosion over time. Coating the metal ensures there’s a sacrificial anode to protect it and that it can withstand any conditions for the longest time possible. When steel is galvanised, it prevents any corrosive materials from touching or damaging it. 

What are the benefits of galvanisation in fabrication? 

Saves time 

Galvanising is a fast process. The coating only needs to be dipped once and the metal will be protected. Other coatings need to be sprayed or painted which takes significantly longer. The time it takes for the coating to dry is also a lot quicker, galvanisation only takes around one day to set, whilst other methods can take much longer. 


Galvanised steel lasts considerably longer than other treatment processes. The steel will be covered and high-quality corrosion protection in place, meaning you won’t need to go through the hassle of replacing it further down the line. Steel that has been galvanised comes with a long-life guarantee, so it’s sure to last. 

Easy to maintain 

With galvanised steel, you won’t need any harsh chemicals in order to effectively maintain the steel or prevent corrosion. The steel already has a protective cover from the galvanisation process during steel fabrication. The only maintenance that will be required to keep the steel looking fresh and functioning as it should is the occasional wipe down a couple of times a year. 

Simple inspection process 

Galvanisation creates a covering that’s continuous and strong, so you don’t need to worry about what’s underneath it. Any flaws will be easy to see and therefore can quickly be addressed. The lack of flaws you will get from this coating will allow the inspection process to be streamlined, making overall fabrication faster and more efficient. 

Aesthetic appeal 

The coating comes in a matte-grey colour which means it can easily match its surroundings, so you can save time on painting it. Also, as the metal ages, the colour won’t fade which means it will always look aesthetically appealing. If you decide that you want to change the colour, it is simple to powder coat it, ensuring a smooth and seamless colour change. 

Cost efficiency 

Given that galvanisation is so quick and effective in streamlining, it’s a process that will save you time and money on labour hours. In addition, the products that are used for coating are a lot less expensive than other metal preservation products. Due to the coating having such good longevity, you will save money over time because you won’t need to replace the coating or the product itself. 

What are some common considerations in galvanised steel metal fabrication? 

As you can see galvanisation in fabrication is a cost effective and easily accessible process for producing a steel product that’s long-lasting with a significantly greater aesthetic appeal than bare metal. However, a number of considerations still need to be made when preparing metal to be galvanised: 

  • Bending steel- when bending the steel, careful thought must be put into when the steel should be bent. If the steel is bent after galvanisation, there is a greater risk of cracking. Usually though, this cracking can be fixed. 
  • Bolts, nails, and fasteners- because bolts, nails, and fasteners are essential to the integrity of a project, galvanisation is a considerably stronger option than just coating steel for this purpose. Galvanisation makes sure there is a full coverage coating that is crucial to the lifespan of steel fasteners. 
  • Dulling- one of the most appealing features of galvanisation is its initial shiny appearance. Even though this shine can dull as time passes, many people prefer the duller look of galvanised steel that has been weathered for a period of time. If it is wanted, this finish can be achieved as part of the initial design process. 
  • Masking- in some cases, you might not want to galvanise the entire surface of a steel part. This can easily be resolved through masking with special tapes, paints, pastes, and greases. Though it is simple, masking isn’t completely fool proof, and some grinding might be needed to get back to the original steel product. 
  • Material handling- checking if lifting points are needed in the design is an important consideration before galvanising steel. Lifting points enable coverage to be completed without leaving unwanted marks on the metal. 
  • Moving parts- when moving parts are involved in a project, each piece should be galvanised separately and then put together. If it is not done this way moving parts might freeze in place or bond to each other. 
  • Surface condition- starting with appropriately prepared steel is essential to the success of the metallurgical bond that is achieved during the galvanisation process. A common preparation method is to clean the steel by immersing it in a chemical pre-treatment bath. Abrasive blasting might also be required when sand, welding slag, or paints are present. 
  • Warping and steel distortion- design plays a key role in preventing warping and the distortion of the steel during galvanisation. Having surfaces with symmetrical designs and similar levels of thickness can lower the risk of warping. When galvanising steel that has asymmetrical or thin-walled designs, temporary bracing can help protect against warping and distortion. 
  • Welding- the best way to guarantee even galvanisation is to galvanise after welding. Sometimes though, this just isn’t possible. In those situations, all welding materials need to be well-monitored for compatibility with the base steel for a quality weld. 

Contact FEM today to discuss your fabrication engineering needs. Our team are experts in their field and always ensure the highest standard of fabrication service.  


Steel frame vs timber frame

During any construction project, it is important to feel confident that you are making the right decisions. Especially when it comes to the building material that will be used to create the foundation of the work. So, we have decided to compare two increasingly popular methods of construction, steel frames and timber frames. This will give you a better understanding into which will be the best option for your project. 

Speed of construction 

Generally, both frames are assembled in similar ways, meaning they should be equally quick to set up. The process can take a bit longer with steel framed houses as it requires more tools and labour to put each element together. However, this does mean you have complete peace of mind that the frame is structurally sound. 

Timber frames can come pre-manufactured and can be put together by carpenters or DIY enthusiasts. Whereas steel frames need structural steel fabricators to weld the frame together. If your project is fairly small and time is of the essence timber could be the better option. For large scale projects though, where the frame needs to be expertly put together to ensure its stability in the long term and in any conditions, steel will likely be your best bet. 

Sustainability and impact on the environment 

Becoming more sustainable across all industries and conserving the environment is essential nowadays. This means that the need for environmentally friendly materials is essential. 

Both timber and steel have benefits and drawbacks relating to their environmental impact, so it is important carefully consider the needs of your project and your options before committing to a decision. 

Using a structural steel frame will result in less deforestation than timber, which depends on both forests and the breaking down of natural environments to make space for more plantations. Steel frame construction is more environmentally friendly in this way.  

However, the other side of the argument is that when the need for timber increases, so too does the demand for more forests. This has the benefit of reducing CO2 levels in the air and promote ethical and sustainable use of forests. 

Steel will produce less waste than timber because frames that are made from steel are manufactured in a very precise way. Whereas due to timber being a natural product, there are some imperfections that can render some of the wood unusable. 

Steel requires a lot of energy to create, with the production process leaving large carbon footprints that negatively impact the environment. The advantage of this though is that steel is 100% recyclable. So, after the intense production process, the steel can be used and then reused again. 

The final consideration for sustainability and the environmental impact of these materials is regarding their thermal transfer. It is often argued that metal structures and steel fabrications provide better seals for windows and doors. This means that when it is paired with efficient and high-quality wall insulation, a metal frame would limit heat loss from the windows and walls. 

There is some debate though as some people argue that there is greater thermal transfer in steel than timber. This would reduce the need for heating and cooling systems as the frame would regulate the temperature in the building to the season. 


Steel is renowned for being incredibly strong and durable, meaning it comes fully protected from ants and termites which could destroy a timber frame. It will take a significant amount of effort and maintenance to protect timber from wood-loving insects. Even though the salty air of coastal areas is not a close friend of steel, it is still easier to care for and keep in good condition in comparison to timber. Steel fabrication is simply unmatched in terms of strength and robustness. 


Timber is often associated with squeaky homes, which is not ideal when it comes to soundproofing. It’s no secret that the sound insulation of timber frame structures is usually not the best, due to it being such a lightweight material. This means its ability to isolate all types of sound is not as effective as with a steel frame. 


When it comes down to a steel vs timber frame, your personal preferences and the details of your project will be the main deciding factor. However, as expert structural steel fabricators we naturally feel that steel frames are the favourable option in most projects. Contact us today to find out more about FEM and what we can do for you.