More Than a Decade and Counting
The Steel Stud Manufacturers Association has served the construction industry for 13 years, providing code-compliant steel framing products through its 16 members across the United States SSMA proudly pioneered the first industry-wide third-party certification program for code compliance, launched in 2009 for structural products. Then, in 2011, SSMA completed the same for non-structural products. The next step in the certification program will be to add plastering steel products and accessories.
The association’s label is the most widely recognized symbol of quality and code compliance in the industry. The “EQ” products generally yield high performance results. In the same respect, the SSMA will only endorse claims of “EQ” that can be independently verified to routinely perform to the standards the industry has come to expect through years of successful construction, using conventional thickness and coating. The association has hired a nationally recognized architectural rep agency to help promote the SSMA compliance program, and to reinforce SSMA’s position as the brand of choice in architectural specifications.
While SSMA is known for compliant products, another of its core values is to focus on growing market share for metal framing in both commercial and residential construction. In the past five years alone, SSMA dedicated $1.3 million on projects promoting steel framing through testing and lobbying efforts. One example is the association’s contributions to research projects designed to improve the thermal performance of CFS assemblies. SSMA co-funded hot box testing at Oak Ridge National Laboratory on modern wall assemblies that will make it easier for designers and builders to comply with the latest energy codes. SSMA also sponsored research on the effect of framing factors (the percentage of framing in a wall that penetrates the insulation envelope) that will be used to identify better ways to frame a more efficient building.
The thermal research we have supported represents some of the more important work SSMA has funded that is critical to these code efforts.
SSMA works in conjunction with the Steel Framing Alliance to promote the unique attributes of steel and protect its standing against competing materials in building codes and standards. The thermal research we have supported represents some of the more important work SSMA has funded that is critical to these code efforts. The program also proactively addresses issues related to energy efficiency, limits on combustible materials in taller buildings, special inspection requirements, recycled content, and durability issues such as termite resistance. Our members also participate in the various committees at AISI and ASTM to ensure that decisions on future versions of the building code and industry standards are both cost-effective and safe.
SSMA recognizes the value of providing credible information on sustainability and green building issues. In addition to thermal projects at the core of green building, SSMA is proactively participating with SFA to promote the positive attributes of CFS framing. This includes a recently completed study SSMA co-funded to critique and improve on Life Cycle Assessment methods being considered throughout the industry for production improvements and “green” code compliance and rating systems such as LEED. Results of this and similar studies demonstrate how metal framing levels the playing field in terms of sustainability characteristics when compared to other building materials.
On February 13, the association formed the Distributor Advisory Council, a group consisting of eight prominent distributors from all across the United States. The purpose of the council is to share insight and ideas regarding needs and concerns of customers throughout the distribution channel, to improve SSMA communications to the industry, and to track trends and changes that are coming forth in the building code.
This year marks a milestone for the industry, as manufacturers of more than 95 percent of all structural and non-structural cold formed steel framing produced in the United States will be certified for the first time. Installers and distributors alike should insist on third party certified products which carry a distinctive label; the symbol these products are independently tested to ensure they meet the quality standards of the building code.
SSMA encourages distributors, architects, building officials and contractors to visit the new www.ssma.com Web site to check plant by plant certifications of code compliance. Visitors will find free technical articles, CAD details, green building information, catalogs and links to other industry associations. In order to serve the industry better, SSMA also offers a technical support hotline to answer questions from all segments of the industry.