Steel Framing - A Huge Opportunity

Steel Framing - A Huge Opportunity

Steel Framing - A Huge Opportunity

29 December 2004

The residential steel framing market represents a largely untapped opportunity for Australia's building industry, where sometimes negative and often incorrect perceptions are holding back a potentially lucrative market.

That is the view of BlueScope Steel's new Steel Framing Market Development Manager, Greg Jones. It is precisely the situation that he is charged with rectifying.

"The steel framing itself is our biggest advantage in developing the market," he says. "It is obviously great in termite areas and it always stays straight and true. It is durable and strong, and has great spanning capability, which offers better design flexibility."

Builders who have switched to steel framing find that many of their previous perceptions regarding working with the product don't match the reality.

"People are becoming familiar with the product," Greg says. "That familiarity is removing the skepticism and hesitation that may have been there in the past."

Accurately quantifying steel's share of the framing market is difficult, but Greg is confident that the graph is moving in the right direction. "It is my role to work with our state market development resources to help develop this side of the business and increase market share for our customers and ourselves." he explains.

Greg's new role will see him developing strategic marketing plans for BlueScope Steel's support of the steel framing business, guiding the company's direction. Just two months into his new role, Greg is evaluating BlueScope's steel framing value chain to identify "hotspots"and barriers.

"It is about devising the processes to develop a strategy that will get it right the first time," Greg says. "Our customers are looking to BlueScope Steel to help provide them with solutions to the challenges they face. They want reassurance from us that they are on the right track, and they want us to help them grow their markets," he says.

Greg Jones has been with BlueScope Steel for 15 years. For the last five years he was BlueScope Steel's Market Development Manager for metal roofing in Queensland. During these five years, BlueScope recorded a strong increase in the metal roofing market share from 36 per cent to 55 per cent in Queensland.

Greg explains these impressive figures as a reflection of the ongoing changes in design trends within the Queensland housing market. He says there were a lot of builders and designers moving up to Queensland from Sydney and Melbourne just over a decade ago. They also took their "southern-inspired" design themes. These themes moved away from traditional Queensland-style housing and into contemporary Sydney or Melbourne styles.

"Those Sydney or Melbourne-style homes weren't designed for Queensland's harsher conditions," Greg explains. "And they certainly didn't encompass steel roofing."

After the initial influx of these new-style houses, a backlash swung the trend back to a more contemporary version of the traditional "Queenslander" style house. This latest trend brought steel roofing back to the forefront of the market in the Sunshine State.

Greg aims to achieve similarly impressive results in the residential steel framing sector. "The housing market is a huge opportunity for steel framing. It is an industry in which BlueScope Steel needs to play a much larger part in the support of our customers than we currently do."

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