An informed perspective on steel framing

Steven Cook’s career has touched on several aspects of steel framing, leading to his current role as general manager at SteelHaus – he reflects eloquently on the role NASH plays in our industry.

Logical Progression

Looking at Steven Cook’s early career path, he seemed destined for a career involving steel framing. From early on he worked as an electrician at AHI Roofing, a company making pressed metal roof tiles where there were presses and roll-forming machines. At the same time, he worked as a contractor at Fletcher Wood Panels in a similar capacity – which brought out an interest in production.

“At the time my father had a roll forming partnered with Howick Ltd, one of New Zealand’s leading manufacturers of steel framing and joist machines,” says Steven. “I took on a role at that company and became a production manager, running 20 different machines, up to 200 different profiles. “During my time there, we had a steel framing business within the company and we also started manufacturing steel C-sections, joists, roof purlins for houses and ceiling patterns.

Due to a change in direction in the company and a restructure Steven was promoted from production manager to general manager at Roll Forming Services. He worked at the company for 17 years in total.

“Following that, I was ready for something different and a colleague who was managing SteelHaus at the time told me they needed a business development manager/salesperson and, long story short, that is where I am today.”

SteelHaus – the complete package

SteelHaus’ EzyJoist system being used in a timber framed house

SteeHaus’ production runs to diverse steel structures. The company creates framing for anything from tiny homes, cabins and terraced houses to high-end architectural homes and rural buildings such as barns with habitable spaces.

“I was attracted to SteelHaus as it offers the complete package – we undertake detailing, engineering, manufacturing, delivery and installation of steel framing,” Steven says. “We can train builders on site how to stand up steel frame structures and how to work efficiently with them – I like that full-service offering from a salesman point of view.”

Steven’s role is diverse – he finds new customers, manages existing relationships, quotes projects and manages the Steelhaus team. He also ‘on boards’ the customer once they sign up with SteelHaus and gives them a full run-through of the differences between timber and steel construction. 

Steven then follows up with customers on-site, once they receive the frames, just to make sure the builder is up to play and liaises with the site foreman and production managers.

In addition to all this, Steve attends NASH board meetings as the SteelHaus representative.

An eloquent reference

The webbed rafters and steel framed walls of a three-storey house by SteelHaus on the west coast out from Wanganui.

“As a steel frame manufacturer, Nash has been important to us because it’s a coming together of all the fabricators, engineers etc to make sure we’re working for a common goal,” Steven says.

“Historically it had been quite difficult for the steel framers because there was no acceptable shared solutions for industry needs. However, Nash put a huge amount of effort into that with major support from New Zealand Steel.

“So as a company that benefits from that, we feel it’s important to contribute to NASH every year and to be a part of the board. “It’s about keeping our finger on the pulse really – we can all go down our own paths of work and how we’re doing things.

“However, every so often we need to come together as an industry and agree upon industry standards. “Otherwise we all spend a huge amount of money on the engineering and development of something that may have already been done 20 times by 20 different individuals.

“If we all contribute to making life easier for steel framing, then it means that the builders are all receiving very similar plans, very similar products and similar details every time they do a project –

NASH is a way of sharing that knowledge New Zealand wide and making each job easier.”

‘Cool to be part of the network’

An American Barn style house – steel framed walls, trusses, rafters, joists

“Steel framing definitely has an ever-growing place in New Zealand construction methodology.

It’s very popular around the world and we’ve got some of the greatest machine manufacturers based here in New Zealand – three of the best in Howick Ltd, Framecad and Scottsdale,” he says.

“We’re all just proud to be a part of Nash as well – there’s some really long standing members now with some really great experience based all around the country – and it’s cool to be part of that network.”