BISF Historical Documents Series Jan 11th 1944 Cold Formed Steel

post war bisf documentation

In this series of posts we take a look at a selection of historical documents outlining the development and construction of the British Iron & Steel Federation, Steel Framed House.

We currently hold thousands of BISF  archive items that have each been photographed and in some cases converted to text form for easier searching. This conversion method is an on-going process that will take several months to complete however we hope that you will find these never before published documents to be as fascinating as we have found them to be.



Minutes of Meeting held at Steel House on Tuesday, January 11th, 1944, at 2.00 p.m.

Mr. G. Warwick (Chairman)
Mr. G. Keller
Mr. F. W. L. Heathcote
Mr. E. Bryan
Mr. R. Capener
Mr. E. Penkala.
Mr. C. J. Kavanagh (B.I.S.F)
Mr. D. J. Davies ( B.I.S.F) Secretary

In Attendance:-
Mr. Donovan H. Lee.

(1) Election of Chairman and Secretary

The Committee proceeded to the business of electing a Chairman and Secretary. It was proposed by Mr. Capener, seconded by Mr. Keeler, and unanimously agreed that Mr. G. Warwick should act as Chairman. It was also agreed that Mr. D. J. Davies should act as Secretary.

(2) Minutes

The Minutes of the previous meeting held on the 6th January were approved by the Committee end signed by the Chairman.

(3) Designs

Before proceeding to the business of discussing the designs, Mr, Kavanagh explained that designs B.3. and B.5. had been selected as suitable for the prototype semi-detached houses to be built by the Ministry of Works at Hayes. These demonstration houses were to be completed by May of this year and Mr. Kavanagh stressed the urgency of reaching agreement with the cold rollers regarding the manufacture of the framework In the shortest time possible.

Mr. Donovan Lee, with the assistance of Mr, Davies, gave a brief description of the framework designs for houses types B.3. and B.5. In the design B.3. the cottered bolts were to be replaced by ordinary bolts. The members of the framework were to be fabricated and erected piece-small. This design was applicable to any arrangement of house plan, it being necessary only to adjust the cleated attachments to the continuous channel member supported on the posts. The erection of the individual members of the framework would present no difficulty.

(3)        Designs (continuation)

Design B.5. was next described by Mr. Davies as essentially a panel arrangement of the framework design B.l. In this design it was intended that connections at the site be limited to a minimum to facilitate erection, which would be done by means of a pole with block and tackle. The size and weight of the panels had received particular attention in relation to the facilities at present available for fabrication of these panels. Details of the connections were described and the Committee was invited to offer any suggestions that would assist fabrication.

(4)        Cold Forming of Sections

The Chairman invited the Committee to comment on the sections shown on the designs.
The Committee agreed that all the sections shown in designs B.3. and B.5. could be cold formed satisfactorily. Mr. Heathcote recommended that the partition cill beam be revi, to a composite section in place of a single type section. This was agreed. Mr. Kavanagh enquired of the Committee as to their suggestions regarding the manufacture of the sections required. The Chairman enquired as to the approximate tonnage of cold formed sections required. Mr. Davies stated that there was about 4 tons of steel in the framework of a pair of semi-detached dwellings. This figure could not be precisely given until the working drawings were completed. The Chairman proposed that them supply of the sections necessary for the prototype houses be decided amongst the manufacturers of these types of sections. Mr. Penkala kindly offered to cold form any sections which other manufacturers were not able to make, Mr. Davies proposed, and the Committee agreed, that a schedule of the cold formed sections required for the framework of the prototype houses be circular­ised to the manufacturers. They would then examine the sections with regard to their facilities for making any or all of them and advise the Secretary accordingly.

(5)       Fabrication

The fabrication of the members constituting the frame­work was next discussed by the Committee. Design B.3. was considered satisfactory in so far as the information available on the plans indicated. Mr. Lee stated that the working drawings for the framework would show in detail all members with their connections.

Design B.5. was next commented upon by the Committee, Some doubt was felt by them regarding the facilities at present available for fabricating panels of the dimensions required.

The largest of those would be 7′-0″ x 8′-0″ with a weight of 73 lbs. Mr. Penkala proposed the use of specially shaped members which could be jointed mechanically by sliding fits. The Committee considered that owing to limitation of time it would not now be possible to take advantage of Mr. Penkala’s suggestions for a modified type of section for prototype house construction.

(5) Fabrication (continuation)

After examination of the types of connections outlined on drawing FHD/5 (NOT FOUND) the Committee recommended that these be completed in more detail so that their manufacture could be examined. Mr. Davies proposed that the details be completed and sent to members of the Committee for their observation.

Mr. Kavanagh advised the Committee that the fabrication of the prototype houses was to be completed within one month after the approval by the Ministry of Works of the architect’s plans. These plans were at present with the Ministry and a decision regarding their approval was being awaited.

(6)  Transport

The Committee recommended that arrangements for the transport should be made through the British Iron and Steel Federation.

(7)  Erection

Mr. Kavanagh enquired if the Committee would make any recommendations as to the trial erection of the framework at the works before despatch to the site. The Committee suggested that facilities for erecting the trial framework were not available in the case of certain cold rollers but that perhaps others would be prepared to carry out this erection. It was proposed by the Chairman that an equitable arrangement would be for those best able to produce the cold formed sections to deliver these to one of the member firms best able to carry out the fabrication and trial erection. This was agreed, and the Committee enquired whether Mr. Heathcote and Mr. Bryan would be prepared to consider whether this work could be done by their firms.

The erection at the site, the Committee recommended, should be carried out by the firm which makes the trial erection at their works.

(a) Other Business.

Mr. Bryan enquired as to the type of finish required for the steelwork. Mr. Kavanagh stated in reply that the Committee’s recommendations for a suitable finishing treatment for the steel­work would be welcomed. The Chairman stated that the class of finish attained on cycle frames was very durable and that perhaps infra red lamps might be suitable for stoving on the finishing coat. Mr. Capener stated that his experience of these lamps indicated that they were more suitable for continuous surfaces than for open panel work. Mr. Heathcote recommended that the preparation of the steelwork before applying the coat of paint was very important in the influence that this has on the life of the protection coating and the steel.

Galvanising of the steelwork was considered by the Committee as expensive and liable to cause distortion of the members.
Mr. Heathcote enquired as to whether the framework design for the prototype houses would be that used for mass production at a later date.

(8) Other Business (continuation)

Mr. Heathcote stated that factories would have to be planned in a manner suitable for maximum output and that this period of transition from present manufacturing facilities to mass production should be recognised.

Mr. Kavanagh stated that when standardisation of the house plans had been reached there would be better prospects for establishing designs suitable for the mass production of the framework. At present there was so much that had to be tested in manufacture, erection and cost that the construction of trial houses would appear to be the only suitable means of approaching the ultimate results desired.

(9) Next Meeting

The Committee agreed that this should take place at Steel House on Tuesday, 25th January 1944, at 12 noon.