A little bit of steel helps timber fabricators to deliver the big open spaces builders want.

Before you ask why a cold-rolled steel bracing product is in a timber magazine, remember that it’s 2021 and things are wild.

“I come from a timber F&T background, but at times like this, there are real advantages to moving to a mixed model,” says Rowan Baker, BDM at Network Steel. “Designs with a lot of open living and minimal internal walls need substantial bracing capacity. Netbrace delivers that in a compact package that fits easily into a timber frame and is available to fit a range of standard ceiling heights or ordered to custom sizes.”

Manufactured in Queensland, Netbrace also sells across Northern NSW and was just rolling out its national expansion when Covid hit. “The Victorian branch is the only one we got into place before the pandemic,” Baker says, but he has seen it being picked up more broadly. Designers are increasingly specifying Netbrace, thanks to its core qualities but also because it’s fully certified, easily stored and transported and Australian made.

Network Steel has been producing structural steel products for 30 years. One of its clients had a need for a bracing product several years ago and that request has now turned into a popular product line.

“Netbrace has been around for four years, so there’s demonstrated reliability,” says Baker. “It’s more expensive than ply, but delivers significantly more lateral bracing for the size. And many of the EWP bracing solutions that might be comparable in terms of price and performance are both hard to get at the moment and harder to install.

“Steel is also having supply issues, so if your plan has a big span that was originally designed around a steel portal but there’s no steel fabricator available, you might be able to re-engineer the solution to use Netbraces for your bracing and an LVL lintel instead.”

Baker is still looking out for his old F&T colleagues. “It’s another potential upsell item for a fabricator or merchant. If your builder is asking you to supply all the bracing, you can obtain Netbrace at a wholesale rate and offer it as part of your package to your client. Builders are increasingly looking for one-stop solutions, so this gives timber fabricators more access to the market for builders working with open plan designs, even if it’s not itself timber.”

For more, visit www.netbrace.com.au

Image: Netbrace delivers strong, reliable bracing in a small package to fit multiple ceiling heights and fits neatly into timber frames to keep open spans ‘opener’.