City Research Online

Optimised cold-formed steel beams in modular building applications

Gatheeshgar, P., Poologanathan, K., Gunalan, S. , Tsavdaridis, K. D. ORCID: 0000-0001-8349-3979, Nagaratnam, B. & Iacovidou, E. (2020). Optimised cold-formed steel beams in modular building applications. Journal of Building Engineering, 32, article number 101607. doi: 10.1016/j.jobe.2020.101607


Modular Building Systems (MBS) has seen an accelerating growth in the construction sector owing to its potential advantages, such as quick erection, improved energy efficiency and less reliant on good weather over conventional construction methods. Therefore, it could be a viable solution to supporting the efforts of solving Britain's housing crisis within a short duration. Construction industries and researchers are working towards better understanding MBS performance at different scales and contexts. To date, research on MBS focused on investigating the structural, social and economic, and safety performances and indicated that there are challenges (Need of lightweight materials and more access space, transportation restrictions, improving structural, fire and energy performances) associated with their use, yet to be addressed. This paper highlights how the incorporation of optimised Cold-Formed Steel (CFS) members with the slotted web can address these challenges. Hence, optimisation technique was employed to enhance the structural performance and to effectively use the given amount of material of CFS members. Lipped channel, folded-flange, and super-sigma have been optimised using the Particle Swarm Optimisation (PSO) method and were analysed using FEM. Results showed that the flexural capacity of the optimised sections was improved by 30–65% compared to conventional CFS sections. A conceptual design of MBS was developed using the optimised CFS members, demonstrating the potential for lighter modules and thus more sustainable structures, reducing the carbon footprint. Therefore, optimisation techniques and slotted perforations would address the aforementioned challenges related to MBS, result in more economical and efficient MBS for inhabitants and construction industries.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2020 Elsevier Ltd. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License ( This article has been published in Journal of Building Engineering by Elsevier, DOI:
Publisher Keywords: Modular construction and challenges, Cold-formed steel, Innovative sections with slotted web, Particle swarm optimisation, Finite element analyses, Conceptual design
Subjects: T Technology > TA Engineering (General). Civil engineering (General)
T Technology > TH Building construction
Departments: School of Science & Technology > Engineering
SWORD Depositor:
[thumbnail of Accepted Manuscript.pdf]
Text - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

Download (7MB) | Preview


Add to AnyAdd to TwitterAdd to FacebookAdd to LinkedinAdd to PinterestAdd to Email


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics

Actions (login required)

Admin Login Admin Login