Industry-leading internal and external cold rolled steel solutions

17 Jan , 2020  

Steel Formed Sections is Ireland’s premier manufacturer and supplier of cold rolled sections for internal partitions, MF ceilings and external Steel Framing Systems. Building Ireland visited their state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Castleblayney,

County Monaghan and touched base with sales director Tommy O’Neill to find out more.

A world-class manufacturer of steel formed products for the construction industry in Ireland and the UK, Steel Formed Sections provides unrivalled products and services to a who’s who of main contractors, partitions and ceiling contractors, builders’ providers, architects and specifiers.

Steel Formed Sections was formed in November, 2005. The business was formed by Tommy O’Neill and Pat Burns. Tommy had carved out a career for himself during his time with companies such as Kingspan Insulation, Castleblayney, numerous building product distributors in London and then more recently with the SIG group in Ireland while Pat is a CPA accountant by trade. Steel Formed Sections is service-orientated manufacturing company catering predominantly for the ceiling, partition and drywall markets and has gained invaluable expertise and product knowledge through close business relationships with customers, suppliers and research partners, including Cambridge Fire Research, Sound Research Laboratories, BRE and numerous other UKAS accredited facilities both in the UK and main land Europe.

From their purpose-built 25,000 square feet production facility, they offer fast and reliable delivery and collection services with excellent access to all major road networks throughout Ireland and the UK.

Thanks to their investment in major rolling technology, SFS offer customers sections ranging from 70-300mm, ranging in gauge thickness from 0.5 to 2.5mm. Wherever feasible, they like to work with design teams as early as possible in the design process so that their technical input can assist in finding the most effective and economical solutions.

Offering solutions for external and interior applications, Steel Formed Sections are a leading manufacturer of steel studs and related products for partition walls and MF ceiling systems, invariably delivering an expert service alongside robust and innovative solutions.

They also offer a world-class service for the design and manufacture of Steel Framing Systems. These systems provide cladding support, either inside or outside the structural frame.

Vastly experienced and highly skilled experts in light gauge steel manufacturing , Steel Formed Sections deliver world-class, flexible and competitively-priced solutions to a variety of sectors including commercial, residential, education, healthcare, leisure & hospitality, data centres, student accommodation and state departments.

They help architects and specifiers to value engineer, through proven solutions, innovative suggestions and competitive pricing, delivering robust, proven products on-time, every time.

SFS has a proven track record of collaborating closely with top-tier main contractors, offering expert advice, highly competitive pricing and a responsive service. Contractors know they can have complete confidence in their products and this is why they enjoy lasting working relationships and repeat business from a who’s who of construction companies, including Sisk, Gilbert-Ash, O’Hare & McGovern, McAleer & Rushe, Graham, Shannon Homes, JJ Rhatigan, Henry Construction, BAM, John Paul, Duggan, Stewart, Ganson, Collen, Purcell, Bennett, Hegarty, Kilcawley, Clancy, Farrans, Taylor Wimpey, Felix O’Hare and Walls Construction

Meanwhile, ceiling and partition sub-contractors know that Steel Formed Sections not only offer best-in-class stud and track and other partitions and ceilings products, but also provide in-depth expertise and great prices, adding value to every project.

Interior, light-gauge metal products can be sourced through all the leading hardware outlets and builders’ providers nationwide (Tennants Building Products, SIG Interiors, Wogans Hardware, Topline, TJ O’Mahoney, Heiton Buckley, Chadwicks, Associated Hardware and Allied Merchants buying association).

Steel Formed Sections provide a comprehensive range of services to meet client needs, including design expertise and consultation; manufacturing and delivery; technical support; and a first class aftersales service.

The first big challenge Steel Formed Sections faced was the economic collapse in 2008 and the effect that it had on the construction industry, which struck not long after the company’s genesis… “During the downturn, we had to consolidate and we worked on expanding our export market, mainly to the UK, this was achieved in no small way with the help of Enterprise Ireland,” Tommy O’Neill reflects. “We managed to secure some market share there and that gave us the resources to develop further and invest in the testing of our products as we see the market develop towards a “System Solution” environment.

“The export business we created in the UK helped us get to a level where we were competing with most of the major global manufacturing operations and offering a genuine fully tested value engineered solution. As most of our competition manufacture their own plasterboard systems and then add their own metal systems to create a “System Solution” we at SFS must test our metal with the three acceptable plasterboard systems on the market.  This however is now making SFS the most updated and tested to current building regulations available in the market today. We can offer “System Solutions” with any of the boards required by either architectural design teams or subcontractors on site. The original thrust of the business was rolling metal studs for internal partitions and MF ceilings. However, an opportunity came to hand while on a business trip abroad to expand into the SFS Framing sector for the UK market.

“While we’re still completely focussed on the initial core market of internal ceilings and partitions, there’s also a major emphasis now on external steel framing.” Indeed, Steel Formed Sections is the market leader in Ireland for steel framing systems. “We started producing the structural frames ourselves in 2014 and that’s when it really started to develop for us as a major player in the light gauge steel market,” Tommy notes.

“Rigorous testing is required for all your products and the testing side is very expensive,” he continues. “We managed to get the resourced needed to invest in that and it has paid off in a big way.”

An inordinate amount of hard work has been invested into getting Steel Formed Sections to where it is today. “It’s been challenging and you are up against large multi nationals who are continually setting the standards which we must meet so that we can continue to grow. Through our continuous investment we will continue to give people a truly value engineered option in this very competitive market.

Steel Formed Section has contributed to a multitude of major, landmark projects across Ireland and the UK, including the likes of  , Ballymore Properties, Dublin Landings, Mill Street Student Accommodation, Holiday Inn Express, O’Connell St, Gardiner St, Student accommodation, Capital Dock,  Portland 88, Lansdowne Place, The Point Campus, UCD Student Residences , Southern Regional Collage programme, Armagh, Enniskillen, and Banbridge along with other hotel, hospital, colleges and accommodation projects.

The business is currently enjoying a period of significant growth. “Up until 2012, we only had five or six employees but we now have 30 people between Ireland and the UK while turnover has trebled since 2014,” Tommy confirms. “We have a strong loyal base of distributors and subcontractors and we’re starting to engage directly with main contractors and architectural practices to get to the table early on projects and help them from the early design stage with their internal and external design packages.

“We’re confident that there’s more scope for further growth,” the Monaghan entrepreneur concludes. “Ireland is experiencing unprecedented growth at the moment. We are confident that our continued investment in our products and systems will allow us to continue to grow both at home and in the UK. The three markets we’re focusing on are: internal partitions and ceilings; structural in-fill (non-load-bearing) systems; and structural load bearing panelised systems (main structural buildings).

“Our latest investment was in machinery for structural pre panelised systems will allow us to compete in the latest “big thing” offsite building solutions. Over the coming month we will be launching our systems and allow us to compete both at home and in the UK in this rapidly expanding market.

Steel Formed Sections,

Lough Egish Food Park,



County Monaghan.

Tel: 042 9745700

Fax: 042 9745701

Email: [email protected]

Web: www.steelformedsections.ie

Taken from Building Ireland Magazine, September, Vol 5 No 9