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Contractor Chooses Cold-Formed Steel Framing for Rebuild After Santa Rosa Wildfire

Farrow Development cites lower cost and less job-site waste as factors for selecting cold-formed steel to rebuild Fountaingrove neighborhood after 2017 wildfire.


(Photo Credit: North Bay Business Journal)

In October 2017, a series of fast-moving wildfires spread across Northern California. More than $10 billion in property was destroyed. Seven billion of that was in the Santa Rosa, a city of less than 200,000 residents. Three thousand homes were lost. Three hotels burned, along with a K-Mart and a new $4 million fire station. Over two years later, the community is still recovering from the effects of the blazes.

John Farrow, president of Farrow Development, is working to rebuild parts of Santa Rosa.  From a mostly commercial general contractor, Farrow now has 80 home rebuilds under construction, including 44 of 46 sites in The Oaks development in Santa Rosa’s Fountaingrove neighborhood.

“When the fires hit, it was kind of a wake-up call for us,” Farrow said. “We had done developments in residential and single-family homes before in our past lives and iterations of Farrow.”

According to an article in the North Bay Business Journal, Farrow chose to use non-combustible cold-formed steel framing and stucco finishes for the rebuild. Steel was picked because of less job-site waste — around 2% for steel versus over 20% for lumber — and cost, which at the time of ordering was 8% less for steel framing than wood, Farrow said.

More builders are choosing steel for residential, multi-family, and commercial projects. A recent blog from BuildSteel, Don’t Get Burned: Steel for Fire Safety and Insurance Savings, highlights 5 reasons:

  1. Steel is non-combustible
  2. Steel maintains its non-combustibility
  3. Steel-framed buildings lower the fire risk to workers and occupants
  4. Steel-framed buildings lower the impact on municipal fire services
  5. Steel-framed buildings tend to cost less to insure

For more information about how to use cold-formed steel framing during your next building project, get in-touch with some of our BuildSteel experts.

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