Architecture is a world in itself, and those who venture into this wide territory are entitled to immediate encounters with terms and words of unclear content. We can mention hundreds of them, but today we focus our attention on three: – modular construction, concrete and masonry construction, and LSF construction. 

If you're building a house, you're sure you've heard them and probably had a lot of doubts.

The issues pile up and you don't know what's like? Do you think modular construction implies LSF? Don't you see the difference between traditional construction and LSF?

Today we talk about methods and types of construction in architecture, we unveil the fundamental differences between them and more. Don't miss it!

What is LSF construction?


LSF - Light Steel Frame! This is the meaning of the acronym, but it still says little about the content. In Portuguese LSF means approximately light steel structure.

The origins of LSF construction date back to 19th-century America. The solution at the time was wood framing, or wooden structure, in which wood was used as the main element in the structure of housing buildings.

When World War II ended, metallurgical companies had gained enormous experience in the use of steel due to war and this was an abundant metal, so it began to be widely used in construction, first in interior partitions and then in the structure of the building itself. At the time it was thought that steel would completely replace the use of wood, but this did not happen and until the mid-last century. At that time LSF construction was regulated in America and the cutting of trees in the older forests was very restricted, paving the way for steel. Since then the system has been gaining fans all over the world.

Advantages over traditional construction

House LSF (RST)

Although it may seem more fragile, the LSF construction has some advantages over traditional construction, masonry and concrete.


- LSF houses under construction have good weight distribution on the structure that becomes lighter, which gives them a degree of safety identical to that of traditional construction;

- Produces more comfortable houses, with better performances in thermal and acoustic insulation, thanks to filling materials such as expanded polystyrene, laminated gypsum and mineral wool;

- It is a much faster method than traditional construction thanks to the lightness of the materials and their dimensions;

- It is very versatile, aswelling for various purposes;

- Has good behavior in case of earthquake;

- It gets a little cheaper.

Reinforced concrete construction in masonry - known and reliable

Massif of industrial equipment

The traditional construction with masonry and reinforced concrete is still the most used in our country.

Masonry is the term used to designate the set of stones, blocks or bricks, which form the walls or foundations of a building, with or without mortar.

Reinforced concrete is reinforced concrete with steel rods, iron grilles, fibers or other materials. The use of steel rods inside the cement allows to exceed its little tensile strength, making it very resistant to tensile and compression stresses.

In houses under construction, masonry is usually used combined with reinforced concrete, but it is not mandatory to do so.

The roots of the use of masonry date back to antiquity and have evolved in terms of applied technical materials. Reinforced concrete is an evolution of the use of mortars and dates back to the 19th century, having been presented as an innovation at the International Fair In Paris (the same one that left us the Eiffel Tower). These constructive methods have been evolving a lot over time and have proven in versatility and safety.


- Allows the construction of taller buildings, and the LSF method only allows one or two floors at most. In fact, traditional construction allows greater architectural freedom, both in height and in form, without jeopardising the stability of the structure.

- Allows the creation of wide spans and bold shapes without jeopardising the distribution of forces throughthe structure of the building.

- Generally has better behavior in the face of the earthquake;

- It has better thermal inertia (the capacity of the building for the temperature variations inside), although it can be colder and have worse performance in insulation, if no extra measures are taken that contemplate this facet. A good architect will help you find the best solutions to get around any inconveniences of this constructive method.

Where does modular construction enter this equation?


The modular construction is a separate alloy! In reality, the confusion really comes from the fact that many modular houses are built with LSF modules. Got confused? So let's go by parts:
- Modular houses are usually built in a factory starting from the inside out. There are usually common modules that can be adapted, and others that are built on the basis of the details chosen for further customization. The modules can be built in various materials, although the most common are wood and, there is the LSF.
- The lightness of the materials and the ease of assembly of the LSF make it the perfect method for building modules for modular construction, facilitating the transport and the process of erecting the building.
- Modular houses whose modules are built using the LSF method normally follow the following process:
1. Production of the light steel profiles that will constitute establishes the structure of the modules. The profiles are made on specific machines called profilers according to what was previously established for the model;
2. Then, or simultaneously, all complementary connection elements are manufactured, such as screws and connecting pieces;
3. The next step is to rigorously assemble, under controlled conditions, the LSF structure that will be the skeleton of the module;
4. Finally, the filling plates are installed, the material varying according to the manufacturer.
Other materials in modular construction!


There are also prefabricated and modular concrete houses. In this case, the modules consist of prefabricated concrete panels, and the finishes are done on site. The panels are transported to the site, placed in position with a crane and anchored with injected concrete, to prevent heat leakage and infiltration.
Wood is another of the most used materials in the construction of modular houses. Its production is somewhat similar to that of LSF modular houses, but instead of profiles and iron molding we have beams, bars and wood cutting. There are often manufacturers who use combinations of materials to give more aesthetic interest or to improve the technical characteristics of the houses.
All modular houses need a considerable amount of land preparation and construction of the base on which the house rests.
There are several materials and construction methods for modular houses, but what truly unites them all is the concept, that is, the construction of the modules in the factory and subsequent assembly in the final location.
In the national housing panorama, modular houses have been asserting themselves as quick, cheap and reliable alternatives to traditional construction, but not everything is pink, as they say.
Light steel construction

In this article you are aware of the fundamental differences of the various types of construction, namely modular construction, in concrete and lsf. Modular structures are increasingly popular around the world and in Portugal it has gained many followers in recent years. The lsf houses win for the lightness of the materials in relation to the traditional construction. Find the ideal builder and choose the type of construction you prefer.