BlueScope Steel has recently introduced a proprietary resin coating that reduces the reflected glare of its DECKFORM steel used in structural steel decking. Glare is a safety risk for formworkers because of its potential to impair vision and cause disorientation on-site.

Internal testing conducted by BlueScope indicates that LGC DECKFORM steel can reduce the amount of reflected UV light to less than 15 per cent of ambient levels, which is comparable to the six per cent achieved by plywood formwork.

Product development portfolio leader - Commercial and Industrial, Andrew Collins explains that the substantial reduction in reflected glare has a multitude of benefits. Apart from working with a safer and healthier material compared to standard galvanised steel decking thanks to the reduction in heat and UV radiation, the resin coating decreases the potential for slip for formworkers when walking on-site.

BlueScope invested more than three years and $300,000 to ensure that Low-Glare Coated (LGC) DECKFORM steel would meet or exceed the in-situ performance of galvanised DECKFORM steel. The product’s performance was tested extensively, both internally and independently across a number of key criteria covering glare reflectance, surface friction, chemical bonding with concrete, shear stud welding, coating preservation and fire retardation. However, the primary focus of the testing was to assess glare reflectance.

BlueScope engaged independent testing for two critical performance areas expected of all permanent formwork - concrete bonding and shear stud welding.

Mr Collins explains that a strong chemical bond with concrete is essential for structural slabs; the independent testing performed by NATA-accredited body Melbourne Testing Services confirmed that the low-glare coating did not compromise structural integrity.

It was also crucial to ensure that shear studs could be adequately welded through LGC DECKFORM steel into steel beams. BlueScope partnered with one of Australia's biggest stud-welding companies to confirm that the low-glare resin can be readily welded and that a uniform weld flash can be achieved around the base of a steel stud.

BlueScope also engaged with the team at Advanced Technology Testing and Research (ATTAR), which is also an independent NATA-accredited testing body based in Melbourne, to measure LGC DECKFORM steel's slip resistance. The results placed LGC DECKFORM steel in the same slip-resistance class as plywood formwork (Class X, AS4586:2004).

Marketing manager - Building Markets, Ashley Whitter said sales for LGC DECKFORM steel have exceeded expectations.