Steel Framing Alliance | Steel. The Better Builder

Recent Developments
New ASTM Standard – Protection from Formosan Termites: To combat the problem of Formosan Termites, states and educational institutions have embarked on various studies and programs to attack this problem by various means including chemical applications.  But the problem persists. During the ASTM meetings held in St. Louis in the Spring of 2010 the SFA requested that the E60.01 subcommittee approve the acceptance of a new work item to develop an ASTM standard practice for Protection from Formosan Termites.  Known as WK29376, the goal is to provide a point of reference or roadmap for areas to employ in stopping the spread of this problem.  As of this writing a collaboration site has been established on the ASTM web site for interested parties to lend their expertise in the standards development.



  • According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) termites cause an estimated $5 billion dollars of damage a year in the United States.
  • Termites cause more damage than fire, floods, and storms combined.
  • The Formosan termite is one of the most destructive termite species in the world and now infests more than 14 states according to the USDA.  Originally limited to Hawaii, the Formosan termite is now well established throughout the southern states in and around the Gulf Coast, and spreading rapidly.
  • Cold-formed steel (CFS) is one of the recognized methods for compliance with the termite-resistant construction requirements of the International Residential Code.  Choose CFS and do away with the worries about exclusions in the fine print of warranties for treated wood or the presence of chemical treatments in your building or soil.
  • CFS is inorganic and does not provide a food source for termites.
  • There is no need for annual termite treatments with steel.
  • CFS provides a healthy building with no off-gassing from chemical termite trTERMITES PICTUREeatments, or pressure treated lumber.
  • Termite damage is rarely covered by insurance.  Build it right and avoid costly problems later.
  • A 2009 survey of homeowners in Hawaii, where the Formosan Termite has radically changed construction practices, indicates that homeowners on Oahu prefer CFS framing by a 2 to 1 margin over treated wood or concrete (see resources to right for full report).
  • Provisions in the IRC Section R318; Protection against Subterranean Termites

The provisions of the International Residential Code (IRC) lists six options that are acceptable for termite protection.  At least one of these options are required in all residential buildings.  Note that the International Building Code (IBC) is not nearly as specific about termite protection for commercial buildings.  Since termite don’t discriminate between building types, the IRC requirements are good guidance for all building.

R318.1 Subterranean termite control methods. In areas subject to damage from termites as indicated by Table R301.2(1), methods of protection shall be one of the following methods or a combination of these methods:

    1. Chemical termiticide treatment.
    2. Termite baiting system.
    3. Pressure-preservative-treated wood.
    4. Naturally durable termite-resistant wood.
    5. Physical barriers.
    6. Cold-formed steel framing.

United States Department of Agriculture Map

United States Department of Agriculture Map