Many years ago, but what seems like yesterday, when we arrived in France, we too were looking for timber to build stud walls. We could not find suitable material either. So we looked at the French system using metal profile instead. What a revelation. We have built six apartments and our own home using the same system and wood [sic] never return to wood studding. The set-up consists of principally two elements, RAIL, which is positioned on the floor and ceiling & MONTANTS which are the uprights. The simplest method, that I have found if working solo, is to screw a RAIL to the ceiling and cut another for the floor but do not fix it. Then cut a couple of uprights, one for each end of the proposed wall, and slide inside the RAILs and position the whole structure plumb, then fix both the uprights and the rails to the floor and walls. Once done cut more uprights and fit at 600mm intervals. If you intend to use oversize plasterboard, 2.6mts, 2.8mts, 3.0mts or 3.2mts, it is worth placing the intermediate uprights at 400mm centres. To join the RAILS & MONTANTS together, a small specialist tool is available for about 15€ to crimp the elements together or they can be screwed together.
A major advantage of the metal system is that the metal sections are straight and true, unlike the wood which has to be searched through to find straight lengths. A second factor is the speed of erection, I have got to the stage where I can build a 5mt wall, board it and joint it in a morning and undercoat and paint it the next day. Some folks will tell that the walls built are not stable, I would dispute this, I have built walls to 5.2mts high without any problems. If you are worried by such, the metal sections are available in widths of 48mm (standard), 70mm & 100mm.