Basic Types of Steel Building Structure

October 15, 2021 | Categorized in:

steel warehouse frame

Steel has become an integral part of the design and construction of modern buildings, but how it’s used to support the structure can vary depending on a number of factors. From the building’s use and the risk of seismic activity to the number of stories and construction timeline, these all can impact what type of steel frame structure is used.

Common types of steel frame structures

The four steel frame structures we’re going to be discussing are basic building frame structures, portal frames, truss structures, and grid structures. However, it is important to note that there are many other types and variations of frames that are used in more specialized or unique applications.

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Steel building frame structure

This basic framework consists of steel beams and columns that are versatile and can form spaces of near-infinite sizes and layouts. It also has many of the basic benefits that the other structures we’ll discuss have, such as improved rigidity and strength. These are most commonly used in buildings with many similar units (office buildings, apartment buildings, high-rises, etc.) because of their adaptability.

Steel portal frame structure

Portal frame, or clear span, structures are often what comes to mind when thinking of aircraft hangers. In other words, low-rise or single-story structures with wide spans and open floors that are commonly used for warehouses, barns, and other applications where large, open spaces are required at low cost.

Portal frames are often made from hot rolled steel and can be constructed quickly due to their simplistic design. Using rigid moment-resisting connections, portal frames also have high resilience against lateral and vertical actions.

Steel truss structure

The general idea of a truss structure is beams or rods that have a hinge at either end and can be grouped into either plane or space trusses. Plane trusses form a two-dimensional framework and experience loads and reactions at the joints on the plane of the structure. Space trusses, on the other hand, form a three-dimensional framework and can support loads on multiple planes.

The advantage of truss structures is because the framework is made up of an upper and lower chord with webbing in between, it weighs far less and uses less steel than standard web beams. At the same time, the rigidity of the frame is greater and it can help control deflections. They are commonly used in bridges, TV towers, and roofs with large spans.

Steel grid structure

Steel grid structures are exactly what the name implies — rods connected to form a grid pattern that distributes stress across the structure. Similar to trusses, the grid framework can be a two-dimensional plane or it can form a three-dimensional shape such as a reticulated shell.

Another similarity to truss structures is that grid structures are also lightweight and still maintain high rigidity. In addition, grid frameworks also have excellent seismic resistance and are therefore useful for gymnasiums, exhibition halls, theaters, and more.

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No matter which type of steel structural frame you need, Service Steel can supply it. From piling, sheets, and coils to services such as flame cutting, tee splitting, and galvanizing, Service Steel can provide you with the materials and expertise to get your projects done.