A steel structure building is a type of building made from fabricated metal, primarily steel for both its internal support and its exterior material. Steel frame is used for the horizontal beams and the vertical columns and they are hinged together through a welding process or sturdy bolts and rivets.

The steel beams that are placed horizontally are designed to handle loads that are placed on its access while the vertical steel columns are used to handle some of the compressive load inflicted on it.

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This is one of the most reliable structural forms because of its ability to withstand heavy loads. As a result, the steel structure can be used for a variety of applications, not just for buildings. They can also be used to build bridges and other infrastructures such as airport terminals and industrial plants.

Different sizes of steel sections are incorporated in a steel structure building and these can come in either cold rolling or hot rolling processes.

Types of Steel Frames

Customers can choose from a variety of steel frames. Here are some of the ones out in the market:

Clearspan Frames

For a long time now, clearspan frames have proven themselves one of the most reliable in the construction industry due to their versatility, durability, and strength. They are also economical to put up, which is why it is generally preferred by people who are on a tight budget.

This type of steel frame can go without interior support, great for bigger and more expansive areas such as warehouses and factories. Any type of building or storage facility can benefit from the use of clearspan frames.

It is also versatile because it can be partitioned to suit the needs of the users. There are no load-bearing walls to think about, hence the ability to rearrange the layout of the space depending on what is needed.

Modular Frames

This is different from clearspan frames in the sense that it has interior columns that provide additional support to a structure. Because it helps evenly distribute the load, it can save builders a lot of money on the foundation and the framing of the structure. Modular frames are considered to be a good choice for bigger and wider buildings, especially those that are more than 80’ wide.

Single Slope Frames

With the eave heights of the sidewall taller than the rest of the building, it creates a sloping effect that starts on the front and goes to the back. Builders can make it as steeper as they prefer. It is often used in offices, shopping buildings, and small storage buildings. It also features columns like modular frames. This kind of frame can be good for small to medium-sized buildings. The sloping design of the roof structure also makes it look more aesthetically pleasing.

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Steel Frame Construction Advantages and Disadvantages

There are many reasons why you should opt for a steel frame construction. First, it is very sturdy and versatile. It can be used for building smaller buildings but can also be used for wider and more expansive spaces such as warehouses. It is more environmentally-friendly because steel can last for a long time and it is fabricated. You don’t have to source materials like wood to construct the building. It’s more affordable and installs easily, reducing the downtime of many companies.

One downside to steel frame construction is its high heat conductivity. Steel is a good conductor of heat, so in the summer season, it can get quite hot unless the building is insulated. Steel can also be prone to corrosion when poor quality steel material is used.

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Steel Structure Building Design

There are three basic steel structure building designs and methods to choose from. The first one is the Simple Design structure. This is the most basic and the most traditional design of steel structures and one that is commonly used by companies. This type of design is the best when it comes to resisting lateral loads. Some form of bracing is used to provide more stability and protection against swaying. Concrete cores can be added for multi-story buildings.

When putting up a Simple Design steel structure, it is iterative that contractors understand joint response. Since the joints are the ones that hold the structure in place, it has to provide the most support.

Another type of design is called the Continuous Design. In this type of design, the joints are made more rigid so that there is a balance transfer of moment to the members. The frame action such as the columns and the beam bends are the ones that provide stability to the frame and protection against sway. In this type of design, computer programs and software are commonly used to set up the design because it is typically more complex.

The third type is the Semi-Continuous Design. It’s the most complex type of design because there is a more realistic representation of the structure’s joint response. It needs advanced computer programs to determine connection behaviors.

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Steel Frame Construction Details

A steel structure building is made up of different components. Here are the basics steel frame construction details that most designs use:


To support the steel frame, there should be a solid foundation. The type of foundation that will be used will depend on the bearing capacity of the soil. Contractors usually hire soil investigators to explore both the surface and the subsurface of the ground to determine how the steel frame will rest.

A strip foundation is needed if there is only a low to moderate load. This kind of foundation can bear transferred loads. However, if the soil strength is not up to par and there is a need for a large load, contractors should opt for a pile foundation. This kind of foundation will distribute the weight of the load from the structure into the soil.

Steel Column

Once the foundation has been laid out, steel columns will be placed next. The kind of steel column that will be used will also depend on the imposed load. These are usually prefabricated. When installed, there has to be a strong connection between the column and the foundation. At the end of the columns, square or rectangular shaped base plates are used to reinforce its connection to the foundation. These shapes are commonly preferred because they provide more adequate and balanced spacing for the bolts.

Steel Beams

Steel beams are commonly used for multi story structures. The beams are relied on for load transfer from the roof to the floor through the columns. Steel beam range is anywhere between 3m and 9m but can go as high as 18m for taller and more expansive structure.

The steel beams require a connection from column to beam as well as beam to beam. Depending on the type of load that will be inflicted, there are different connections for the column to beam. If the joints are mostly holding vertical loads, a simpler kind of connection will suffice. That can include the use of a double angle cleat or a flexible end plate. But for vertical loads that also include torsion force, more complex joint systems that make use of full depth end plate connections should be used.

Floor System

It can be installed at the same time as the erection of the beams. The floor system also helps in supporting the structure’s vertical load. However, they can also bear some of the brunts from lateral loads with the help of bracings. Some of the common types of floor systems used for steel structure are slabs and Slimflor beams. They can be incorporated with composite materials as well.

Bracing and Cladding

Bracing helps deflect lateral force. It also transfers some of the lateral loads from the structure to the column. The column will then transfer it to the foundation.

For the cladding, there are different kinds of materials to choose from depending on how building owners want it to look like. Sheet cladding is commonly used because it can be easily installed and has an industrial local. It also provides ample protection to the inside of the structure. Brick cladding can be a good alternative as well. It has better insulation properties that can deflect heat in the summer.

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What are the connection methods between steel structural members?

1. Welding


Strong adaptability to geometric shapes; simple structure; automatic operation without weakening the cross section; good airtightness of the connection and high structural rigidity


High requirements for material; heat-affected zone, it is easy to cause local material change; welding residual stress and residual deformation reduce the bearing capacity of compression members; welding structure is very sensitive to cracks; low temperature and cold brittleness are more prominent

2. Riveting


Reliable force transmission, good toughness and plasticity, easy quality inspection, good dynamic load resistance


Complex structure, costly steel and labor

3. Ordinary bolt connection


Convenient loading and unloading, simple equipment


When the bolt precision is low, it is not suitable to be sheared; when the bolt precision is high, the processing and installation are complicated and the price is higher

4. High-strength bolt connection


The friction type has small shear deformation and good elastic performance, especially suitable for the structure with dynamic load. The bearing capacity of the pressure type is higher than the friction type, and the connection is compact


The friction surface treatment, the installation process is slightly complicated, and the cost is slightly higher; the shear deformation of the pressure-bearing connection is large, and it should not be used in the structure under dynamic load.


Why Do We Use Steel Structure?

Steel has been around for a long time. It’s not just good for bigger and taller structures like buildings and warehouses but also for smaller structures like residential homes. It has a lot of advantages including its green properties. Steel is a recyclable material.

This material is also impervious to buckling and warping, making it one of the most reliable materials around. If you want your structure to hold up well against the harsh elements, steel structure is your best choice.

What Foundations are Used for Steel Framed Buildings?

Foundations are essential for the reliability and the stability of steel framed buildings. Pad foundation is commonly used. The concrete foundation holds the steel columns. The columns will then be held in place by strong square or rectangle bolts while the concrete still hasn’t dried up. Planning the foundation properly is the key to the success of the structure. When not done correctly, the entire structure will not be safe and reliable.

How Much Does It Cost to Build a Metal Building?

The cost of building a metal building depends on how big it is. A small building can set you back by a minimum of $3,300 and can go over $45,000 for a large-sized building that can be used for industrial or commercial purposes. If you are going for pre-engineered materials, a square foot can cost you $18. A typical workshop can set you back by $16,000 while a large building complete with insulation can cost about $41,000.

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