Different types of structural steel framing

July 22, 2022 12:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Steel frame structure building refers to a building frame where the horizontal and vertical elements are made by a system of steel columns and beams. It comprises a skeleton of perpendicular steel columns and horizontal beams, built in a grid to support the walls, floors, and roofs of houses attached to the frame.


There are several types of steel frames which include:

Skeleton Steel Framing

A skeleton frame refers to a structure commonly used for multi-story building construction. It incorporates a system or network of connecting beams and columns which support the building’s exterior and interior walls and floors and transmits the loads to the foundations. A skeleton steel framing comprises an interconnected series of steel beams and columns. Around the perimeter of the structure, builders install spandrel beams to support the masonry walls. 

There are several kinds of steel connections and components that you can use to connect columns to steel beams in skeleton frame systems. For column and beams connections, components involved include metal brackets, haunches, and gusset plates which assist in distributing stress. Shims assist in making elevation adjustments and lines. Shelf angle brackets assist in attaching the spandrel columns beam. 

Wall Bearing Frame

Wall bearing frame involves the construction of masonry walls on the interior and perimeter of your building. The steel members are then fastened on the walls using anchor bolts and end steel plate bearing. Wall-bearing framing design and construction depend on the span distance between supports and the load intensity. While lower depth beams increase your clear headroom height, it limits your clear floor space area.

In this framing system, the building’s exterior or interior walls are designed to bear the floor and roof load. These frames should be sufficiently robust to withstand any extra horizontal load. This framing is ideal for the construction of lower structures. 

The Long Span Framing System

Long span framing is ideal for wide spans which require a larger clearance, where conventional columns and beams are not appropriate. It is ideal for auditoriums, large industrial buildings, exhibition spaces, theaters, etc. Long-span framing is largely used on projects requiring heavier loads and taller arches.

Long-span framing system options can be categorized in the following ways: 

  • Trusses: These come with the benefit of spanning longer distances as they possess greater depth, making them rigid against bends. The trusses used in long-span construction include Pratt trusses, Fink Trusses, Warren Trusses, Bow String, Vierendeel Trusses, and Scissors.
  • Girders: These deep steel beams help in spanning long distances. The span depends on the steel grade of the girder and the span depth ratio. Builders install girders in different ways. Hybrid and stub girders span lengthwise across the structures and connect to the main girders.
  • Arches: You can make arches as open web or solid, fixed, three-hinged, or two-hinged. They depend on the structural materials you intend to use, anchorage, building use, strength capacities, loading conditions, and foundation type.
  • Rigid Frames: These frames are designed to withstand shear forces and bending moments. Rigid frames are designed as a continuous system through the entire height and length in the absence of the pins and hinges in the mid-span and crowns.

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