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Steel Frame Construction

Steel Frame Construction

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Steel frame construction refers to a building technique that uses a frame that has vertical steel columns and horizontal beams. These beams are usually constructed with rectangular grids to help support the roof, floors, and walls of the building that has been attached to the steel frame. The columns and beams are usually riveted, welded, or bolded together to form the rectangular grid. For this structural steel framing to be well designed and erected, the constructors ought to follow the stringent standards of the Canadian Standard Association (CSA) and the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC).

Types of Steel Frame Construction

Steel frames are constructed differently. The difference comes due to various factors like place of construction and the human resources needed in the development, among other factors.  Some of the ways include:

  1. Conventional Steel Fabrication – tin this technique, steel is cut into various pieces and welded together to make a structure. The process requires plenty of labor force and can be done on the construction site. However, for best results, constructors prefer executing the construction process in a workshop where they believe it is a safe and conducive place to carry out the whole process.
  2. Bolted steel construction – here, the steel is fabricated then painted way from the construction site. It is then delivered to the site after the painting and fabrication where it is bolted. The size of the steel is determined by the trailer or truck that is to be used to make the delivery. Usually, steel that has an average length of 6 meters can be carried by a regular vehicle, while one that is around 12 meters can be transported by an extended trailer. Generally, this construction is more comfortable and quicker since the work of lifting the steel and bolting them together can be done from the construction site. It is also the most preferred method of construction since a significant part of the fabrication work is done on the workshops where there is proper lighting, the right machinery, and a conducive work environment. The constructors, therefore, find this a more natural method of constructing steel frame
  3. Light Gauge Steel Construction – the light gauge steel is formed as a thin sheet of steel, ranging between 1-3 millimeters. The gauge steel is bent into different shapes to form either Z-sections or C-sections. This construction method is common and is mainly used to construct small buildings and residential buildings. Constructors also prefer this method as its design is very flexible, its construction speed is high, and the product is stable. Other than being resilient, the construction method is also lightweight, durable in terms of quality, and has a low cost of maintenance. Unlike other construction methods, the light gauge steel construction is recyclable and easy to remodel.


Benefits of steel frame construction


For decades now, structural steel has been the first choice of many contractors and architects owing to its numerous benefits. Factors such as freedom of design and ease of maintenance, make steel frame construction is preferred over its counterparts like concrete and wood. The benefits include;


Reduced building time

Time is money’ is a common saying, and in the building industry, the longer you take working on a project, the more you are likely to spend. Most clients, therefore, always want their construction completed on time and within the allocated budget. In such cases, it can be tempting to use substandard techniques, which are quite risky. But steel frames reduce building time without compromising quality. This is because the majority of manufacturers prefabricate the parts to particular designs, and they can be used once they arrive at the site. Prefabrication eliminates possible human errors that may occur when designing is done on-site. Again, adherence to the code standards is guaranteed. 




Steel is entirely recyclable, helps reduce, thereby helping prevent environmental degradation that is likely the outcome of the other products. For the past three decades, recycling has reduced the energy used in steel production by a whopping 28% and carbon dioxide emissions by approximately 40 percent. Hence, using steel benefits, both your needs and preserves the ecosystem. The structure of steel frames makes them airtight, thereby enhancing the process of sealing the building.

Higher durability and lightweight.

In comparison to other materials, steel frames are more long-lasting. Their components allow them to bear more weight without giving despite their lightweight. Generally, steel is more robust than wood and concrete.

If considering the same size of steel and wood, steel would be more substantial. However, when it comes to frame construction, the weight will depend on the design. The I-beam design of the steel frame makes it lighter than the wood beam because of the quantity of material used. Transportation cost of construction steel frames is also much lower compared to other materials. Additionally, the labor required when dealing with these frames is also markedly reduced. The bottom line can be cut project spending.

High versatility

Structural steel is more malleable than any other framing material allowing you to customize the design to your taste. This enables you to balance weight-bearing appropriately and provide more support in specific areas.  Using steel frames is, therefore, the choice of many architects and engineers who want to demonstrate their artistic prowess by constructing unique buildings without breaching the standards. Again, altering steel parts after installation is more straightforward than wood or concrete frame modifications.

Remarkable weather resistance

Building an all-weather structure is critical in these times of highly-variant atmospheric conditions. The resistance of steel frames to conditions like moisture depends on their carbon content and additional treatments. A zinc coating, for instance, enhances steel’s water resistance, thereby prolonging the lifespan of the house.

Besides weather resistance, steel components make it immune to the damaging effects of pests and other insects that might wobble wooden frames. 

Lower long-term costs

The durability of steel reduces the number of maintenance exercises that need to be carried out within a particular period. Again, when the building is demolished, the material can be sold for recycling. Generally, the price of steel has been continually decreasing due to the expanding market. Combined with reduced transportation and labor costs, steel significantly reduces overall construction expenditure.

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