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    The history of steel columns has continued to evolve rapidly, and even today, engineers and architects are using them in new and innovative ways to provide greater strength and stability to buildings. Apart from this, steel columns are an important structural element in the construction field. It provides stability and support in building structures. They are typically vertical and are placed between different floors or in the corners of a building. Let us move ahead and understand in-detail the meaning of the steel column, types, how to use it and more.

    What is a steel column?

    Steel column is a structural element used in buildings and other structures. It is in a vertical position and transfers the upper load downwards. It is an essential part of the frame of any building, and its primary purpose is to support the structure and maintain its stability.

    The basic structure of a steel column is like a long vertical beam made of steel. Its thickness and size are according to the requirements of the building. Basically, they are used using high-strength steel so that they can withstand heavy loads and forces without deformation.

    These columns typically extend well above the building’s foundation and are connected to beams that must bear their load. They are designed by structural engineers, who decide their size and shape, keeping in mind the design and load-bearing capacity of the building.

    Steel columns are typically connected to beams through welds or bolts. These connections should be solid and stable so the column can play its role efficiently. Further, fire resistance of these columns is also essential, so fire-resistant coatings are used.

    Steel column sizes

    Size Mass kg/m Depth (mm) Flange thickness (mm) Flange width (mm) Death between flange (mm) Web thickness (mm) M/ tonne
     350 197 331 28 350 275 20 5.8
    230 339 32 350 275 25 4.35
    258 347 36 350 275 28 3.88
    400 144 382 16 400 350 16 6.94
    181 390 20 400 350 20 5.52
    212 400 25 400 350 20 4.72
    500 228 490 20 500 450 20 4.39
    267 500 25 500 450 20 3.75
    290 506 28 500 450 20 3.45

    Types of steel columns

    Nowadays, there are different types of steel columns depending on the requirements, design, and construction requirements. Some prominent types include:

    Universal columns:

    It is a type of structural steel column designed and shaped according to specific standards. It is also commonly known as “UC”. And have an H-shaped cross-section used to support load and structure. Their design is H-shaped, with top and bottom flanges (thin horizontal part) and a vertical web (vertical position) between them.

    I-Beam columns:

    The cross-section of I-Beam columns is I-shaped. These, together with the beams, provide strength to buildings. Their shape helps them withstand axial loads, shear forces, and bending moments.

    H-Beam columns:

    H-Beam columns are also similar to I-Beam but their cross-section is H-shaped. These are also used in heavy and shear ball scenes.

    Pipe columns:

    Pipe columns are in the form of steel pipes. These are used for a specific design or application.

    Composite columns:

    Multiple materials are used in composite columns, such as steel and concrete, to increase their performance and strength.

    Built-up Columns:

    In built-up columns, more than one steel section is joined together, which is used for a specific design.

    Metal column:

    This is made using any metal, such as steel, aluminium, or any other alloy. These columns are used to improve stability and load-bearing capacity in buildings, bridges, industrial structures, and other construction projects.

    SHS columns:

    SHS, or Square Hollow Section, is a type of structural element that is square shaped, and it is hollow from the inside.  Also, the design of the SHS column is based on a square cross-section, in which all four sides have equal length and width.

    CHS columns:

    CHS, or Circular Hollow Section, is a type of structural element with a circular cross-section and is hollow throughout. Even CHS columns are used to improve stability and load-bearing capacity in buildings, bridges, and other construction projects.

    CFT columns:

    CFT, or Concrete Filled Tube columns, is a type of structural column. It consists of a hollow metal tube which is filled with concrete. This type of design limits the load-bearing capacity and also takes advantage of the fire-resistant properties of concrete.

    Tubular steel columns:

    These are a type of structural column in the shape of tubular, i.e. tube or pipe, and are mainly made of steel. Its design is in a hollow cylindrical shape, which has a circular cross-section. Tubular steel columns are used to improve stability and load-bearing capacity in buildings, bridges, industrial structures, and other construction projects.

    Stainless steel columns:

    It is made from stainless steel. Stainless steel is an alloy that is a mixture of steel, chromium, nickel, and other elements. The main function of this alloy is that it is corrosion-resistant, meaning there is no corrosion on its surface. Stainless steel columns are also used to provide stability and durability in buildings, bridges, industrial structures, and other construction projects.

    PEB columns:

    PEB, also known as Pre-Engineered Building, is a building designed according to a ready blueprint and built by assembling ready-made components on site. PEB columns are one of the finished components that support the structure of the building.

    Residential steel columns:

    Also known as “structural steel columns” or “steel support columns”, are steel columns used in homes or residential structures. These columns provide structural support for the building and support various loads, such as weight, shear, and lateral loads. Further, these columns are primarily used in residential buildings, homes, apartments, and other housing projects.

    Commercial steel columns:

    These columns are also known as “structural steel columns” or “steel support columns.” And are steel columns used in commercial structures when compared with residential steel columns. These columns provide structural support for the building and support various loads, such as weight, shear, and lateral loads. These are primarily used in commercial buildings, offices, malls, hotels, and other non-residential structures.

    Erecting steel columns:

    Erecting steel columns refers to the process of installing and securing vertical steel support during the construction of steel-framed buildings or structures. These columns serve as primary vertical load-bearing components, supporting beams, floors, roofs, and other building elements.

    Steel column uses

    The utility of steel columns is essential in building construction and structural engineering. These columns provide stability, strength, and durability to buildings. Below are some key points that help you better understand the use of steel columns:

    • Structural support:

    The primary purpose of steel columns is to provide structural support to the building. These columns support floors, roofs, and other structural elements, keeping the building stable.

    • Load-bearing capacity:

    Steel columns are made of high-strength material, which gives them a very high load-bearing capacity. Due to this reason, it is used to support various floors of buildings and heavy loads.

    • Durability:

    The design of steel columns helps protect them from corrosion and weathering, which increases their life span. Apart from this, steel is also used with fire-resistant alloys.

    • Flexibility:

    Steel has inherent flexibility, which helps absorb seismic or external forces. Due to this reason, steel columns can also be used in earthquake-prone areas.

    • Versatility:

    Steel columns can be manufactured in different sizes and designs to be customised according to specific construction requirements.

    • Ease of Installation:

    Steel columns are easy to transport and install on-site. Their installation is fast and efficient, which reduces construction time and cost.

    • Aesthetics:

    The design of steel columns in modern architecture enhances the aesthetic appeal. Its sleek and clean design looks good even in contemporary buildings.

    • Hybrid construction:

    Steel columns can also be combined with other construction materials, such as reinforced concrete. This creates a hybrid construction approach that provides optimal strength and durability.

    Steel column price in India

    Here’s the data for the prices of steel per kg as per different grades:

    Fe 500 grade

    Company 8 mm (in ₹) 16 mm (in ₹) 25 mm (in ₹)
    Tata Tiscon 73.30 73.74 69.49
    Kamdhenu 58.60 57.50 57.60
    JSW 732.27 75.19 75.19

    Fe 450 grade

    Company 8 mm (in ₹) 16 mm (in ₹) 25 mm (in ₹)
    Tata Tiscon 68.30  68.74  69.49
    Kamdhenu          55.60  57.50  57.60
    JSW  72.27  70.19  72.19

    Fe 250 grade

    Company 8 mm (in ₹) 16 mm (in ₹) 25 mm (in ₹)
    Tata Tiscon 65.30  67.74  69.49
    Kamdhenu  55.60  57.50  57.60
    JSW  65.27  66.19  66.19

    Here’s a list of top steel column companies in India-2023

    1. Tata
    2. JSW
    3. Essar
    4. SAIL
    5. VISA steel
    6. Jindal steel and power
    7. Mesco
    8. Kamdhenu
    9. Syam steelSteel Industries
    10. Electosteel

    Key considerations while selecting steel columns

    When choosing a steel column, consider:

    1. Fire protection: Depending on building codes and the nature of the structure, steel columns may need fireproofing to maintain their strength during a fire.
    2. Corrosion resistance: In certain environments, especially those with high humidity or exposure to corrosive agents, the steel may require coatings or be made from special corrosion-resistant alloys.
    3. Fabrication and construction: Consider the ease of fabrication and any special requirements for welding, bolting, or riveting. The method of construction might also influence the choice of column type.
    4. Cost and availability: The cost of the material and its availability in required sizes and lengths can play a significant role in the selection process.
    5. Building codes and standards: Adherence to Indian standards for steel, such as those outlined by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), is critical. For instance, IS 800: General Construction in Steel – Code of Practice, provides guidelines for steel construction.
    6. Aesthetic considerations: In architectural applications, the appearance of the column may be as important as its structural characteristics.
    7. Future adaptability: If there’s a chance that the building’s use might change or that additional loads might be added in the future, it’s wise to consider this during the column selection process.
    8. Seismic considerations: Parts of India fall in high seismic zones. Therefore, the design of steel columns should account for earthquake resistance, adhering to standards like IS 1893 (Part 1): Criteria for Earthquake Resistant Design of Structures.

    How to procure steel columns? For reliable procurement in India, platforms such as Tata nexarc offer an efficient purchasing process. Simply input your requirements, receive quotes from authorised suppliers, and select the best offer. It’s that simple!

    Charul Nalwaya

    Charul is a content marketing professional and seasoned content writer who loves writing on various topics with 3 years of experience. At Tata nexarc, it has been 2 years since she is helping business to understand jargon better and deeper to make strategical decisions. While not writing, she loves listing pop music.