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    Table of Contents

    Steel plays an important role in the construction and infrastructure industry. It is seen in many applications including buildings, architectural projects, and so on. Steel also plays a key role in piping systems. However, do you know steel is extensively used in framing systems of buildings and infrastructure projects?

    This article explains what a steel frame is, the types of steel frames and its key features.

    What is a steel frame?

    In simple terms, a frame is a skeleton of any structure such as a building, construction and architectural industries. Steel is a popular material to be used in the frames and hence they are called steel frames.

    Steel frames are widely used in the construction of buildings such as high rises, warehouses, industrial buildings, temporary structures, and so on. Here are the types of steel frames used in the construction industry.

    Types of steel frames – (as per fabrication)

    According to the way of fabrication, the following types of steel frames are used in the construction industry.

    Conventional steel frames

    Conventional steel frames are constructed using conventional techniques. The steel is cut in the precise size and then steel members are welded together to form a steel frame. The fabrication work is usually conducted at the construction site. One of the important points to note is, it is a labor-intensive task to build a conventional steel frame. Alternatively, it can partially be done in the workshop and then brought to the construction site.

    Also read: Steel bolts and nuts – Different types and industrial applications

    Bolted steel frames

    As the name suggests bolted steel frames are bolted together. As a process, steel fabricators manufacture frame components, they are painted and then brought to the site where they are bolted together. The size of the components is usually determined by the size of the trucks that would carry them to the site. For example, a normal truck can carry up components to 20 feet while long trailers can carry up to 40 feet long components.

    The advantage of bolted steel frames is it is a faster way of construction because:

    • Components are built in the workshop with the required machinery and working conditions.
    • The only work on the site is conducted to lift components by crane and bolting.

    Light gauge steel frames

    These steel frames are more common in North America and Europe. Light gauge steel, a thin steel sheet (about 3mm), is used for creating light gauge steel frames. These sheets are bent to create c-sections and z-sections. These sheets offer flexibility and speed to construction while it’s lightweight yet strong. As a result, it is widely used in the construction of residential buildings.

    Types of steel frames – (as per structures)

    Steel frames are classified into the following as per their structures.

    Skeleton steel frames

    A skeleton frame is a network of steel columns and steel beams. This network supports exterior walls and interior flooring. Various components are used to connect columns and beams. These include metal brackets, gusset plates, haunches, etc. These components help in distributing stresses and helping the skeleton stand strong. Skeleton frames are more suitable for multi-story buildings.

    Wall-bearing steel frames

    Wall-bearing steel frames depend on masonry walls. Meaning, a masonry wall is erected on the perimeter and a steel frame is anchored on it. The design and structure of the wall-bearing steel frames vary depending on the load that is building intends to take.

    In the wall-bearing steel frame system, walls, exterior and interiors support roof and floor load. This kind of framing structure is suitable for lower structures. This is because there has to be a substantial increase in the size of the bearing wall in case of a large or multi-story building.

    Long span steel frames

    As the name suggests, long span frames are long as compared to conventional beams and columns. A span of long span steel frames usually exceeds 12 mtr. This kind of framing system is usually used in bigger projects. Typically, it is used in industrial buildings, auditoriums, theatres, exhibition halls, and so on.

    Features of steel frames

    Here are the key features of steel frames:

    • Steel frames provide high strength.
    • They are easy to install. Mostly, they can be built in the workshop and installed on site.
    • Erection of steel frames can be done quickly.
    • Steel is a versatile material. It can be joined together through multiple ways such as welding bolting, riveting, and so on.
    • Durability is yet another advantage of steel. Steel frames can last for decades.
    • Steel frames are environmentally friendly since steel is a recyclable material.

    How to procure steel in India?

    Procuring high-quality steel for construction and infrastructure projects has become easier than before. You can buy the required grades of steel at Tata nexarc. Just fill in your requirements such as quality of steel, grade and quantity and get quotes from verified suppliers. Evaluate quotes and choose the one that suits your requirements.

    Steel frames: beyond the construction industry

    The importance of steel in the automotive industry is undeniable. But did you know that just like buildings’ framing system, even vehicles’ framework is created using steel? Passenger vehicles’ framework, commercial vehicles’ framework and also two-wheelers’ frameworks are created using steel.

    Alternatively, steel plays an important role in the furniture industry too. Frames for many furniture items such as dining tables, sofas, etc., are created using steel.

    Concluding remarks

    Steel frames a key role in construction. However, steel its disadvantages too. For example, corrosion in humid environments. Therefore, it is best to understand the project requirements and environmental conditions before finalising the framing system.

    Swati Deshpande

    Swati is a passionate content writer with more than 10 years of experience crafting content for the business and manufacturing sectors, and helping MSMEs (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises) navigate complexities in steel procurement, and business services. Her clear and informative writing empowers MSMEs to make informed decisions and thrive in the competitive landscape.