- High quality, aesthetic
- Low maintenance costs
- Steel is Non combustible
- Environmentally friendly
- Components can be re-used
- Strong, durable and stable
- Construction is fast compared to other materials
- Resistant to termites and other destructive insects
- Cost benefits compared to other construction methods
- Components are functional
Some common types of steel buildings are “straight-walled” and “arch.” Further, the structural type may be classed as clear span or multiple span. A clear span building does not have structural supports (e.g. columns) in the interior occupied space.
Straight-walled and arch type refer to the outside shape of the building. More generally, these are both structural arch forms if they rely on a rigid frame structure. However, curved roof structures are typically associated with the arch term.
Steel arch buildings may be cost efficient for specific applications. They are commonly used in the agricultural industry. Straight-walled buildings provide more usable space when compared to arch buildings. They are also easier to blend into existing architecture. Straight-walled buildings are commonly used for commercial, industrial, and many other occupancy types.
Clear span refers to the internal construction. Clear span steel buildings utilize large overhead support beams, thus reducing the need for internal supporting columns. Clear span steel buildings tend to be less cost efficient than structures with interior columns. However, other practical considerations may influence the selection of framing style such as an occupancy where interior structural obstructions are undesirable (e.g. aircraft hangars or sport arenas)
The modern steel building is composed of many individual elements that have evolved over time. Manufacturing efficiencies are derived with mass production of some elements which a manufacturer designs to work in a uniform manner to form a pre-engineered system. With the benefit of Computer Aided Design (CAD) manufacturers have been able to produce more formats and dimensional variations. As a result, the reference to pre-engineered systems is becoming obsolete as more assembly designs are project specific. Building portions that are shop assembled prior to shipment to site are commonly referenced as pre-fabricated. The smaller steel buildings tend to be pre-fabricated or simple enough to be constructed by anyone. The larger steel buildings require skilled construction workers, such as ironworkers, to ensure proper and safe assembly.
There are five main types of structural components that make up a steel structure, they are tension members, compression members, bending members, combined force members and their connections. Tension members are usually found as web and chord members in trusses and open web steel joists. Ideally tension members carry tensile forces, or pulling forces, only and its end connections are assumed to be pinned. Pin connections prevent any moment(rotation) or shear forces from being applied to the member. Compression members are also considered as columns, struts, or posts. They are vertical members or web and chord members in trusses and joists that are in compression or being squished. Bending members are also known as beams, girders, joists, spandrels, purlins, lintels, and girts. Each of these members have their own structural application, but typically bending members will carry bending moments and shear forces as primary loads and axial forces and torsion as secondary loads. Combined force members are commonly known as beam-columns and are subjected to bending and axial compression. Connections are what bring the entire building together. They join these members together and must ensure that they function together as one unit
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