The Different Types of Structural Steel and Their Uses in Construction

Steel is well known for providing structure and strength unlike any other when it comes to construction. The durability and potency that steel provides is not matched by the likes of wood or concrete. More often than not, it's the case that steel is the material of choice for construction, and people prefer steel due to its various advantages.

Steel buildings tend to be built using various frames too, for example clearspan, modular and single slope. Due to the fact that steel is much easier and less time-consuming when it comes to building, along with its numerous other factors that have proved advantageous, steel, these days, has become the most sought after way of constructing buildings.

With steel, we can create structures like no other material when it comes to construction. No other material has the potency and durability that steel does. Structural steel has undoubtedly become the preferred choice for construction due to the various benefits it has. The buildings that are made from steel require various structural frames. Also, constructing with steel entails much less time which makes it the most sought after way of constructing structures.

With this in mind, in this blog, we outline some of the various types of steel and the benefits it can offer you. Read on to discover more about this versatile and timeless building material.

Structural Steel

Firstly its beneficial to know what structural steel actually is and how it is formed. Structural steel shapes are made out of this kind of steel, which is formated from a precise cross section. Yet, at the same time it follows definite standards for mechanical properties and chemical composition.

Structural steel comes in various shapes like L-beam, Z shape, HSS shape, L shape (angle), structural channel (C-beam, cross section), T shaped, rail profile, bar, rod, plate and an open joist of web steel.

Standard structural steel varies in different countries with various specifications. For example, European I-beam is Euronorm 19-57, whereas structural steel in the USA comes in carbon, low alloy, corrosion resistant high strength low alloy, quenched and tempered alloy steel etc.

Structural steel is versatile, strong and durable, so it's hardly surprising that it can be morphed into almost any shape based on the construction project at hand; it can be constructed almost immediately the moment it is received on the building site. Structural steel is fire-resistant in itself but fire protection methods should be put in place in case there is a possibility of it getting heated up to a point where it starts to lose its durability and strength.

Corrosion has to be prevented when it comes to structural steel, but tall buildings are known to have withstood various kinds of adversities when built using structural steel.

Steel construction is increasing in popularity all over the world, with every region benefitting from steel throughout the years.Many of the best architectural wonders have been constructed through the use of steel, be it structural, carbon or rebar, including The Empire State Building and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. More importantly, the usage of steel is beneficial in terms of eco friendliness than other modes of construction, and due to this factor alone, it is given more preference.

Taking into consideration the rate of marvellous constructions, steel has proved favourable. With the usage of steel increasing within the construction industry, there is no doubt that it will take over the entire construction field soon in the future.

Here we take a look at the various types of structural steel and its uses in construction.

A Lesson on the Ultimate Load-Bearing Structural Solution

The construction industry is embracing a younger and stronger framing material that delivers benefits for architects, contractors, developers and tenants. Discover why this versatile steel design is outmatching everything else.

Light-gauge steel (also known as cold-formed steel and cold-rolled steel) is a cold-formed material that is used to make construction processes smoother and products stronger. It does not deteriorate, like wood. It is not bulky, like structural steel. It is not heavy, like concrete. It is something completely different, and if you have ever worked with it before, you know that there is a practically endless list of benefits. Let's look further into this wonder material and how iSPAN Systems' light-gauge steel structural solutions can benefit you on your next project.

Light-Gauge Steel's Inception for the Benefit of Contractors

Early in the 1900s, builders began searching for new ways to use steel. Hot-rolled structural steel was extremely strong, but expensive and difficult to install. The innovation and housing shortage after WWII spurred research into light-gauge steel as a load bearing and non-load bearing element. It was found to be 20% stronger than hot-rolled steel with a far superior strength to weight ratio, with significantly less material and energy use than anything else.

Once American design standards came around in 1946, builders quickly began moving forward on constructing homes and mid-rise buildings out of this newly approved building material. In the 1950s and 1960s, as the economy grew, so did the number of cold-formed steel structures in the commercial market.

Today, after further research and engineering support, light-gauge steel is standard use in many new single homes and mid-rise buildings, such as hotels, apartments and condominiums.

What is Possible With Light-Gauge Steel?

The question should be “What isn't possible?” because there is an endless list of uses for this versatile steel product: everything from cars and bridges to storage racks and furniture.

iSPAN Systems has mastered light-gauge steel in building structures and continues to research new possibilities. No matter the building use, iSPAN can pursue and work with its clients on coming up with a cold-formed solution: trusses, joists, walls, floor decking (Composite TotalJoist) and other components.

What is the Big Deal about Light-Gauge Steel?

It's fairly new, but it's rapidly growing in popularity. Why is that? This light and strong material makes the building process better for everyone, whether you're an architect, contractor or developer.

Light-Gauge Steel Benefits for Architect

iSPAN is a single-source supplier, backed with a design/engineering team

Allows for large spans resulting in more spacious spaces

Reduces/eliminates bulkheads

Results in fewer plan changes and costly mistakes since materials are prefabricated

Environmentally friendly choice using recyclable materials

Each detail is planned prior to construction

Multi Storey Steel Buildings

Here's why multi storied buildings are an affordable and convenient solution for your construction needs

Multi storied buildings are a cost-effective solution owing to considerable reduction in initial foundation and infrastructure expenses.

It speeds up construction time due to relative ease of installation.

Multi storied buildings are extremely strong and durable and are earthquake and weather resistant.

There are lesser dead loads as compared to regular concrete buildings.

The need for lesser columns enables the construction of longer spaces.

It is an eco-friendly solution as the steel structures are 100% recyclable and don’t cause material wastage and pollution.

It is corrosion resistant and requires minimum maintenance.


The buildings are also fire resistant owing to the following features

Intumescent paint

This is a coating that swells as a result of heat exposure, thus increasing volume and decreasing in density and offering passive fire protection.

Gypsum board

This is also a passive fire protection material containing chemically combined water which under high heat releases steam and prevents heat transfer.

Vermiculite spray

This fire protectant spray is coated on structural steel to build a fire barrier and protect the steel building.

Column encasing

This is designed to protect the structure by preventing it from reaching the critical failure temperature of 550 degrees celcius. Various systems can be installed for the purpose such as fire-rated insulation boards, concrete cladding as well as spray coating and intumescent paints.

Steel bridge structure – advantages, elements and components

Steel bridges are widely used around the world in different structural forms with different span length, such as highway bridges, railway bridges, and footbridges. The main advantages of structural steel over other construction materials are its strength, ductility, easy fabrication, and rapid construction. It has a much higher strength in both tension and compression than concrete, and relatively good strength to cost ratio and stiffness to weight ratio. Steel is a versatile and effective material that provides efficient and sustainable solutions for bridge construction, particularly for long span bridges or bridges requiring enhanced seismic performance.

Amongst bridge materials steel has the highest and most favorable strength qualities, and it is therefore suitable for the most daring bridges with the longest spans. Normal building steel has compressive and tensile strengths of 370 N/sq mm, about ten times the compressive strength of a medium concrete and a hundred times its tensile strength. A special merit of steel is its ductility due to which it deforms considerably before it breaks, because it begins to yield above a certain stress level.

Advantages of Steel bridge structure

The multiple advantages of steel equate to a more cost-effective option than other building materials. Smaller crews working with smaller scale construction equipment can install and erect steel-based projects because of its light weight. This lighter weight also allows for faster installation, so projects are erected more quickly. This timeliness also affords key cost-savings advantages to construction companies. Some of its advantages are-

Lower construction costs compared with other materials helps save money for municipal governments. Faster construction reduces traffic and business disruption.

Steel bridges last longer than other types, which means they don’t have to be replaced as quickly. Steel components require less maintenance and don’t need to be replaced as often.

Steel is highly adaptable to different climates and geographic conditions. The relative lightness of steel compared with other materials reduces energy use during delivery and construction.

Steel components are less likely to be damaged during extreme events like hurricanes and earthquakes. Steel components are used to transmit critical utility services across bridges.

Steel has a remarkably high strength-to-weight ratio. This minimizes the weight of bridge superstructures, which reduces the cost of building the substructures that support them.

One of the biggest advantages of steel is weight savings, which means lower erection costs, since the bridge pieces can be handled with lighter equipment. In addition, for the same span and load, a steel girder requires less depth than a concrete girder, which can be helpful when constrained by vertical clearance requirements.

Generally, it’s easier to make spans continuous for both live and dead loads and to develop composite action with steel designs rather than with concrete ones.

It’s easier to inspect and determine the structural state of a steel bridge where all the components are visible. The long-term durability and cost effectiveness of steel bridges will be further enhanced by the use of high performance steels with weathering capabilities.

Steel permits cost-effective longer spans for crossing streams, lakes, wetlands, and environmentally protected areas. The long spans may eliminate or at least minimize environmental impact.

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