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3 Types of Steel Construction

In construction, steel can be used to form the frame of a building or structure. Typically, a steel structure will be composed of a number of columns and beams which are welded, bolted or riveted together. These beams and columns act as the skeleton of the structure, allowing the floors, walls and roof of the building to be supported by them.

There are many types of structures that will use steel to construct the frame, including industrial, residential and high-rise buildings. This is because steel offers some great benefits for buildings, in particular, its ability to hold a great deal of strength relative to its weight.

 

What Types of Steel Construction Are There?

There are three key types of steel construction:

  • Conventional
  • Bolted
  • Light Gauge

Conventional Steel Constructions

a man welding on a construction

For a conventional fabrication, steel beams and component parts will have been created for a structure and then welded together. Welding is the joining together of metal parts through the act of heating them to the point of boiling. This will typically be done with an arc welder, MIG welder or oxyacetylene torch.

 

Bolted Steel Constructions

bolts on a steel frame

A bolted steel construction will see the required components fabricated to suit a design and then bolted into place on-site. Bolted steel constructions won’t use welding on-site, instead relying on bolts to hold the structure together. Some structures may use rivets instead of bolts in some cases.

 

Light Gauge Steel Constructions

interior steel frame

Light gauge steel fabrications will use thinner steel than conventional or bolted steel constructions. Instead of using larger beams, box sections will be used to create smaller frames. This is for less load-bearing applications, such as interior framework and small sheds. These structures will typically be welded together.

 

Welded Vs Bolted Structures

welding a pole

A structure will typically either be welded or bolted together. Each option has its own pros and cons:

Time

It is usually quicker to construct a bolted structure than a welded structure on-site. This is because the bolt-together components will be ready with pre-punched holes that just need to be assembled. Welding, however, will take a little more time, as the process can be a little longer than simply tightening a bolt.

Cost

The cost element really depends on the scale of your project. This is because the cost of welding equipment is a big up-front cost, but in the long run, would work out cheaper than using bolts. However, if you had a smaller-scale project, it would be more cost-effective to use bolts.

Of course, if you are using a specialised structural steelworks company, such as ANY Weld, this would not necessarily be a factor you need to consider, as they would already have access to all of the relevant equipment.

Strength

Once a structure has been welded together, the components will not be coming apart! Welding is generally considered to be stronger than bolting, as it is a permanent action, whereas the bolts have the potential to loosen over time.

However, this offers up its own set of pros and cons, as the ability to tighten up bolts or change parts over time, as needed, is also appealing to some. This is because if a component ever needed replacing, it would be far easier to remove the bolt and change the part than it would be to cut out a welded beam and redo it.

Here at ANY Weld, we have expertise in a wide range of both commercial and domestic structural steelwork. From large-scale architectural metalwork installations to bespoke balconies for your home, we have the right welding and steel fabrication know-how for your construction project!