Metal Building Frame Types

There are many different types of frames that are used in metal building construction. A basic understanding of the different types of frames will help you make the best choice for your application. The most popular steel building frame type is the clear-span rigid frame, which offers substantial strength and durability. The other styles: modular, single slope, Gambrel, asymmetrical, classic and lean to, each offers unique advantages.

metal building clearspan metal frame tapered columns

Clear Span Gable Symmetrical Frame

Clear-span frames require no interior support beams, which allows for an unobstructed interior which is suitable for almost any application including retail space, office space, production facilities, and  airplane hangars. The clear-span frame here is gable symmetrical - meaning that it is double-sloped with the ridge in the center of the building.
Clear Span Gable Symmetrical Frame
FR01
metal building modular frame tapered columns

Modular Gable Symmetrical Frame

Modular frames make use of interior load-bearing columns to more evenly distribute the load of the entire building. A modular frame works very well for projects that require extremely large steel buildings. The addition of an interior, or intermediate column on wider buildings, especially those with high snow loads helps reduce the size of the rafter and column, making the project more economical. The modular frame here is gable symmetrical - meaning that it is double-sloped with the ridge in the center of the building.
Modular Gable Symmetrical Frame
FR02
steel building single slope frame straight columns

Clear Span Single Slope Frame

Single slope frames allow for a pitched roof, a frame that is higher on one side than it is the other. Pitched or single sloped roofs may be a necessity in areas that get heavy rainfall or snowfall, because they allow the roof to shed excess rain or snow to one side. Additionally, a single slope is ideal for retail buildings where a mansard or parapet is desired for a more aesthetically pleasing entry.
Clear Span Single Slope Frame
FR03
steel building gambrel frame

Gambrel Frame

Besides being a traditional architectural style, Gambrel Frame offers aesthetic and practical advantages. Roofs that spring from the first-floor wall plate, the way gambrels and capes do, rather than from the second floor. Such roofs are more interesting and visually pleasing. But the gambrel has some advantages over the cape: in particular,  gambrel allows more useful space within the framed volume.
Gambrel Frame
FR04
metal building asymmetrical offset frame with tapered columns

Asymmetrical Offset Peak Clear Span Frame

A frame who’s ridge is not equal on both sides or whose eave heights are not the same.
Asymmetrical Offset Peak Clear Span Frame
FR05
metal building leanto frame

Lean-to Frame

The Lean-to frame attaches to and is supported by the main building frame. Leanto frames will either follow the existing building roof slope or fall below it by a minimum of 1’ in order to allow room for connections and flashing. Primarily used for expansion or extension of a building, lean-to frames can provide additional space very economically. They are commonly used to provide additional office or storage space for a larger building. A lean-to frame typically has a single slope profile (no ridge) and straight sidewall columns. It must be supported by the attachment to another frame.
Lean-to Frame
FR06

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