Steel Building Terms


Anchor Bolt Plan

A plan view showing the size, location and projection of all anchor bolts for the metal building system components, the length and width of the foundation (which may vary from the nominal metal building size). Anchor bolt plans are NOT the same as Foundation Plans.

Anchor Bolts

Bolts (usually located at the bottom of columns, door jambs, and framed openings) used to anchor structural members to a foundation.

Approval Drawings

Approval drawings are not stamped by the engineer and are generated for review by the customer so that the customer may determine if Buck Steel correctly interpreted the customers requests and/or specifications for the metal building, accessories, and accessory placement.


Base Angle

An angle secured to the perimeter of the foundation whose purpose is to allow the bottom of wall panels a point to secure to.

Base Plate

A plate attached to the base of a column which rests on the foundation or other support, usually secured by anchor bolts.


Cables, rods, angles, fixed base, or portal frame used to stiffen roof and walls and transfer loads to the foundation.



Any overhanging or projecting roof structure with the end being unsupported. Canopy's can be at eave or below eave.


A plate or angle used to fasten two or more members together.

Closure Strip

A weather resistant foam strip, formed to the contour of ribbed panels used to close openings created by joining metal panels and flashing.

Collateral Load

All specified additional dead loads other than the metal building framing including: sprinklers, mechanical and electrical systems, ceilings and lighting.


Dead Load

The dead load of a building is the weight of all permanent construction, such as floor, roof, framing, and covering members.


The displacement (or movement) of a structural member or system under load.

Diaphragm Action

The resistance to racking generally offered by the covering system, fasteners and secondary framing.



The line along the sidewall formed by the intersection of the planes of the roof and wall.

Eave Height

The vertical dimension from finished floor to the top of the eave strut.

Eave Strut

A structural member at the eave to support roof panels and wall panels. It may also transmit wind forced from roof bracing to wall bracing.

End Wall

The exterior wall which is parallel to the interior main frame of the building. A typical building will have a LEFT endwall (sometimes abbreviated as LEW) and a RIGHT endwall (sometimes abbreviated as REW)


Fixed Base

A method of bracing where the column base is designed to resist rotation as well as horizontal or vertical movement.


Sometimes also referred to as a pier, usually of concrete, located under a column, wall, or other structural member, that is used to distribute the loads from that member into the supporting soil.

Framed Opening

A combination of headers and jambs which surround an opening in the wall of a building, usually for installation of accessories such as: windows, doors, louvers, etc. Framed openings may or may not include full cover trim which hides the underlying headers and jambs and makes the framed opening more aesthetically pleasing.


The primary and secondary structural members (columns, rafters, girts, purlins, brace rods, etc.) which go together to make up the skeleton of a structure to which the covering can be applied.



A triangular portion of the endwall of a building directly under the sloping roof and above the eave line.


A secondary horizontal structural member attached to sidewall or endwall columns to which wall covering is attached.



The bottom of the point at which a column and rafter connect. This point usually represents the lowest point of clearance in a building.


A horizontal framing structural member over a door, window or other framed opening.



Any material used to reduce heat transfer with white vinyl-backed fiberglass insulation being the most common material used in steel buildings.



A unit of measure equal to 1,000 pounds. (4.4 KN)



A structure having only one slope or pitch and relies on another structure for partial support.


The dimension of the building measured perpendicular to the main framing from end wall to end wall.

Live Load

Live load means all loads, including snow, exerted on a roof except dead, wind and collateral loads.


An opening provided with fixed or movable, slanted fins to allow the flow of air. Louvers may be painted or Gavlavume.


Main Frame

An assemblage of rafters and columns that support the secondary framing members and transfer loads directly to the foundation.

Monolithic Pour

A method of pouring concrete piers, grade beam, and floor slab at the same time to form the building foundation.



The highest point of a gable.


A concrete structure designed to transfer vertical load from the base of a column to the footing.

Portal Frame

A rigid frame so designed that if offers rigidity and stability in its plane. It is generally used to resist longitudinal loads where other bracing methods (IE: cable or rod bracing) can not be used.


A horizontal structural member which supports roof covering, similar to the way in which a girt supports wall covering.



The main beam supporting the roof system.

Rake Trim

A flashing designed to close the opening between the roof and endwall panels.

Rigid Frame

A structural frame consisting of members joined together with moment connections so as to render the frame stable with respect to the design loads, without the need for bracing in its plane.

Rollup Door

A door that opens by traveling vertically and stored above itself in a roll or coil when up. Standard commercial rollup doors used in metal buildings require about 2' of space above the framed opening to allow for the storage of the door when it is up.

Roof Live Load

Loads that are produced (1) during maintenance by workers, equipment, and materials, and (2) during the life of the structure by movable objects and do not include wind, snow, seismic or dead loads.

Roof Pitch

The tangent of the angle that a roof surface makes with the horizontal, usually expressed in units of vertical rise to 12 units of horizontal run. A 30' wide building with a 1:12 roof pitch would be 15" higher at the peak than at the eave, calculated as follows: (30 ÷ 2) × 1" = 15"

Roof Snow Load

That load induced by the weight of snow on the roof of the structure. Usually obtained by taking a fraction of the "Ground Snow Load".


Secondary Framing

Members which carry loads from the building surface to the main framingthese generally include purlins and girts.

Sectional Overhead Doors

Doors constructed in horizontally hinged sections that roll along a rail/track into an overhead position. These kids of doors are most often used in residential settings.

Seismic Load

The lateral load acting in any horizontal direction on a structural system due to the action of an earthquake.


An exterior wall which is perpendicular to the frames of a building system and would generally include a front side wall (sometimes abbreviated as FSW) and back side wall (sometimes abbreviated as BSW)

Sill Height

The distance from the finished floor to the bottom horizontal framing member of a framed opening.

Single Slope

A sloping roof in one direction. The slope is from one wall to the opposite wall.


A material which covers the underside of an overhang.

Stitch Screw

A fastener connecting panels together at the sidelap.


Translucent Light Panels

Panels used to admit light and can be either insulated or non-insulated. Panels are translucent (not clear) and do require regular maintenance/cleaning to maintain their effectiveness.


The light gauge metal used in the finish of a building, especially around openings and at intersections of surfaces. Often referred to as flashing.



Wind load on a building which causes a load in the upward direction.



The dimension of the building measured parallel to the main framing from sidewall to sidewall.

Wind Column

A vertical member designed to withstand horizontal wind loads.

Wind Load

The load caused by the wind from any horizontal direction.



Bracing system (usually cable or rod) arranged diagonally in both directions to form an "X". X-bracing is the most common and cost-effective method of bracing in a steel building.