The Components and Pieces of Steel Structures

steel-building-advantagesDifferent construction projects call for a variety of different steel shapes and pieces. Each steel piece is used for a specific reason, such as structural support for exterior walls, and serves a specific purpose. The shape of the steel piece often indicates its intended use.

Steel Buildings

Commonly used for commercial, industrial and residential storage, steel buildings are large structures that are constructed almost entirely out of steel. Steel buildings are popular due to their durability, affordability and customizability. These structures can be built from scratch or purchased premade, depending on your personal preference and design needs.

Reinforced Bars

Also referred to as rebar, reinforced bars are rods that are made out of strong steel. Reinforced bars are used to add flexibility and strength to concrete structures. These rod-shaped steel pieces are inserted directly into the concrete during construction to increase the durability of the building through reinforcement. Without reinforced steel bars, concrete buildings would not withstand natural elements like wind.


Steel trusses are essential in the construction of safe bridges and towers. The steel trusses are shaped like triangles, which are inherently strong and flexible. They distribute weight evenly and effectively when placed on the structure. Vertical truss panels are a network of steel trusses that are used in the majority of modern bridge and deck designs to prevent continual weight and wind pressure from deforming the structure. Steel trusses are also used as cross-bracing supports in tall buildings and towers.

Steel Beams

Steel beams are used as the inner support for many buildings, much like the way the skeletal system provides support for the human body. Floors and ceilings are commonly constructed over steel beams, which provide strength to the structure. There are several kinds of steel beams; the primary distinguishing feature of each is the flange portion of the piece. Flanges are the upper and lower parts of the beam where the steel extends over the central support. For example, an I-beam has shorter flanges than the wide-flanged variety of steel beams.


Similar to beams and trusses, joists are pieces of steel that are used to provide strength and durability to a building. Joists are laid across girders in even rows with either anchors or hangers. A groove in each joist allows anything that is placed on top to sit flush against the surface. This feature allows for the creation of a floor or ceiling that is level.

The commonality between every shape and piece of steel material is that each adds strength and durability to a structure.

Jim has worked in the steel manufacturing industry for nearly two decades. His currently works for a company that produces components for metal buildings.


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