What is structural steel?

Structural steel is a type of steel that’s been specially fabricated for use on structural elements of a building or for other structures such as towers, pipelines, bridges, and ships. Structural steel is a carefully regulated industry and has to meet many standards to ensure the safety and stability of each and every structure.

In Australia, structural steel is mostly used in the construction industry in the form of structural beams. They lend structural support to buildings with the vertical section (or web) of the beam providing resistance from tearing apart, breaking, or collapsing while the flange resists any bending of the section.

Common Steel Beams

  • Universal Beams or UB’s –  Also referred to as I-beams, they’re so-called because an I-beam looks like a capital “I” when standing upright. They’re commonly used in the construction industry and in civil engineering.
  • Welded Beams – These are made up of 3 separate plates of steel which are welded together, and consist of a top flange, web, and a bottom flange. When being fabricated, the flange and web dimensions are carefully matched to load requirements along the length of the beam. These are used in construction and for industrial applications like cranes.
  • Tapered Flange Beams – traditionally called RSJ’s or Rolled Steel Joists and only available in sizes 100 and 125 and are not typically used for structural purposes
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