Building portions that are shop assembled prior to shipment to site are commonly referenced as prefabricated. The smaller steel buildings tend to be prefabricated or simple enough to be constructed by anyone. Prefabrication offers the benefits of being less costly than traditional methods and is more environmentally friendly (since no waste is produced on-site).
The larger steel buildings require skilled construction workers, such as ironworkers, to ensure proper and safe assembly.
There are five main types of structural components that make up a steel frame – tension members, compression members, bending members, combined force members and their connections. Tension members are usually found as web and chord members in trusses and open web steel joists. Ideally tension members carry tensile forces, or pulling forces, only and its end connections are assumed to be pinned. Pin connections prevent any moment(rotation) or shear forces from being applied to the member.
Compression members are also considered as columns, struts, or posts. They are vertical members or web and chord members in trusses and joists that are in compression or being squished. Bending members are also known as beams, girders, joists, spandrels, purlins, lintels, and girts. Each of these members have their own structural application, but typically bending members will carry bending moments and shear forces as primary loads and axial forces and torsion as secondary loads. Combined force members are commonly known as beam-columns and are subjected to bending and axial compression. Connections are what bring the entire building together. They join these members together and must ensure that they function together as one unit.