Builders have a range of options when it comes to working with structural steel materials. When it comes to rigid frame construction, you have the choice of building a single-span or multi-span building. Both offer a range of advantages, but ultimately, the benefits of your frame will depend on your building needs.

Sanilac Steel is here to provide turnkey services to deliver an ideal outcome for all of our customers. Our structural steel fabricators deliver ideal results across Michigan, relying on more than 50 years in the industry to maximize the efficiency, accuracy, and safety of all of our services. From the design phase to steel erection and beyond, trust the Sanilac team to assist in creating a positive outcome.

Today, we’ll discuss the essentials of rigid frame construction, as well as the value of single- and multi-span buildings. If you’ve landed here because you’re looking for steel structure design, fabrication services, crane rentals, mobile welding service, or metal fabrication and prototyping, be sure to contact us online today!

Rigid Frame Construction

Often referred to as fixed frame construction, structures that rely on this framework are designed to benefit from rigid connections in order to provide ideal stability and strength. It can help to think of your structure like a table, relying on strong connections between the tabletop and legs for the best results. In structural steel applications, this table will be constructed of columns and beams, with columns creating the vertical legs and beams connecting the entire framework to serve as levels or tabletops.

Many builders rely on rigid frame construction because the process provides large, open spaces in a shorter time frame. The versatility of rigid framework has allowed it to be used in a large variety of structures, including:

  • Sports venues
  • Retail stores
  • Warehouses
  • Skyscrapers or multi-story buildings
  • Store facilities
  • Gymnasiums
  • Aircraft hangars
  • Retail stores

The value of fixed frame buildings comes from the relative cost efficiency in relationship to the strength and stability delivered by modern structures. Architects, builders, and designers can do much with the freedom offered through structural steel, creating unobstructed open spaces for a wide variety of uses. Your building needs will depend on the size and purpose, while balancing the use of columns for support.

Single-Span Frames

As the name reveals, single-span construction relies on a single length of framework from end to end to create a structure. This style is preferred for smaller building applications, especially when open space is critical. Typically ranging from 60 to 120 feet, single-span frames can benefit from eave heights between 12 and 24 feet. Keep in mind that the steeper the slope of your roof is, the less headroom there’ll be around the sides of the building!

Single-span rigid frames are perfectly suited where clear space is a must. Aircraft hangars, for example, rely on single-span frames to allow individuals to safely park and maintain their equipment. Recreational facilities require open spaces for activities such as basketball, swimming, and more. Your design can be personalized to create an advantageous finish that is both rigid and aesthetically pleasing.

Multi-Span Frames

Multi-span rigid frame construction is best suited for buildings exceeding the practicality of single-span frames, namely structures stretcher more than 120 feet in width. Also referred to as a post-and-beam frame, a multi-span frame relies on columns to create multiple segments or spans of framework. These columns are designed for axial loads, supporting the beams above. This design method is best suited for large buildings such as warehouses, sports stadiums, and so on. It is essential to focus on precision for post-and-beam structures, as well as preparation. Multi-span frames can begin to move or shift as the ground beneath settles, so be sure you focus on the integrity of your soils before you begin pouring footings!

Multi-span frame construction does not allow for design versatility once the building is complete, so be sure your team is set on the blueprints before moving forward. If you’re unsure whether or not your building is ready to build, feel free to reach out to our steel structure design pros for assistance!

Which Span Do You Need?

The choice to go with a single- or multi-span frame will depend largely on the size of your structure. It can help to ask the following questions:

  1. How wide is your building?
  2. How tall is your eave height?
  3. How much clear space is needed inside?

Single-span buildings can prove versatile for a wide range of applications, but keep in mind that your returns will diminish if the structure is stretched beyond the recommended 120 feet. Do you need a larger building? Multi-spans can rely on columns placed in strategic locations to meet strength demands while creating beneficial space for your commercial needs. Office buildings, for example, can rely on columns that are hidden or utilized to enhance the aesthetics of the space.

Get Started Today!

Since 1967, Sanilac Steel has specialized in structural steel fabrication and erection services across Michigan, relying on our trained teams to create the safest and most beneficial outcomes possible. From structural steel design to crane rentals, mobile welding, and more, our company is proud to deliver all of the services needed to help complete your project on time and on budget.

If you’re looking for a steel fabrication company for your next project, feel free to contact us online to get started. We can provide you with a free estimate, as well as information about all of our services!