Steel structure design has evolved to provide more versatility and beauty for designers, architects, and more. No matter your building plans, structural steel can provide ideal strength and stability without compromising on style or structure weight. It’s essential to find the right components for your steel structure, which is where our company can help.

Sanilac Steel of Marlette is here to serve as your trusted steel fabricators across Michigan. For more than 50 years, our pros have delivered optimal outcomes relying on honesty and integrity to establish a safe result for your project. From the design phase to fabrication, steel erection, and beyond, we’re ready to get to work.

Today, we’ll highlight the three types of components used to build modern steel structures. If you’re ready to get started with a project quote or have questions, feel free to contact us online!

Primary Framing

Often referred to as the backbone or skeleton of a building, the primary framing is responsible for supporting the weight of the entire structure in addition to other stressors borne from high winds, seismic events, or other moments of movement. Your structural steel manufacturers and fabricators should be able to provide a range of primary framing options, including traditional methods and customized structures:

  • Rigid frames — Often referred to as moment-resisting frames, this style relies on tapered columns and quality welds to provide open space without the need for interior columns.
  • Beam and columns — Buildings requiring columns can rely on multi-span frames comprised of vertical columns and horizontal beams. This type of framing is ideal for buildings in need of large, open spaces, and can utilize modular, tapered, or straight columns to suit your needs.
  • Lean-to — Regarded as an efficient and cost-effective method for expanding on an existing building, lean-tos can widen a structure with a single slope system. This framework benefits from minimal horizontal reinforcements, saving on time and costs.
  • Single slope — Buildings rely on one roof surface to provide a single side of drainage. Tapered columns can be utilized for wider buildings while straight columns maximize the height and interior space.

The method of framework deployed and styles of steel components will depend on your building’s structural and aesthetic demands. Keep in mind that your primary framing can come in many other forms not mentioned here, and be sure to contact us if you have any questions!

Secondary Framing

Once the backbone of your framing has been determined, the next step in structural steel design is to plan your secondary framing. This second level of framework refers to the components used in securing wall panels, doors, windows, and other openings. While a range of products are available for this work, most buildings will rely on:

  • Cold-formed steel — Our steel fabricators cold-roll all components with high-quality steel, delivering superior durability and strength that conforms to ASTM standards.
  • Girts and purlins — Girts tend to be Z-shaped, providing support for wall panels while increasing the strength and stability of the primary framing. Purlins serve the same purpose, but are utilized in roof applications.
  • Eave struts — This structural steel component is formed into a C shape, supporting the roof and walls where they meet and serving as the starting point for girts and purlins.


The primary and secondary framing components needed to complete your structure will be manufactured in a steel fabrication facility to ensure the highest levels of quality and consistency. Once these pieces arrive on your site, it is time to assemble them with the approved fasteners:

  • Bolts (anchor bolts, U-bolts, and so on)
  • Construction screws
  • Inserts
  • Weld studs
  • Threaded studs

No matter the size or complexity of your building, utilizing the right fasteners for the job can deliver ideal results that are as stable and cost-effective as possible.
Need Assistance?

Steel structure design relies on complex combinations of primary framing, secondary framing, and fasteners to deliver the strongest and most effective building possible. If you’re in need of structural steel fabrication, our Michigan company is here to provide precise results and comprehensive support.

Sanilac Steel is here to get your job done in the most effective manner, relying on the safest techniques to provide complete peace of mind for your build. Contact us today to learn more, and be sure to request your project quote!