Glossary of Metal Building Terminology

Published December 18, 2017 by Whirlwind Team

steel building language 

Today, we seek to broaden your horizons with some words in a new language. The steel building language sounds to most ears just like English but can cause confusion amongst the uninitiated.

We want you to be comfortable when planning your metal building project, so here is a glossary of commonly used terms in the metal building industry to help you get your project on track. This is not an exhaustive or all-inclusive list. If you run across a term that isn’t here, don't hesitate to ask your metal building manufacturer, general contractor, or the kid next door who is obsessed with all things steel.

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STEEL Building TermS


ANCHOR BOLTS
Bolts or rods used to fasten members to a foundation or other support
ANCHOR BOLT PLAN
A drawing that shows the diameter, location, and projection of all anchor bolts for the members of a metal building system.
APPROVAL DRAWINGS
Set of drawings including the framing plans, elevations, and sections through the building created for the approval of the builder.
ARCHITECTURAL DRAWINGS
Set of drawings showing the general appearance of a structure and all accessory locations.
ASD
Allowable Stress Design
BASE ANGLE
An angle attached to the wall or foundation used to attach the bottom of the wall paneling.
BASE PLATE
A plate attached to the bottom of a column resting on a foundation or other support. The plate is typically secured by anchor bolts.
BAY
Space between the primary or main frames and measured on the horizontal distance.
metal building glossary

BEAM
The horizontal primary framing member subjected to bending loads. Beams come as simple, continuous, and cantilever.
BEAM AND COLUMN
A steel structural system made up of a series of rafter beams supported by columns.
BRACING
Cables, rods, and angles used in the plane of the roof and walls to transfer loads (wind, seismic, and crane thrust) to the foundation.
BUTT PLATE (Oh, stop it)
The end plate of a structural member used to rest against another plate or member in forming a connection. Also called a splice plate or bolted end plate.
CLADDING
Exterior metal roof and wall panels of a steel building system.
CLEAR SPAN
A building with no internal supports.
COLUMN
A vertical primary member that transfers loads from the primary roof beams, trusses, or rafters to the foundation.
DEAD LOADS
The weight of all permanent construction including the floor, roofing, framing, and covering members.
DECK
Flat structural material fastened to the roof frame members to act as a substrate for non-structural roof panels.
DESIGN LOADS
Loads specified in building codes or owner’s specifications to be used in a specific steel building.
EAVE
The line along the sidewall intersection formed by the planes of the roof and wall.
EAVE HEIGHT
The measurement from the finished floor to the top of the eave strut.

ENDWALL
The exterior wall parallel to the primary frame of the building.
ENVELOPE
The physical separation of the interior and exterior of a building.
ERECTOR
The person or group who assembles (erects) a metal building system.
FASCIA
A decorative trim or panel projecting from the face of a wall.
steel building definitions

FASTENER
The clips or screws used to attach panels to each other and the framing members.
FLANGE AND FLANGE BRACE
A flange is the projecting edge of a structural member such as the top and bottom projections of an I-beam. A flange brace provides lateral support to the flange.
FLASHING
Metal used to cover the juncture of two planes of material.
FLOATING CLIP
A hold-down clip used in a standing seam metal roof system. It allows the roof panel to move horizontally along the roof substructure independently. Also called a sliding clip or slip clip.
FRAMED OPENING
The framing members and flashing that form the opening in a wall.
GALVALUME(R)
Trade name for an aluminum-zinc alloy coating for sheet steel for corrosion protection.
GIRT
A horizontal structural member attached to a sidewall or endwall column to support panels.
JOIST
A light beam used to support a floor or roof.
LIVE LOAD
Loads produced during maintenance by a worker, equipment, and materials or during the life of the building by movable objects not including wind, snow, seismic, or dead loads.
METAL BUILDING SYSTEM
An integrated set of mutually dependent members and assemblies to form a building. It includes primary and secondary framing member, panels, and accessories which are manufactured to allow inspection on site before the structure is assembled (erected).
MOMENT CONNECTION
A connection designed to transfer rotation (moment) forces as well as shear and axial forces between connecting members.
steel buiding language

PRIMARY FRAMING
The assembly of beams and columns to support secondary framing members and transfer loads directly to the foundation.
PURLIN
A horizontal secondary framing member that supports the roof panels and carries loads back to the primary framing members.
RAKE
The intersection of the plane of the roof and the plane of the end wall.
RAKE ANGLE
An angle fastened to the rake purlins to attach the endwall panels.
RIDGE
A horizontal line formed by the opposing sloped sides of a roof that runs parallel to the length of the building.
RIDGE
The transition of the roof materials along the roof ridge. Also called a ridge roll or ridge flashing.
RIGID FRAME
A structural frame created from framing members joined with moment connections, so the frame is stable with respect to design loads. It does not require bracing in its plane for stability.
ROOF SLOPE OR PITCH
The tangent of the angle created by the roof surface and the horizontal plane. Slope (pitch) is expressed in units of vertical rise per 12 units of horizontal run (example: 4:12).
SEALANT
Any material used to seal cracks, joints, laps, or small openings. Includes caulk and mastic.
SECONDARY FRAMING
Members carrying loads from the building surface to the primary framing members. Examples of secondary framing are purlins and girts.
SELF-TAPPING SCREW
A fastener that taps (creates) its own threads within a predrilled hole.
SOFFIT
The material covering the underside of an overhang. It may have a vent embedded in it for air circulation and drainage.


SPAN
The distance between two supports.
STANDING SEAM ROOF SYSTEM
A roof system created with side laps between the roof panels that are arranged in a vertical position above the roofline. The panels are secured to the roof substructure by concealed hold-down clips attached with screws to the substructure, although through fasteners may be used they are in locations concealed from weather or outside of the building envelope. The most watertight roofing system for a metal building.
THERMAL RESISTANCE (R-VALUE)
The mean temperature difference between two defined surfaces of material inducing the unit heat flow through the unit area. It is a reciprocal of thermal conductance. Expressed as R-Value. The higher the R-Value, the higher the resistance.
TRIM
Light gauge metal used to finish a building, especially around framed openings and the intersections of surfaces.
TRUSS
Structure made up of three or more members in which each member is designed to carry a tension or compression force. The structure then acts as a beam.
UNDERLAYMENT
A secondary waterproofing material installed between the roof substrate and roof panels.
WIND LOAD
Load from the wind blowing from any horizontal direction.

Now you can understand the consultant at the steel building manufacturer. There will not be a quiz.

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