Using Structural Steel In Residential Construction Projects

Posted on: 30 November 2022

When you are building a house that uses a large open-concept floor plan, finding a way to support the roof or upper floors of the home is critical. Often, steel beam installation can offer the structural support needed, but putting the beams in place requires some knowledge and equipment to handle the task.

Steel Support Beams

Steel beams offer strength and rigidity over long spans without additional columns or supports that can break up the open space. Architects and builders use steel beam installation in many different ways, so determining the size of the beam, the span it can carry, and how to best install them is critical. 

The weight of the steel beam requires a solid support structure to be used on the ends, and if the area is large enough, several beams may be necessary to carry the load and keep it within the limits of the steel to ensure the house is safe. Anytime steel beams are used in a building, an engineer or architect will need to calculate the precise load on them and then work with the contractor doing the steel beam installation to ensure that the work is correct. 

There are still limitations to the weight and span the beam can cover, but when the calculations are complete, the correct beams and columns will create a rigid structure that will stand for years. 

Positioning Materials

When steel beam installation is necessary, most builders will use a crane service to lift the beam and set it in place. The steel beam must be positioned correctly for it to do the job required. Large steel beams are too heavy to lift manually and often are too high in the structure to reach from the ground. 

Some planning is required to ensure the crane and beam are onsite and ready to install at the right time. Since the cost of the crane rental can be significant, the contractor may try and time the steel beam installation with delivery so the crane can lift the beam from the truck and put it in place in one move. Sometimes the engineer or architect working on the project will want to be there when the steel beams installation happens, adding another level of coordination to deal with. 

Once the crane operator positions the beam, they will hold it in place while the contractor and crew secure it. If you have several beams to install, the process can take some time, but with a crane already on the site, things can move quickly and make the installation easier.  


What's In a Contract?

Those who build things and repair things for a living are often referred to as contractors. This may seem like an odd term, but it traces back to the fact that these folks work on a contract-by-contract basis. First, they may work under a contract associated with your home. Then, they may take on another client under a new contract. Plumbers, HVAC repair teams, builders, painters — they are all contractors in some way. Construction workers are also contractors. We encourage you to read and learn more about their professions and what they involve here on this blog, where we'll post often.

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