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Portal Frame Buildings

Portal Frame Buildings

One of the most important decisions in purchasing a pre-engineered steel building is choosing the type of framing.  Which best fits the end-use, size, design, specifications, and budget for your project?

A Tekmetsan steel framed building uses “portal frame” steel framing.

Portal frame buildings are low-rise structures consisting of rafters and columns which are connected to moment-resisting connections for super strength.  As a result, they are constructed bay by bay which make them very fast to erect on site.  They were first developed in the 1960s, and have now become the most common form of construction.  

Portal frame construction is therefore typically seen in warehouses, barns and other places where large, open spaces are required at low cost and a pitched roof is acceptable.

Clear Span Steel Building

The frame of a clear span building is self-supporting and requires no interior columns.  The interior is completely open and unobstructed.

A clear span system provides the maximum amount of usable floor space and maximum floor plan flexibility.

Clear span structures are available up to 30 meters in width on Tekmetsan standard steel structures.
Clear span widths of over 30 meters are also possible with a custom order.
Typically, clear span framing works well wherever manoeuvrability is a factor.
Clear span structures are ideal for:

• Agricultural Buildings
Aircraft and Helicopter Hangars
• Factories and Workshops
• Manufacturing Facilities
• Recreational Facilities and Gymnasiums
• Storage Buildings

As the open-span width increases, the size and weight of the steel framing members must also increase to handle the structural load.

Modular Metal Framing

In modular framing, interior columns evenly distribute the structural load. Therefore, modular steel structures require lighter steel. Less framing weight reduces the cost of not only the steel building framing, but often the foundation as well.
Generally speaking, the wider the building, the greater the savings with a modular frame.
Unless unobstructed floor space is critical to the operation, most steel framed buildings wider than 30 meters use modular span framing. These may include:

• Distribution Centres
• Industrial Facilities
• Manufacturing Plants
• Warehouses

If clear span space is not paramount to your building’s operation, consider getting quotes for both systems for comparison of pricing.


Clear span designs offer the most usable space; modular designs create the most economical steel structures.

Whatever your metal building needs, Tekmetsan’s steel building framing specialists can provide you with expert guidance in choosing the best steel framed building for your specific application.  Our friendly and experienced staff will answer all your questions from building concept to completion