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Glossary of Terms

With any industry, oftentimes there are a variety of terms that just aren't common in our day to day lives. Fortunately, with our glossary of terms, we make the languages of steel buildings and construction easier to understand. Use the index below to familiarize yourself with all the ins and outs of a steel building system.

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Steel Building products that are not included as part of the basic steel building system are called accessories. Accessories commonly include components such as doors, windows, canopies, cents, and other components.
American Concrete Institute. The organization responsible for developing the recognized building code for design of concrete structures.
An agricultural building is a steel building that is designed for agricultural purposes such as storing equipment,hay, grain, farm animals, and other agricultural items.
American Institute of Steel Construction
American Iron and Steel Institute
Steel is often coated with aluminum to help prevent corrosion.
Anchor bolts are steel bolts that are used to anchor members of a steel building system to a foundation or other support.
An anchor bolt plan is a drawing showing the diameter, location and projection of all anchor bolts for the components of a steel building system. The anchor bolt plan may also show column reactions (magnitude and direction) and maximum base plate dimensions.
American National Standards Institute
Approval documents include plans, design calculations, and other specified information. These documents are submitted by the steel building supplier to the dealer or end user for approval before fabrication of the steel building system. Approval by the dealer or end user affirms that the supplier or manufacturer has correctly interpreted the overall contract requirements for the steel building system, any accessories, and the location of accessories in the building.
A drawing for the purpose of showing the general appearance of the steel building and all accessory locations. An architectural drawing would typically show the plan view and elevations of the finished building.
American Society of Civil Engineering
Allowable Stress Design
A group of mutually dependent and compatible components or subassemblies of steel building components.
A closure between the two leaves of a double swing or double slide door.
A crane system which automatically operates through a preset series of cycles when activated.
A welding operation performed by a machine in order to make a continuous, unbroken weld.
A girder arranged parallel to the main girder for supporting the platform, motor base, operator's cab, control panels, etc., of a crane system. The auxiliary crane girder reduces the forces that otherwise impose on the main crane girder.
Dynamic live loads other than the basic design loads which the building must withstand. Auxiliary loads may include loads such as machinery, cranes, elevators, robots, vehicles, and many others.
The name commonly used when referring to open web steel joists.
An angle secured to a wall or the perimeter of the foundation to support and close the bottom of the wall panels.
A plate that is attached to the base of a column which rests on the foundation or other support. The base plate is usually secured using anchor bolts.
The space between the main frames or primary supporting members in the longitudinal direction of a steel building system.
Basic Building Code
A member, usually horizontal, that is subjected to bending loads. Three types of beams are simple, continuous, and cantilever.
The main structural system made up of a series of rafter beams supported by columns Often used as the end frame of a steel building system.
A steel plate that is set on the top of a masonry support on which a beam or purlin can rest.
A list that outlines each component or assembly to be shipped. Also called tally sheet or shipping list.
Wire mesh used in louvers, ventilators, and other openings to prevent birds from entering the building.
A small headed pin with expandable shank for connecting light gauge metal. Typically it is used to attach flashing, gutters, etc.
Rigid or semi-rigid thermal insulation that is preformed into rectangular units.
Rods, angles or cables used in the roof and walls of the steel building system in order to transfer loads, such as wind, seismic and crane thrusts to the foundation.
A structural support projecting from a wall or column that is used to attach another structural member. Examples include crane runway brackets, canopy brackets, and various other types of brackets.
A load lifting system made up of a hoist, which moves laterally on a beam, girder or bridge which in turn moves longitudinally on a runway made of beams and rails.
Bracing or systems of bracing used between structural members.
British Thermal Unit. The amount of heat necessary to raise the temperature of one pound (2.2 kg) of water by 1 degree F. (0.56 Degree C.).
A roof covering made up of alternating layers of tar and materials made of asphalt.
A structural member made from individual flat plates welded together.
The end plate of a structural member that is typically used to rest against a like plate of another member in forming a connection. A butt plate may also be called a splice plate or bolted end plate.
A steel building member formed using steel sheet in the shape of a block "C".
A crane controlled by an operator in a cab supported on the bridge or trolley.
The Curvature of a structural member for the purpose of offsetting the deflection when loads are applied.
A projecting roof structure that is supported at one end only.
A beam supported only at one end with the other end free to move.
An action causing movement of liquids when in contact with two adjacent surfaces.
A plate located at the top of a column or end of a beam for capping the exposed end of the member.
A member imbedded in the edge of the foundation to which the wall panels are attached.
Filling joints, seams, or voids by filling with a waterproofing compound or material to ensure a weather-tight seal.
A white powder film on the paint finish of steel building panels due to over exposure.
A member that is shaped during a semi-molten state.
The exterior metal roof and wall paneling of a steel building system.
A plate or angle used to fasten two or more members together.
A strip used to close openings created by ribbed panels joining other components.
The process of shaping steel into desired cross sections at room temperature using press brakes or rolling mills.
Loads caused by permanent materials, other than the steel building system, such as sprinklers, mechanical and electrical systems, partitions and ceilings.
A main member used in a vertical position on a steel building for the purpose of transferring loads from main roof beams, trusses, or rafters to the foundation.
A distinct part a steel building system.
A clip used with a wall or roof panel system to connect the panel to the supporting structure without exposing the fasteners on the exterior surface.
The terminology describing the transfer of loads and stresses from member to member of a steel building system, allowing the members to act as a single unit.
A beam having three or more supports.
A general contractor or sub-contractor with the responsibility for providing steel building systems and erection.
The exterior metal roof and wall paneling of a steel building system.
A machine designed to move material by means of a hoist.
The primary horizontal beams of the crane bridge that supports the trolley.
A track supporting and guiding the wheels of a top-running bridge crane or trolley system.
The member that supports a crane rail. The crane runway beam is supported by columns or rafters depending on the type of crane system.
The horizontal distance center-to-center of runway beams.
A device used to limit travel of a trolley or crane bridge.
A separate column used in steel building systems that supports the runway beam of a top-running crane.
A raised edge on a concrete floor slab or in the roof for various accessories.
Perimeter wall panels that carry only their own weight and wind load.
A baffle used to open or close the throat of ventilators. A damper may be motorized or operated manually.
The weight of all permanent construction in a steel building, such as floor, roof, framing, and covering members.
The displacement of a structural member or system under load.
Loads specified in recognized building codes or in owner's specifications to be used in the design of a steel building.
An architect or engineer with the responsibility of specifying the specific design requirements of a steel building system.
The resistance to racking generally offered by the covering system, fasteners, and secondary framing.
An angle or channel used to stabilize or keep plumb a sliding or rolling door during operation.
A conduit used to carry water from the gutter of a building.
A tapered pin used during erection to align holes in steel members to be connected by bolting.
The line along the sidewall created by the intersection of the of the roof and wall planes.
Describes the vertical distance between the floor and the top of the eave strut.
A structural member located at the eave of a steel building that supports roof and wall paneling.
The surface area of a building at the edges of the roof and corners of the walls where the wind loads on components and cladding are greater than at other areas of the building.
The area used to determine the wind coefficient. The effective wind area may be greater than or equal to the tributary area.
A design concept that allows non-permanent shape distortion under a specified range of loading.
The minimum horizontal distance, parallel to the runway, between the outer-most extremities of the crane and the centerline of the hook.
Any bay that is adjacent to the endwalls of a building. Usually the distance from the endwall to the first interior main frame would be described as an end bay.
A frame located at the endwall of a building that absorbs the load from a portion of the end bay.
A device attached to a crane runway or rail to provide a safety stop at the end of a runway.
An exterior wall that is parallel to the interior main frames of the building.
A vertical member located at the endwall of a building that support the girts. In post and beam endwall frames, endwall columns also support the rafter.
The engineer who is responsible for the overall design of the building project. The manufacturer's engineer would not be considered the Engineer of Record.
The assembling of steel building components to form a complete structure.
Temporary bracing used by erectors to stabilize the building system during erection of a steel building system.
Roof and wall erection (framing) drawings that identify individual components and accessories furnished by the manufacturer in sufficient detail to permit proper Erection of the Metal Building System.
A party who assembles or erects a steel building system.
A break or space in construction to allow for thermal expansion and contraction of the materials used in the structure.
A wall framing system where the girts are mounted on the outside of the columns.
The manufacturing process of converting raw material into finished steel building system components.
An architectural treatment, partially covering a wall, usually concealing the eave and/or the rake of the building.
A decorative trim or panel projecting from the face of a wall.
Windows or other panels of glass; their number and location.
The job site or building site on which the steel building will be erected.
A strip used to close openings created by ribbed panels joining other components.
Coil metal that has a corrosion resistant film laminated to it prior to the forming operation.
A column base that is designed to resist rotation as well as horizontal or vertical movement.
A standing seam roof system hold down clip that does not allow the roof panel to move independently of the roof substructure.
The projecting edge of a structural member ( e.g. the top and bottom horizontal projections of an I beam).
A member used to provide lateral support to the flange of a structural member.
The metal used to "trim" or cover the connection of two planes of material with a primary function of ensuring weather-tightness and a secondary function of enhancing the appearance of a steel building system.
A clip used on standing seam roof system that allows the roof panel to move horizontally independently of the roof substructure. Also known as a "Sliding Clip" or "Slip Clip".
Loads acting on the floor system caused by the use and occupancy of the building.
A pad or mat, usually of concrete, located under a column, wall or other structural member, that is used to distribute the loads from that member into the supporting soil.
The substructure, which supports a building or other structure.
Framing members and flashing which surround openings in the walls or roof of a steel building system. Framed openings are usually created in order to install accessories such as doors, windows, and roof exhaust systems.
The primary and secondary structural members that make up the skeleton of the steel building structure.
Drawings and instructions that show individual components in detail and are used as a guide for the erection of a steel building system.
The triangular portion of the endwall from the level of the eave to the ridge of the roof.
A ridged roof system that terminates in gables.
A main horizontal or near horizontal structural member that supports vertical loads.
The process of installing glass in windows and doors.
Glass panes or paneling used in windows and doors.
The term used to describe the ground elevation around a building.
A concrete beam around the perimeter of a building that carries an exterior wall.
The probable weight of snow on the ground for a specified recurrence interval exclusive of drifts or sliding snow.
A mixture of water, sand, and cement that is used to seal cavities and cracks. Also used to level base plates.
A steel plate used to connect structural elements of a steel building system.
A welded 3 piece steel member of a steel building system with an H shaped cross section.
Reinforcing steel used to transfer anchor bolt shear to the concrete floor.
Part of a column or rafter designed to accommodate the higher bending moments at such points.
The framing member positioned at the top of a framed opening.
Bolts that are made from steel having a tensile strength in excess of 100,000 pounds per square inch. Some examples of high strength bolts include; ASTM A-325, A-449, and A-490.
Structural steel having a yield stress in excess of 36,000 pounds per square inch.
Also called a pinned base, a hinged base is a column base that is designed to resist horizontal and vertical movement, but not rotation.
A steel building roof system that is formed by sloping planes from all four sides.
A metal flashing that is used to cover slide door tracks in order to conceal and protect the tracks from weather.
Wheels that roll on the side of the rail to restrict lateral movement of a crane.
Steel sections formed by rolling mills while the steel is in a semi-molten state.
A hot rolled beam with narrow tapered flanges.
A load that is created by the movement of machinery, elevators, crane ways, vehicles, and other similar forces.
A power tool commonly used by erectors to tighten the nuts and bolts when erecting a steel building system.
The assembling of fabricated steel building system components to form a completed structure.
Material used in the walls and roof of a steel building system in order to reduce heat transfer.
A steel beam used to support another beam, rafter or truss and eliminate a column support.
A truss used to support another beam, rafter, or truss and eliminate a column support.
The vertical framing members located at the sides of an opening.
A suspended beam with hoist and trolley. This lifting device is designed to pick up loads in all or part of a circle around the column to which it is attached.
A device used to hold pieces of material into position during fabrication.
An extension attached to the bottom of a downspout to direct water away from the wall of a steel building.
A unit of measure equal to 1,000 pounds.
The connecting area of a column and rafter of a structural frame such as a rigid frame.
A diagonal member at a column and rafter intersection designed to resist horizontal loads.
A structure having only one slope and is supported by leaning upon another structure.
The dimension of the steel building system measured perpendicular to the main framing from outside to outside of endwall girts.
A steel plate that is located on top of a foundation or other support on which a structural column can rest.
A translucent panel used to admit light into a steel building.
A metal panel attached to the inside flange of the girts or inside of a wall panel as an interior finish.
Loads that are produced (1) during maintenance by workers, equipment, and materials, and (2) during the life of the structure by movable objects and do not include wind, snow, seismic, or dead loads. Also see Roof or Floor Live Load.
A washer with dimples, which flatten when the high strength bolt is tightened. The bolt tension can then be determined by the amount of compression on the raised portions of the washer.
The direction parallel to the ridge or sidewall.
A force that is exerted on a structural member of a steel building system.
An opening provided with fixed or movable fins to allow flow of air.
A class of buildings usually less than 60' eave height. A low rise building is usually a single story, but does not exceed 4 stories.
The collection of rafters and columns that support the secondary framing members and transfer loads to the foundation.
The party who designs and fabricates a steel building system.
An engineer that works directly for the manufacturer and is responsible for the structural design of a steel building system. The manufacturer's engineer is not the Engineer of Record.
Anything that is constructed of materials such as bricks, concrete blocks, ceramic blocks, and concrete.
Sealant or caulking that is used to seal roof panel laps.
A complete integrated set of mutually dependent components and assemblies that form a building including primary and secondary framing, covering and accessories.
An intermediate level between floor and ceiling occupying a partial area of the floor space.
The tendency of a force to cause rotation about a point or axis.
A connection designed to transfer moment as well as axial and shear forces between connecting members.
A physical property of a member, which helps define strength and deflection characteristics.
A method of placing concrete grade beam and floor slab together to form the building foundation without forming and placing each separately.
A single rail support for a material handling system or crane.
Steel buildings that have more than one gable across the width of the building.
Steel buildings consisting of more than one span across the width of the building. Multiple gable buildings and single gable buildings with interior columns are examples.
SI unit of measure for force.
A waviness that may occur in flat areas of light gauge formed metal products. Oil canning has no effect on structural integrity of steel and is not a reason for material being rejected for use in a steel building system.
Lightweight truss.
Documents submitted to the steel building manufacturer when placing an order for a steel building system.
Doors constructed in horizontally hinged sections and equipped with springs, tracks, counter balancers, and other hardware, which roll the sections into an overhead position clear of the opening.
The exterior metal roof and wall paneling of a Metal Building System.
A notch or block out formed along the outside edge of the floor slab to provide support for the wall panels and serve as a closure along their bottom edge.
A standing seam panel, which has vertical sides and has no space between the panels at the side laps.
A vertical wall of a building that extends above the roofline.
The highest point of a gable.
A sign attached to the peak of the building at the endwall showing the building manufacturer.
Doors used by personnel for access and exit from a building.
A number given to each separate part of the building for erection identification. Also called mark number and part number.
A concrete used to transfer vertical load from the base of a column to the footing. Steel buildings without a concrete foundation often use piers to mount the columns to the ground.
A sheet metal section designed to direct the flow of water out through the face of the gutter rather than through a downspout.
A reinforced or enlarged portion of a masonry wall to provide support for roof loads or lateral loads on the wall.
A column base that is designed to resist horizontal and vertical movement, but not rotation.
A connection designed to transfer axial and shear forces between connecting members, but not moments.
The tangent of the angle that a roof surface makes with the horizontal, usually expressed in units of vertical rise to 12 units of horizontal run.
A design concept based on multiplying the actual loads by a suitable load factor, and using the yield stress as the maximum stress in any member, and taking into consideration moment redistribution.
The gathering of water at low or irregular areas on a roof or accumulation of water from deflection due to rain loads.
A small headed pin with expandable shank for joining light gauge metal. Typically it is used to attach flashing, gutters, etc.
The measurement of openings in buildings, which allow air to enter during a period of high-wind.
A rigid frame designed to be rigid and stable in its plane. It is generally used to resist longitudinal loads where other bracing methods are not permitted.
A secondary column at the endwall of a steel building used to support the girts.
A structural system consisting of a series of rafter beams supported by columns. Often used as the endwall framing of a building.
A method of pre-stressing reinforced concrete in which tendons are tensioned after the concrete has reached a specific strength.
A method of pre-stressing reinforced concrete in which the tendons are tensioned before the concrete has been placed.
A coil of steel which has received a paint coating.
A machine used in cold-forming metal sheets or strips into desired sections.
Concrete in which internal stresses of such magnitude and distribution are introduced that the tensile stresses resulting from the service loads are counteracted to a desired degree; in reinforced concrete the pre-stress is commonly introduced by tensioning the tendons.
The main structural framing in a steel building consisting of Rigid Frames, and endwall framing.
The initial coat of paint applied to steel building components in order to protect them prior to erection.
A horizontal structural member that supports roof covering and carries loads to the primary framing members.
The projection of the roof beyond the plane of the endwall of a steel building.
In a steel building, a rafter is main beam supporting the roof system.
The horizontal stiffening members of framed and paneled doors.
The intersection of the plane of the steel building system's roof and the plane of the endwall.
Angle fastened to purlins at rake for attachment of endwall panels.
A flashing that closes the opening between the roof and endwall panels.
The resisting forces between the column bases and foundation that keep a steel building structure in balance under a given loading condition.
Steel placed in concrete as required to carry the tension, compression and shear stresses on a steel building system.
A crane controlled electronically by an operator from a remote location.
The placing of new metal roof or wall systems over deteriorated roofs or walls.
The longitudinal raised profile of a panel that provides much of the panel's bending strength.
The horizontal line formed by opposing sloping sides of a roof running parallel with the building length.
A transition of the roofing materials along the ridge of a roof; sometimes called ridge roll or ridge flashing.
A structural frame consisting of members joined together with moment connections so as to render the frame stable with respect to the design loads, without the need for bracing in its plane.
Doors that have wheels on the bottom that run on a track.
Doors that open vertically and are gathered into a roll (or canister) suspended above the floor.
The bottom horizontal framing member of a wall opening such as a window or louver.
Loads on a steel building's roof produced by movable objects other than wind, snow, seismic or dead loads.
A roof extension beyond the endwall or sidewall of a building.
The tangent of the angle that a roof surface makes with the horizontal, usually expressed in units of vertical rise to 12 units of horizontal run.
A bracket extending out form the column of a building frame, which supports the runway beam for top-running cranes.
The main conductors mounted on or parallel to the runway, which supplies electric current to the crane.
A tension member such as rods, straps or angles used in a steel building to limit the deflection of a girt or purlin in the direction of its weak axis.
A panel used as covering consisting of an insulating core material with inner and outer metal skins.
A roof system for steel buildings in which the roof panels are attached directly to the roof substructure with fasteners.
Any material that is used to seal cracks, joints or laps.
Members, such as girts and purlins, that carry loads from the surface to the main framing of a steel building system.
A machine that is used to close and seal the side seams of standing seam roof panels.
Doors constructed in horizontally hinged sections and equipped with springs, tracks, counter balancers, and other hardware, which roll the sections into an overhead position.
The lateral load acting in any direction on a structural system due the action of an earthquake.
A fastener that combines the function of drilling and tapping.
A fastener that taps its own threads in a predrilled hole.
A force causing two contacting parts slide upon each other in opposite directions.
A piece of steel used to level base plates or align columns or beams.
Also called a bill of materials, a shipping list enumerates each piece of material or assembly to be shipped by part number or description.
A fastener used to connect panels together above their length.
The exterior wall that runs perpendicular to the frames of a building system.
The bottom horizontal framing member of a wall opening such as a window or louver.
A steel building roof that slopes from one sidewall to the opposite sidewall.
A building or structural member that does not have intermediate support.
A roof accessory that allows natural light into a steel building.
A single or double leaf door, which opens horizontally by means of sliding on an overhead trolley.
A clip used with standing seam roofs which allows the roof panel to thermally expanded independently of the roof substructure.
The load induced by the weight of snow on the roof of the structure.
Material used to cover the underside of an overhang.
The load per unit area a steel building structure will exert through its foundation on the soil.
The distance between two supports.
A statement of a set of Steel Building System requirements describing the loading conditions, design practices, materials and finishes.
A connection in a structural member.
A tool used by steel building erectors to line up holes and to make up bolted connections; a wrench with a tapered handle.
The term used for an area of 100 square feet.
A steel alloy containing a high percentage of chromium to increase corrosion resistance.
Side joints of roof panels that are arranged in a vertical position above the roofline.
A roof system in which the side laps between the roof panels are arranged in a vertical position above the roofline on a steel building structure. The roof panel system is secured to the roof substructure by means of clips attached with screws to the substructure.
A member used to strengthen a plate against lateral or local buckling.
The vertical side members of framed and paneled doors.
A fastener connecting panels together at the sidelap.
The deformation per unit length measured in the direction of the stress caused by forces acting on a member.
A member fitted into a framework, which resists axial compressive forces.
A vertical wall member to which exterior or interior covering or collateral material may be attached. May be either load bearing or non-load bearing.
A metal building usually used in the aviation industry that has multiple units back to back in the shape of the letter "T". The units may consist of Nested T Hangers, or un-nested T Hangars.
A built up plate member consisting of flanges welded to a variable depth web.
Steel rods or wire mesh placed in concrete to help prevent cracks from thermal expansion or contraction.
The longitudinal pulling stress a material can bear without tearing apart.
A spacer of low thermal conductance material that is installed between the purlin and roof insulation in a steel building, to prevent energy loss.
The horizontal component of a reaction usually at the column base of a steel building system.
A structural member that is loaded in tension.
Panel used to admit natural light into a steel building.
The direction parallel to the main frames of a steel building system.
The area directly supported by the structural member between contiguous supports.
Light gauge metal, also referred to as flashing, used in the finish of a steel building.
A structure consisting of three or more members, with each member designed to carry a tension or compression force. The entire structure in turn acts as a beam.
A method for pre-tensioning high strength bolts.
Wind load on a steel building, which causes a load in the upward direction.
Material used to retard the flow of vapor or moisture to prevent condensation from forming on a surface.
An accessory mounted on the roof which allows the air to pass through.
Wall material, used in the lower portion of a wall, that is different from the material in the rest of the wall.
Doors used by personnel for access and exit from a building.
The steel building's exterior wall surface consisting of panels.
The portion of a structural member between the flanges.
The dimension of the steel building system measured parallel to the main framing from outside to outside of sidewall girts.
A vertical member designed to withstand horizontal wind loads, usually in the endwall.
The load caused by the wind blowing from any horizontal direction.
A steel building system member cold formed from steel sheet in the approximate shape of a "Z".
Steel coated with an alloy of zinc and aluminum to prevent corrosion.

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