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The Components and Structural System of Pre-Engineered Steel Framing

Pre-engineered metal buildings systems are a type of building enclosure that includes a structural system, often including roof and wall cladding. The structural system is made up of rigid frames, which are made from plate steel and then "cold-formed" by a manufacturing process.

These adjustable rooftop equipment frames are composed of roof beams and columns, which are field bolted together. Pre-engineered metal buildings are advantageous as they allow for large, column-free enclosures to be created.

Alternative structural framing options, like mill steel or light gauge metal, require more steel and are thus more costly to construct.  Pre-engineered metal buildings are best suited for industrial applications, such as complex industrial facilities, warehouses, and distribution centers. It can also be used in shopping centers, motels, and auto dealerships.


Primary Frame

The primary frame of pre-engineered steel buildings is a portal frame construction that consists of primary and secondary framing and bracing system. Stable steel buildings are made from a combination of these elements and weather-covering sheeting.

Secondary structural frames

Secondary framing is mostly purlin and girt with Z or C shapes. Secondary framing is used in pre-engineered buildings to increase strength and reduce weight. Purlins/girt members transfer forces and moments between frames to ensure stability. They also serve as a framing system for weather-covering sheeting.

Roof and Wall Panels

Tin shades and curtain walls made from glass and roll-formed steel sheets are usually included in this category. The X-bracing system can be used to alter the direction of forces in order to reduce the impact of coercion. For x-bracing purposes, rods, pipes, and angles are usually used.

Types of Pre-Engineered Metal Buildings and Components

Pre-engineered buildings offer a wide range of benefits and functions. Whether you are looking to use a metal building for warehouse, retail, industrial, agricultural, or institutional purposes, knowing the different types of pre-engineered metal buildings can help ensure you are getting the product most suited to your needs.

You can check out various pre-engineered structural steel framing components on They design pre-engineered buildings that are optimized for any purpose by using a variety of metal framing systems.

Pre-Engineered Metal Building Frame Systems

Although there are similarities between the many components of different types of metal buildings, the frame systems are often unique. Each pre-engineered frame system is designed to suit a different purpose. Some of the common types of metal building frames include:

RF Systems

RF systems have the steepest roof pitch at 4:12 and have the highest center clearance. These pre-engineered buildings come in widths from 30’ to 120’ and have a wide variety of uses.

LRF and LRFM Systems

Metal buildings with LRF systems can offer excellent clear span space of up to 160’ and, when columns are added, the LRFM system can reach a width of 500’. They have a shallow roof slope of 1:12 and are commonly used in offices, warehouses, and commercial and industrial buildings.

LP2 and LP4 Systems

If a pre-engineered metal building is going to be a shopping center or house palletized storage, an LP2 or LP4 system is ideal. These metal building types can reach up to 500’ in width and provide plenty of clear span floor space by implementing jack beams, bar joists, and straight wall columns. They also offer the lowest roof slopes available.