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30 September 2023

The Significance of Various Steel Shapes and Sizes in Steel Fabrication

In steel fabrication, there’s a lot of abbreviations that you might see without knowing what they mean. Here at MAH Steel we’d love to help and clear this up. So, let’s start!

UC – Universal Column

Universal columns are C-shaped steel sections that are not typically used as beams. We often use universal columns for structural support in commercial construction, such as supporting floor joists, supporting the rungs of ladders and stairs, etc.

UB – Universal Beam

A universal steel beam is a beam of the same cross-section along its length. In other words, the steel beam has the same dimensions from end to end. The height of the I‑beam is greater than or equal to its width at any point along its length, whereas a universal column has an equal or greater width than height.

PFC – Parallel Flange Channel

Parallel flange channels are suitable for use in structural steel applications or engineering, boasting properties such as increased strength and durability. Typically used as columns or as support for floor joists, they’re an essential load bearing profile. Parallel flange channels are general-purpose hot-rolled structural steel channels. They mostly have use in various structural and load-bearing applications, such as floor beams, portal frames, columns, and trailer frames.

SHS – Square Hollow Section

Square hollow sections act as kind of a “middle of the road” choice amongst Rectangular Hollow Sections and Circular Hollow Sections in terms of functionality and attributes. SHS has a flat surface, similarly to RHS, encompassing the entire outer rim.

RHS – Rectangular Hollow Section

Rectangular hollow sections, or rec tubes are cold-formed and welded from either hot rolled, cold rolled, pre-galvanised or stainless steel. In order to form the rectangular steel section the appropriate mother tube, a round steel tube has to be formed first.

CHS – Circular Hollow Section

Circular hollow sections are also known as round steel tubes, which is one of the common type of steel section that is used in a variety of formats over various industries. The steel sections are rolled from slit coil or steel sheet. We also supply various circular hollow section steel grades.

RSA – Rolled Steel Angle

Hot rolled equal angles, commonly referred to as RSA (Rolled Steel Angle) or angle iron is a versatile low cost, low carbon product suitable for a wide variety of applications. Angles are rolled to 90° with a fillet radius or root radius to reduce stress concentration at the corner.

RSJ Steel Beams – Rolled Steel Joist

Older terminology, similar to universal beams and universal columns. They used to be RSJ or RSJ beams, now they’re either UC or UB.

Flat Bar

Flat bars are a flat (the clue is in the name), rectangular sheet steel section with square edges varying in sizes. This cost-effective steel product is suitable for a wide variety of applications and is very common in the construction, engineering, manufacturing, mining, grating, fabrication and many other industries.



Now that we know what’s what, let’s move to the most important part of why we wrote this post. Different steel shapes and sizes are fundamental components of steel fabrication, and they play an integral role in the construction of buildings, bridges, and various steel structures. Their widespread use in the industry is attributed to the multitude of advantages and versatility they offer. Let’s explore why various steel shapes and sizes are of paramount importance in steel fabrication.

Strength and Durability

Various steel shapes and sizes are famous for their outstanding strength and durability. Crafted from high-quality carbon steel, depending on the steel finishes they exhibit resistance to corrosion and deformation. This ensures their ability to withstand substantial loads and adverse environmental conditions. Also, it makes them indispensable for construction projects requiring support for substantial weights, including multi-story buildings, factories, residential buildings and warehouses.


As listed above, the availability of diverse steel shapes, sizes, and thicknesses makes them incredibly versatile. They’re easy to customise to suit an array of applications, both horizontally and vertically. This adaptability renders them suitable for an extensive range of projects, from straightforward residential constructions to intricate commercial and industrial developments.


The utilisation of various steel shapes and sizes is a cost-effective alternative compared to materials like concrete or wood. It’s easy to efficiently manufacture and transport them, reducing construction time and costs. Moreover, their minimal maintenance requirements further decrease long-term expenses related to upkeep and repairs.

Easy Installation

These steel shapes and sizes are easy to install. This necessitates minimal labour and equipment. Steel fabricators can swiftly boil or weld them into place, streamlining the construction process while mitigating the risk of errors or accidents. This efficiency assists contractors and builders in conserving time and resources, ultimately expediting project completion.

Design Flexibility

The diverse range of steel shapes and sizes offers remarkable design flexibility. Structural steel fabricators can curve them, taper them, or camber to accommodate unique architectural requirements. This feature empowers engineers and architects to push the boundaries of creativity, designing steel tructures that are not only aesthetically pleasing but also structurally robust.

Resistance to Natural Disasters

Steel shapes and sizes exhibit excellent resistance to natural disasters like earthquakes, hurricanes, and tornadoes. Their rigidity and strength enable them to endure extreme forces, safeguarding people and property during severe weather events. Buildings constructed with these steel elements are more likely to remain standing and unscathed in the face of adverse environmental conditions.

Environmental Benefits

These steel components are environmentally friendly, often made from recycled materials and fully recyclable at the end of their service life. This reduces waste and minimises the burden on landfills, contributing to sustainable development practices.


Steel shapes and sizes enhance safety on construction sites by providing a secure working platform for labourers. They bear heavy loads and decrease the risk of collapse or injury. Additionally, steel fabricators can equip them with safety features like handrails and guardrails to prevent falls and enhance worker protection.

Quick Delivery

Various steel shapes and sizes are readily available and can be promptly delivered to construction sites. This accelerates project timelines, allowing developers to meet tight deadlines and capitalise on market opportunities more efficiently.

Wide Range of Applications

These steel elements find application in diverse industries, encompassing construction, mining, civil engineering, and transportation infrastructure. Besides, they have use in a broad spectrum of projects, ranging from small-scale renovations to large-scale industrial facilities, bridges, and high-rise buildings.

In summary, the multifaceted advantages of various steel shapes and sizes render them an essential component in modern construction practices, driving innovative designs and efficient building processes. Here at MAH Steel, we are experts in crafting steel into the various construction requirements, at low cost, at high speed with amazing customer service.

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