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2 October 2023

What are Portal Frames in Steel Fabrication?

Portal frames are a type of steel framing system used in building construction. They are composed of two horizontal beams, known as the top and bottom chords, and two vertical members, called the side jambs, which connect the top and bottom chords at each end. The result is a rectangular framework that provides support and stability to the structure.

Portal frames are very common in industrial and commercial buildings, such as factories, warehouses, and offices. They are particularly useful in situations where large open spaces are required. This includes production areas, storage facilities, or showrooms.

The advantages of portal frames include:


Portal frames are often more cost-effective than traditional framing systems. They use fewer materials and are quick and efficient to construct.


Steel fabricators can customise portal frames to suit individual building requirements, with adjustable beam spacing and heights available to accommodate various loading conditions and ceiling configurations.


Portal frames are capable of supporting heavy loads and can span long distances. This makes them ideal for large, open-plan spaces.


Steel portal frames are highly durable and resistant to corrosion, ensuring a long lifespan for the structure.


Portal frames can be clad with various materials, such as brickwork, glazing, or metal panels. It offers a range of aesthetic options to complement the surrounding architecture.

Ease of installation

Portal frames are relatively easy to install, with prefabricated components that can be rapidly assembled on site. This reduces construction time and minimises disruption to other trades.


Portal frames are easy to adapt for use in a variety of applications, including mezzanine floors, balconies, and canopies.

Fire resistance

Steel portal frames perform well in fire tests, providing enhanced safety in the event of a blaze.


Steel is a recyclable material, contributing to sustainable construction practices.

Maintenance access

Portal frames allow for easy maintenance access, with sufficient clearance between the beams and columns for workers to move around comfortably.

Overall, portal frames offer numerous benefits for builders, developers, and property owners who prioritise economy, flexibility, strength, durability, aesthetics, ease of installation, versatility, fire resistance, sustainability, and maintenance access. As a popular choice for modern construction projects, portal frames continue to play a vital role in shaping the built environment.

In need of steel portal frames for your bespoke construction project?

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