What Type of Frame is Right for Your Steel Building?

What you need to know about Clear Span, Multi-span, and Single slope metal building frames.

If you have recently decided to purchase a prefabricated steel building kit for your business or personal use, congratulations! You have made a sound choice. Here at Pacific Building Systems (PBS), our team of engineers are ready to walk you through each step of the process and help you make the right decisions for your building. One of the first critical decisions you will need to make is the type of metal building frame you will use. 

PBS offers three different metal building frame types that can be manufactured in a wide range of dimensions and roof slopes: Clear Span, Multi-span, and Single slope. Each of these frame types has its own set of advantages that we will summarize in this post to help with your decision-making.

Clear Span Steel Building Frames 

Clear Span buildings have no interior columns making this type of frame an ideal choice if your specifications require a large amount of unobstructed floor space. Of the three steel building frames offered by PBS in our collection, Clear Span is the most commonly used because the buildings are self-supporting, versatile, and require no load-bearing walls or support columns. Clear Span frames can be cost-effective for buildings as wide as 200 feet. 

Common uses for Clear Span Buildings: 

Agriculture and Storage Buildings

Airplane Hangars

Equestrian Arenas and Stables

Churches Worship Centers

RV Covers

Multi-span Steel Building Frames 

Multi-span frames are commonly used in extremely wide buildings without interior bearing walls and use interior columns to provide structural support. This type of framing system allows for unlimited building width with strategically placed internal columns for additional support. There are cost saving advantages when using multi-span frames for extremely wide steel buildings. By evenly distributing the load, multi-span frames reduce the cost of both the frame and foundation of the building. They are typically used for warehouses or large industrial buildings but are also popular as churches or office buildings because the columns can be hidden in walls. 

Common uses for Multi-Span Buildings: 

Distribution centers

Manufacturing plants


Commercial Retail Operations

Industrial Parks

Single Slope Steel Building Frames

The primary differentiator of the single-slope frames is each sidewall has a different eave height (the distance from the top of the foundation to the point where the sidewall joins the roof) and the roof slopes down from the highest eave to the other. This type of framing system is the perfect solution when one-way roof drainage and column-free interior floor areas are required. Single-slope frames require less material, and owners often experience lower heating and cooling costs. They are commonly used for low-rise, commercial buildings like shopping centers and office complexes.

Common Uses of Single Slope Buildings

Vehicle or equipment covers

Retail Space or Shopping Centers

Storage Complexes 

Office Buildings

Are you thinking about buying a prefabricated steel building kit? PBS has been a leader in manufacturing standard and custom steel buildings throughout the Pacific Northwest and Canada for over fifty years. Our buildings are computer-designed, which saves you time and money and ensures you get the most up-to-date engineering technology available. PBS offers clear span buildings without interior columns. Single span or multi-span systems can also be erected in a wide range of dimensions and roof slopes. We deliver direct to your site using our own fleet of trucks. Contact us at 503-981-9581.

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