In the world of construction, understanding steel column types is crucial for ensuring durability, flexibility, and strength in building structures. As experts in the industry, we recognise that steel columns are fundamental in supporting immense loads by transferring them from beams, ceilings, and slabs directly to the floors or foundations beneath. With a range of shapes, steel columns offer unparalleled design flexibility while their high strength-to-weight ratio facilitates the construction of taller, more slender buildings.

At UK Steel Stock, we are committed to providing the best solutions, delivering high-quality steel products throughout the UK from our single site in North Yorkshire. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the various types of steel columns, exploring their unique attributes and applications in modern construction.



H-Beam Steel Columns

In our extensive experience as a leading Beam & Column Steel Stockholder, we’ve found that H-Beam Steel Columns, also known as H beams or universal columns, are indispensable in the construction industry. Characterised by their distinctive ‘H’ shaped cross-section, these beams offer a blend of robustness and efficiency that is unmatched.

Here’s a closer look at the characteristics that make H-Beam Steel Columns a preferred choice:


Structural Integrity & Design Flexibility:

The flanges of H-Beams are wider than those of I beams, paired with a thicker central web. This design not only contributes to their higher weight-to-strength ratio but also provides strong bending resistance, which is crucial for the structural integrity of large-scale constructions.

Their ability to span up to 100 metres makes them suitable for a wide range of applications, from large trailers and bridges to the frameworks of towering buildings. This versatility is complemented by their simple construction and the potential for cost savings, attributed to their light structural weight that does not compromise on strength.


Material and Manufacturing:

Made from rolled steel, H-Beams ensure uniformity in the thickness of webs and flanges. This uniformity is critical in applications requiring tensile strength and durability, such as vertical supports in high-rise buildings.

They can be manufactured using various methods, including hot rolling and cold forming, allowing for a range of shapes and sizes. This adaptability ensures that specific project requirements are met, whether the need is for a few metres or spans over 30 metres in length.


Applications and Availability:

Beyond their structural applications in construction projects, H-Beams find utility in residential buildings, agricultural structures, warehouses, and garages. Their excellent tensile strength and durability make them a go-to option for vertical supports across a diverse array of building types.


Box Columns

Box Steel Columns are also recognised as Hollow Structural Sections (HSS). These steel columns, distinguished by their hollow cross-section, are pivotal in modern construction for their blend of strength, flexibility, and environmental sustainability.

Here’s an in-depth look at their characteristics and applications:

Variety and Advantages:

  • Shapes Available: Square Box Sections (SHS), (RHS), and Circular Hollow Sections (CHS).
  • Unique Strengths: Each shape brings its own advantages to the table. For instance, CHS are exceptionally lightweight due to their efficient circumference to diameter ratio, making them ideal for projects where weight minimisation is crucial.
  • Design and Application Flexibility: Thanks to their ease of fabrication (cutting, welding, drilling, and shot-blasting) off-site, these columns facilitate rapid assembly on-site, even in confined spaces. This versatility makes them suitable for a variety of applications, including welded steel frames, support beams, scaffolding, and more.


Durability and Sustainability:

  • Weather Resistance: Their resilience against harsh weather conditions ensures long-term structural integrity.
  • Eco-friendly: Utilising less steel than solid bars or rods, Box Steel Columns are not only cost-effective but also reduce environmental impact. Coupled with their high strength-to-weight ratio and efficient load-bearing capacity, they offer an eco-conscious choice for construction projects.


Technical Specifications and Considerations:

  • Uniform Strength: The web and flanges, typically of the same material and thickness, provide uniform strength across all axes, crucial for multi-directional load-bearing.
  • Maintenance: The internal hollow space can collect water or debris, necessitating protective measures to prevent corrosion.
  • Customisation: Available in various sizes, with thickness ranging from 3.0mm to 10.0mm, and mass per metre varying significantly, allowing for tailored solutions based on project requirements.


Circular Columns

Circular Hollow Sections (CHS) are integral to modern construction due to their unique properties and applications.

Here, we delve into the advantages and applications of these circular columns, highlighting why they are a preferred choice for our clients in building, trade, and commercial construction.


Advantages of Circular Steel Columns (CHS):

  • Aesthetic Appeal: CHS columns are renowned for their sleek, smooth finishes and consistent appearance, devoid of overhanging edges. This makes them an ideal choice for architectural purposes where aesthetics play a crucial role.
  • Strength and Stability: Due to their geometry, CHS tubes can resist significant amounts of torsion, making them a strong substitute for other steel profiles. Their uniform position about the polar axis contributes to their strength and stability, making them well-suited for structural applications in environments exposed to high wind or water currents.


Advantages of Circular Steel Columns (HSS):

  • High Torsional Resistance and Structural Capacity: HSS shapes outperform open sections like I, C, L, and T shapes in terms of torsional resistance and structural capacity in both directions (X-X and Y-Y), making them highly effective for axial load applications.
  • Versatility and Sustainability: These columns can be used as jackets for concrete columns to increase axial capacity, showcasing their versatility. Additionally, the closed section design of HSS minimises surfaces that collect dust and debris, which is advantageous for maintaining clean facilities. Their high strength-to-weight ratio, coupled with the fact that they are recyclable, aligns with sustainable construction practices.


Composite Columns

Composite columns are structural members made from two or more different materials, typically combining structural steel and reinforced concrete. This combination leverages the tensile strength of steel with the compressive strength of concrete, offering a robust solution for supporting significant weight in various applications such as high-rise buildings, industrial construction, and some residential settings.


Key Features of Composite Columns:

  • Material Synergy: The reinforcing steel provides exceptional tensile strength, while the concrete offers unparalleled compressive strength. This synergy results in a column that can support substantial loads, making it ideal for structures requiring high strength and stability.
  • Design Flexibility: Depending on the project’s requirements, composite columns can be either cast-in-place or precast. This flexibility allows for tailored solutions that meet the specific needs of each construction project.


Advantages of Composite Construction:

  • Efficiency and Sustainability: The reduced self-weight of composite elements leads to a lighter design, decreasing forces on supporting elements and foundations. This not only enhances structural efficiency but also contributes to sustainability by minimising material usage.
  • Robustness and Speed: Composite construction is known for its robustness and does not require tight tolerances, making the construction process quicker and more efficient.


As we conclude our guide, it is our hope that you have gained valuable insights into selecting the optimal steel column types for your specific construction challenges. We understand the critical importance of making informed decisions in construction projects, and our team is poised to offer expert advice and high-quality steel products tailored to your needs.


If you are looking for a reliable steel stockholder to provide you with quality universal beams or columns, get in touch with us today.