When it comes to serious structural steel support and high load-bearing building construction, universal beams (UB) and universal columns (UC) are vital for your upcoming project. But these significant structural components aren't identical - or indeed interchangeable - they have there own unique specifications, properties and load-bearing abilities that you must consider if you're faced with heavy pressure or high weight loads.

Not only will knowing your H-Sections from your I-Beams ensure that your project meets the correct weight specs, this crucial construction industry knowledge will also save you both time and money. So whether you're an engineer, a professional contractor, an architect or even a home owner scanning over structural materials, knowing the difference between UB and UC is going to play a vital role in safety and practical application.

In our latest blog, Austen Knapman will weigh up all the vital definitions, key information and significant differences between universal beams and columns, so that you're completely aware of how beams and columns can be used to correctly and effectively in your next construction job.

What Are Universal Beams?

Universal Beams - or UBs and I-Beams as they are often referred to - are a structural component capable of supporting high loads in a horizontal position, bearing heavy weight across the entire beam element, without risk of bending or distorting due to the huge pressure exerted. At Austen Knapman, our steel sections are available in a range of sizes, weights and finishes to suit your next structural steel support and building construction projects.

Universal Steel Beams can be used in an array of structural steel applications, making projects such as building construction a palpable reality. The shape and form of a UB makes them ideal for supporting weights that spread across a wide area, such as floor joists. The vertical sides resist the sheer force of the weight, while the flanges help the beam resist the load’s pressure, which would otherwise cause it to bend.

Once in place, and employed correctly, you'll benefit from long-lasting and reliable stability and support, as well as evenly balanced weight distribution of consistently weighted heavy loads across the length of the beam support.

You can choose to cut and weld your UB and they're available in a choice of either self colour or red primer finishes. Our steel universal beams are also eco-friendly too, allowing you to easily recycle, re-purpose and reuse your beam to manage and reduce running costs.

Universal beams by definition are the rigid skeleton of a building and will support many different uses. They are used in structural steel building and warehouse frameworks that require horizontal support specifically including roof rafters, floor framing and supporting floor joists or openings in supporting walls.

What Are Universal Columns?

Universal Columns - also known as H-Section beams - are structural components that support high weight loads in a vertical configuration. Similar to Universal Beams, they won't twist or bend under the huge strain of heavy loads, and they're also designed to bear the weight of the natural gravitational forces exerted by the Earth.

The vertical positioning of steel universal columns is ideally suited to walls, bridges and multi-storey constructions. They are also suitable for residential structures and similar projects thanks to their reduced depth compared to universal beams. In terms of the structural qualities of a UC, the vertical side resists twisting and the sheer force exerted upon it while the flanges aid in resisting the load’s pressure, which would otherwise cause it to bend.

Columns are a highly important structural feature of any building, ensuring that you have solid pillar-like elements to support loads that rise above the building's foundation and stay safely, reliably and rigidly in place over the entire lifespan of the building.

Once installed, Universal Columns deliver the maximum strength for volume and they are also suitable for residential structures and similar projects due to their reduced depth compared to universal beams. At Austen Knapman, our UCs are available in a choice of either self colour or red primer finishes and you can simply enter your length requirements into our cut-to-size calculator to receive an instant price for your materials.

What's The Difference Between Universal Beams & Universal Columns?

Using universal beams and columns incorrectly can have catastrophic structural implications, putting lives and the building's structural integrity in jeopardy. Knowing the difference between these products will not only ensure that you meet the precise practical and safety requirements of your construction specs, you'll also save time and money in the process as well.

Universal beams carry lighter loads than universal columns - the latter, by comparison, has higher load-bearing properties and is designed to manage heavier weights. In terms of identifying UBs and UCs, the depth of a universal beam is always greater than its width, making it more suited to carrying bending loads whereas universal columns are taller than they are wide to hold up against vertical loads as well as the forces of gravity.

Post By Ed Mason