- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 30 Apr 2018
Types of beam
Beams are structural elements that resists loads applied laterally to their axis. They typically transfer loads imposed along their length to their end points where the loads are transferred to walls, columns, foundations, and so on.
Beams may be:
- Simply supported: that is, they are supported at both ends but are free to rotate.
- Fixed: Supported at both ends and fixed to resist rotation.
- Overhanging: overhanging their supports at one or both ends.
- Continuous: extending over more than two supports.
- Cantilevered: supported only at one end. See Cantilever for more information.
They may be statically determinate, that is, their reactions can be solved using equilibrium conditions, or they can be statically indeterminate.
A wide variety of cross section shapes are commonly available, including; square, rectangular, circular, I-shaped, T-shaped, H-shaped, C-shaped, tubular, and so on.
Beams may be straight, curved or tapered.
A universal beam (UB) is a beam with an 'I' or 'H'-shaped cross-section available in variety of standard sizes. It is a very efficient form for carrying bending and shear loads in the plane of the web.
The standard method for specifying the dimensions of a standard hot-rolled steel section includes using initials to designate the type of section. For example:
'UB 203 x 133 x 25' – A universal beam of nominal dimensions 203 mm deep, 133 mm wide, and weight 25 kg/m.
Hip beams are common in roofs, where they form the angled, inclined hip of the roof, supporting other load-bearing beams (or rafters) which branch away from them on either side and slope down to the eaves.
See Concrete-steel composite structures for more information
See Open web beam for more information.
See Lattice beam for more information.
See Beam bridges for more information.
Chilled beams are used to provide cooling to the internal spaces of buildings. Typically, chilled beams are distributed regularly across the ceiling of a space. They include chilled water pumped through copper cooling coils bonded to aluminium fins that cool air by convection.
See Chilled beam for more information.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
Featured articles and news
The Isle of Man’s naturally-occurring materials and distinctive building techniques.
BRE partner with Global GreenTag to develop an Ethical Labour Sourcing Standard for Australia.
The Chartered Quality Institute explain the pathway to success for organisations implementing management systems.
An introductory article looking at where a duty of care can arise in the construction industry.
House of Lords committee encourages the use of off-site manufacturing in new report.
Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) can go some way to show the impact of new buildings on their surroundings.
The shortlist for the 2018 prize for the UK's best new building is revealed.
Amendment to Bill aims to provide councils with greater powers to increase tax premiums on empty homes.
As the latest summer blockbuster 'Skyscraper' is released, we look at some of the best uses of buildings in film.
Read our introductory article on how to layout a building.