A Complete Overview of RSJ Beams 

When starting a construction project, understanding the materials used and their purpose is important. RSJ beams are commonly referred to across the construction and steel industry so what are they and the different types? How are they made and when would you use them? What are the benefits and how can South West Steel Supplies help? 

What is an RSJ Beam?

An RSJ beam is an abbreviation for rolled steel joist beam, which is a shortened phrase typically used by those in the steel industry. RSJ beams are also commonly referred to as ‘builders beams’, ‘universal beams’, ‘universal columns’, ‘I beams’ and ‘H beams’ due to the profile and shape of the steel. 

Rolled steel joists are used to offer support within construction for both domestic and commercial purposes. They are designed to distribute loads, making them essential in the construction of buildings, bridges, tunnels and any other structure which requires support. 

A collection of universal columns neatly stacked and available at South West Steel




What are the Types of RSJ Beams?

There are two types of rolled steel joists which are ‘I-beams’ and ‘H-beams’. Both of these beams are made up of two key components, the flanges and the web. The flanges are the two horizontal sections at the top and bottom of the beam, while the web is the vertical section that connects them. The web provides resistance to shear forces, while the flanges prevent the beam from bending under load.

The main difference between these beams are the shape and design, and what they are used for. I-beams have tapered edges with a much longer web than the flanges which gives the appearance of the letter ‘I’. In comparison, the web and flanges of the H-beam are of very similar lengths, giving the appearance of a ‘H’. I-beams are constructed from one piece of metal, whereas H-beams are constructed from three separate pieces of metal. H-beams are much heavier than I-beams so if a lightweight solution is required, I-beams will likely be the best choice. 




How are Steel Beams Made?

Steel beams are fabricated through two different methods which are welding and hot rolling. Hot rolling is the process of heating steel above its crystallisation point (400-700°C), where it’s then passed through rollers to achieve its desired shape, such as an RSJ beam

Welding involves joining pieces of metal together using extreme temperatures to melt the steel and fuse the separate pieces together, creating one piece of steel. Welding is typically used when joining together the flanges and the web of a H-beam. The beams are then expected for quality through cutting, and straightening and any imperfections are corrected. 

When Would You Use a Rolled Steel Joist Beam?

RSJ beams are used to offer support when constructing various structures such as domestic and commercial properties, bridges, tunnels, railways, extensions and renovations and any other project where support is required. 

When making any structural changes to a building, you will need an RSJ beam to provide support. When a building is created, load-bearing walls are used to support the structural weight of the building, whereas non-load-bearing walls are used to divide the rooms. 

If you plan on making any changes to a property through a renovation by removing a load-bearing wall, you will need to insert an RSJ beam. Load-bearing walls either support the roof or the floor above, so if they are removed, whatever is supporting them will collapse. When constructing a building, or making any changes to an existing structure, you’ll require a structural engineer to ensure the process is carried out correctly. 



What are the Benefits of Using RSJ Beams?

RSJ beams are an efficient way of providing support to different buildings and structures. Due to their load-bearing capacity, RSJ beams can support a substantial amount of weight without bending or buckling, which is why they are perfect for construction purposes. They can be used in a variety of applications for different industrial, commercial, domestic and any other infrastructure projects.

When treated correctly, RSJ beams resist corrosion and also fire-resistant, providing a long lifespan in harsh conditions. Steel is 100% recyclable so RSJ beams are an environmentally friendly option, especially when other materials such as wooden beams can bend, warp and rot and aren’t typically reusable. Depending on the use of a steel beam and elemental damage, they can last well over 100 years. 

Get High-Quality RSJ Beams With South West Steel Supplies 

South West Steel Supplies, are RSJ beam suppliers who offer universal beams in various measurements and weights per metre to our customers across the South West. We stock our rolled steel joist beams which can be cut to a specific measurement and then dispatched within 2-3 days of your order. 

Whether you require a steel beam for domestic, commercial or industrial purposes, we have you covered. We deliver our RSJ beams in Bristol and surrounding areas including Gloucester, Somerset, Bath, Swindon, Bath, Chippenham, Stroud, Taunton, Cirencester and more. If you have an enquiry then please don’t hesitate to contact us at 01275 28815 today. 


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