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What Is A Portal Frame?

A portal frame is a type of structural frame commonly seen in warehouses, garages, barns and sheds – anywhere a large open space is required for minimal cost. 

A portal frame will typically consist of  

  • 2 rafters (or beams)
  • 2 columns
  • 2 knee plates
  • 2 footing brackets
  • Apex plate

and depending on the engineering requirements of the building, will be fastened together with nuts, bolts, tek screws or a combination of all three. 

Portal frames are usually made from steel and clad with products like Colorbond or Zincalume. They are fixed to either a concrete slab or concrete pad footings.


History Of Portal Frames

Portal frames were first developed during World War II, but they became widely popular in the 1960s. Today, they are used to create different kinds of enclosures, particularly wide-span ones such as warehouses, agricultural buildings, hangars, factories, as well as retail and storage facilities. In Australia, they are most often used as structural framing for steel sheds, both residential and commercial.

Advantages of Portal Frames

There are many advantages to using portal frames when building wide-span enclosures.  These include:

  • Quick and easy to build
  • Cost-effective
  • Can be used fo multiple purposes
  • Low maintenance

 Portal frames are prized for their structural efficiency. Large spaces can be built and enclosed with the minimum amount of materials, a huge advantage for builders because it helps them minimise costs.

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