Pros and Cons of Rigid Frame Buildings

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Pros and Cons of Rigid Frame Buildings

Of the two most common steel building styles – arched and rigid frame (or straight wall) – rigid frame is more popular for many modern uses. As your go-to steel company in Utah, we at Wasatch Steel supply materials suitable for both styles.

What makes rigid frame buildings more popular today, and what are their general pros and cons? Let’s take a look.

General Info

While arched style buildings, or “Quonset huts,” came to popularity during World War II as portable storage buildings, rigid frame style doesn’t quite have the same intriguing backstory. This style involves fixed steel structural members, composed of both primary and secondary framing, and topped off with sheeting. Nearly all modern square or rectangular-shaped buildings are made using this style of construction.


There are several specific benefits to using straight wall construction for steel:

  • Value: If ample storage space is a requirement for your building, straight wall construction is the way to go. Arched style leads to less available square footage, both in headspace and in general space – it’s not generally wise to place anything directly against the walls in an arched space, so that reduces the surface area as well.
  • Durability: For modern structures, rigid framing is almost always the choice with durability in mind. Prefab buildings can withstand strong winds and heavy loads of snow, making them the preferred choice for any area where inclement weather is common.
  • Versatility: Rigid frame structures offer up to 300 feet of clear span space, with a completely column-free interior. This means it’s the only choice for buildings larger than a story, which basically can’t be built using arched style.


In all honesty, the only major modern drawback of rigid frame building construction is price. Price per square foot is significantly higher than for arched styles, which makes sense – you’re paying for a stronger, more durable and more versatile product. Arched styles still have their specific benefits, but in today’s day and age, the majority of new steel buildings will take on a rigid frame style.

Want to learn more about steel construction formats, or any of our steel services? Contact the pros at Wasatch Steel today.