Industrial Building Construction

The main methods of industrial building construction in Melbourne are as follows:

 Portal frame method


A method of building and designing simple structures, primarily using steel  or steel-reinforced precast concrete.  


The connections between the columns  and the rafters  are designed to be moment- resistant, i.e. they can carry bending forces.

This means that the size of the rafters can be reduced or the span can be increased for the same size rafters. This makes portal frames a very efficient construction technique to use for wide span buildings.



portal frame

 Image from:



Generally portal frames are used for single story buildings but they can be used for low rise buildings with several floors where they can be economic if the floors do not span right across the building (in these circumstances a skeleton frame, with internal columns, would be a more economic choice). A typical configuration might be where there is office space built against one wall of a warehouse.


After several frames are erected on the site roofs are clad with metal roofing sheets or decking (e.g. Colorbond).

- The walls are clad in metal, brickwork, concrete block or precast concrete panels. 


  Tilt slab method


Concrete panels are pre-cast by pouring concrete into formwork / moulds on site or in a factory.


These pre-cast panels are then lifted and placed into position to form walls along the edges of a concrete slab base. A final strip of concrete is poured to secure the wall to the floor.


These tilt panels / tilt walls are strong enough to be load bearing if required.

Roofs for this type of construction are usually constructed from lightweight steel frame and cladding. See photo >>

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