The terminology used over the years to describe a steel building has changed as this technology has progressed. As a result, many of these name changes have created confusion like: are we talking about a steel structure, a modular building, a prefabricated building or a metal-built system?
Each of these terms describes a type of structure that is pre-designed and partially assembled in a manufactory, but the fabrication process is a little different.
- Modular buildings
Modular buildings are three-dimensional segments for construction, produced in a factory. Some are completely modular and are also known as “building blocks”, assembled together on site to create the final result: a steel building. Others are semi-finished, delivered like this to the construction site and assembled there.
- Prefabricated buildings
Prefabricated buildings are finished and assembled in the manufactory.
- Pre-engineered buildings
This type of buildings emerged in the 1960s. Similarly to the previous types, they were pre-designed at the factory, due to the changes that had to be applied in some cases to standard designs. Buildings of this type also have standard openings, standard doors and windows and a similar design.
- Metal building systems
This category includes the most modern buildings used today ranging from small residential garages to large distribution centers, some with customized exterior, various finishes, with attics or other improvements. The term MBS has recently been introduced in the industry to describe the modern structural engineering concepts as well as the architectural principles used today for metal constructio