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     In order to assemble a steel structure so that it is strong, sturdy and durable, individual sections need to be connected to each other. This can be done using a variety of methods, including welding end plates, drilling holes, cutting notches and other. Each connection for a project needs to be individually designed to ensure it will withstand the loads it is designed to support.

     Once the steelwork arrives on site, it is absolutely crucial that the connections fit together perfectly, so having confidence in your steel fabricators at this stage is essential. Here at Polsteel we ensure we achieve a perfect fit by employing some of the latest and most sophisticated detailing software and connection templates, all backed up by our production procedures and management software.

Base plate F-011

   Base plates are used as a support for columns coming off a concrete pad or foundation. To ensure longevity and stability, it is essential to leave a gap of around 20 – 30 mm between the concrete and the steel plate, which can be achieved using shims and wedges. This gap will then need to be filled by packing a dry mixture of concrete, also known as a dry-pack, into the gap.

End plate F-012

   An end plate is used to anchor the end of a beam to the wall, and is also part of the “End plate connection”.

End plate F-013

   This type of connection is used to join a column to a beam or another beam to a flange.

Moment connection F-014

   A moment connection features an overhanging plate that bolts into a column. This type of connection is frequently used when the connection needs to withstand a high ‘moment’, for example if a wall is replaced with a box frame that will need to withstand high wind loads from the sides.

Cleat F-021

   A cleat is used to bolt one beam into the side of another beam. Cleats are made from RSA sections (angles), which are then bolted to both beams. In cases where only one side needs bolting, only one cleat will be required, and for some projects it is preferable to weld the cleats to the end of a beam rather than bolting them.

Spacer – beam F-022

   When projects are struggling for height, for instance in basements and lofts, it is often preferable to replace a deep beam with two smaller beams. However, to ensure stability and resistance to buckling, these beams need to be bolted together, and this is where a spacer is used, and is usually welded to one of the beams. The bolts are typically 600 mm apart from each other.

Spacer – PFC F-023

   When a cavity wall needs to be supported above an opening, two PFC’s can be bolted together back to back, with a spacer inbetween, in order to give strength to the walls. The gap between the sections matches the width of the cavity, and the spacing between the bolts is 600 mm centre to centre.

Crank 90° F-031

   A 90° crank is a typical crank but with two kinks. In a 90° crank the top member will be horizontal and the bottom vertical. Cranked beams are most frequently used to support roof structures, therefore the angle of the middle member needs to follow the pitch of the roof. It is crucial that full penetration welds are used with these connections to ensure the crank will carry the load.

Kink 90° F-032

   A 90° kink is a connection of two sections joined by a weld. It is used for brackets, or for when a beam needs to be supported by a column and a bolted connection cannot be used.

Kink – angle F-033

   With some projects, a single kink that follows the pitch of the roof is adequate for the support required, and the end of the beam is supported without the need of an additional vertical column.

Kink with plate F-034

   This is essentially a ‘kink – angle’, but with an additional plate between the two sections. This type of connection is used when the two pieces being joined are of different sizes.

Dogleg F-035

   A ‘Dogleg’ beam is a horizontal beam with a vertical section welded at 90°. This type of beam is often used to support existing staircases.

Gusset F-041

   A gusset uses a plate, which is normally triangular, and is used to provide additional stiffness to the structure. It is often used to support the outer edge of a bottom plate welded to a beam.

Plate – bottom F-042

   A bottom plate is added to a beam in order to support brickwork or timber joists. The bottom plate is stitch welded to the beam and is often offset to one side so that the brickwork is sufficiently supported.

Plate – top F-043

   A top plate is added when the size of the required beam is smaller than the wall it is carrying. An example is a door opening in a cavity wall.

Stiffener F-044

   As the name suggests, a stiffener provides additional stability by connecting both flanges and the web. This prevents the web from buckling.

Tab F-045

   Tabs are welded to hollow column sections to make it possible to anchor them to walls. In most cases M12 anchors are used every 600 mm and in a staggered formation.

Hole – flange F-051

   Holes are drilled in column flanges, either UC, UB or PFC, in order to anchor them to walls and as an alternative to welding tabs. In most cases M12 anchors are used every 600 mm and in a staggered formation.

Hole – web F-052

   Holes are drilled in the web of the beam to enable timber joists to be fixed to both sides. Timber joist hangers are then fixed to the beam joists, allowing floor joists to be spanned from it.

Splice A1 F-061

   Splices are required when a beam is either too long or too heavy to install safely. When a beam spans two party walls, a splice is also recommended to easily install the beam, with the alternative being temporarily removing a large wall section. As a rule of thumb, the flange plates need to be at least the same thickness as the beam’s flange, and the same rule applies to the web plates.
   In some cases HSFG (High Strength Friction Grip) bolts are required, in which case the beam ends and the splice plates must not be primed. These bolts are expensive, so if you are told they are necessary it might be a good idea to request a redesign by your Structural Engineer to enable you to use the normal 8.8 grade bolts.

Splice A2 F-062

   In some cases the structural engineer may request additional inner flange plates for the splice connection.

Splice A3 F-063

   This type of splice is not a full strength connection and therefore is only used to align two sections. This type of connection needs additional support, either via a column or by a padstone.

Splice B1 F-066

   When height is limited, regular splices such as A1 and A2 can add as much as 100 mm to the total depth of the beam, therefore are not desirable options. In this case you can consider using a B1 splice, although it is not a full splice and therefore will be unsuitable for some applications.

Gallow bracket F-071

   Gallow brackets have been used to support chimney breasts for many years, however many local authorities no longer allow them to be used. If your planning department advises these are not allowed then you will need to use a full steel beam structure instead.

     Every steel structure is bespoke, as every building is unique. The things that make every project different are the number of storeys to be supported, the spans, any existing layout that needs to be considered as well as the new layout you are looking to achieve. Despite these differences, some structures have similar designs and functions, and this fact has allowed us to use our extensive experience and knowledge to develop a full set of templates for each structure shown below.

Box frame S-110

   A box frame is a four member structure, which comprises of a ground beam, two columns and a top beam. This structure is used to support the building where a wall has been removed and allows the load to be transferred through the columns to the bottom beam and foundation. In some cases a box frame needs to be used if there is no party wall agreement in place and a structural beam may not be supported off a party wall.

Box frame with cross beam S-120

   This structure is often used in rear extensions where the cross beam replaces a side wall of the existing building.

Box frame with cross beam and post S-130

   A post is added when there is no load bearing wall to support the end of the beam and the load needs to be transferred to the foundation.

Box frame with perpendicular box frame S-140

   When loads are high, a bottom beam is required to spread the load onto the foundations.

2 box frames with cross beam S-150

   This structure is used when two parallel walls are removed and a perpendicular wall needs supporting. Sometimes the cross beam is used to support a chimney breast.

Box frame with extended beam S-160

   When a wall is removed and the new layout does not allow for a column against a wall, for example in a corridor, then one of the columns can be moved towards the centre with this configuration.

Cross beam S-210

   A cross beam is a structure comprising of two members connected at right angles.

2 beams with cross beam S-220

   This structure is an acceptable alternative for the ‘Gallow brackets’ that are used to support a chimney breast. The parallel beams span the room on both sides of the chimney, and the cross beam supports the chimney itself. Quite often a top plate is added to this beam in order to spread the support across the entire area of the chimney.

Crank with cross beam S-310

   Often loft conversions and new garages require a cranked beam with a cross member that supports the roof joists.

Apex S-320

   An ‘apex’ is a double cranked beam, which is supported from a main beam. This structure is used when adding an additional floor to an existing building.

Post with beam S-410

   This combination is used when one end of a beam is supported by a load bearing wall, but the other end is not. The post provides the necessary support in this type of situation.

Goalpost S-420

   A ‘goalpost’ comprises two columns and a top beam, creating a goal shaped structure. This configuration of beams is used when there are no load bearing walls to support the ends of the beam. It can also be used if there is no party wall agreement in place.

Goalpost with cross beam S-430

   In the same vein as the ‘box frame with cross beam’ configuration, this structure is used for rear extensions.

Goalpost with two cross beams S-435

   This type of structure is used when two perpendicular walls need to be supported, or if the floor span is too high and needs intermediate supports.

Beam with mid support S-440

   When the span of the beam is too high for the beam’s load capabilities, it needs to be supported by a post. The position of the post is determined by the location of windows, doors or another wall.

Two goalposts with cross beam S-450

   Just like the ‘two box frames with cross beam’ structure, this configuration is used when two parallel walls are removed and a perpendicular wall needs supporting. Sometimes the cross beam can be used to support a chimney breast.

Corner beams with post S-460

   This structure is used in rear extensions, where the rear and side walls remain as large openings for concertina doors.

     Polsteel Ltd has built up a proud reputation for the reliability, quality and competitiveness of our steel fabrication services, not only with our engineering customers but with architects and builders across London.

     The combination of a friendly, professional service and the ability to meet tight delivery times has helped us to build up a large customer base which has also enabled us to attract new business from outside London therefore allowing us to expand our capacity and facilities. We have recently expanded and now operate from a 6000 sq ft facility and have been investing in new technologies and machinery, all of which have enabled us to expand our capabilities and become more competitive.

     Welding is a process of joining 2 parts by melting the adjoining surfaces and adding a filler. Heat is generated by an electric arc. The melted pool needs to be in a oxygen free environment, which is achieved by a shielding gas. For our steel fabrications we use MIG welding, short for metal inert gas. The filler is a 1 mm wire fed through the centre of a nozzle that blows argon gas onto the welded surfaces. The three-phase MIG welders that we use provide sufficient power to guarantee deep penetration with no intrusions or gas bubbles that did not manage to escape during the welding process.

     Welding is associated with local high temperatures, that distorts the welded items when cooling down too fast. It is therefore essential to allow for the changes by setting the welded part slightly at an angle prior to welding it. In some cases however, the surfaces need to be pre-heated and then the cooling process needs to be extended by heating the surface in intervals.

     Welds play a crucial part in every welded structure, as they carry the entire load that the beam is carrying. There is no room for error and every single weld needs to be done correctly. Welds need to be inspected visually or by using other methods. A proper weld bead should be smooth with the edges clearly “bitten” into the welded parts. Achieving this is the result of correct welding machine settings, preparing the welded surfaces and experience.

     Drilling is an essential fabrication process that allows bolting a steel structure together. The art of drilling has been known to humans for over 35,000 years. A lot has changed since a pointed rock was spun between the hands and now we have access to highly sophisticated machinery. For steel fabrication purposes we use a radial table drill for drilling holes in plates and magnetic base drills for drilling holes in beams.

     When drilling holes it is essential to keep the centres within a ±1 mm industry standard tolerance so that 2 different beams bolt together with ease. We set the standards higher by performing diagonal tolerance checks of also ±1 mm.

     In the nearest future we will be purchasing a numerically controlled drilling line which will allow us to drill holes quicker and at an even higher tolerance.

     Pascal’s law states that “pressure exerted anywhere in a confined incompressible fluid is transmitted equally in all directions throughout the fluid such that the pressure ratio (initial difference) remains the same.” This principle was stated in 1648 and has been applied to virtually every industry. In our industry it is used for creating great forces, which allow punching holes through steel or simply slicing it to pieces.

     A multi-purpose hydraulic punch that we use generates a force of 70 tons. This allows punching through 20 mm steel plates. We also use a portable hydraulic punch which is perfect for holes in column flanges used to anchor it to a wall.

     Unlike drilling, the enormous pressure applied during the punching process distorts the material micro structure nearest to the punched hole. This results in micro cracks that weaken the material. For this reason holes should not be punched in plates that will be highly loaded.

     Steel is well known as an oxidising material, meaning quite simply that it can and will, eventually, rust. Rust is caused when iron and oxygen react together in the presence of water or moist air. Rusting is highly detrimental to the strength of steel, so for long term structures it is essential to find a solution to prevent rust from forming.

     There are two main ways in which this can be achieved; one is priming and the other galvanising.

     As well as priming and galvanising steel to make it stronger, the fire resistance of the steel structure can also be improved, using fire resistant paint. This treatment can extend the time it takes to melt steelwork by around half an hour. Because it is a water based coating, fire resistant paint needs to be protected from the weather, so for some projects the installers may want to paint it once it is in situ.

     The technique of priming uses a paint rich in zinc phosphate, which is applied to the steel and provides an active corrosion resistant coat. The compound in the paint disrupts the normal formation of anodes on the surface of the steel, what we would generally see as ‘rust’. It achieves this by hydrolysing in water to produce zinc ions (Zn2+) and phosphate ions (PO43-). The phosphate ions act as anodic inhibitors by phosphating the steel and rendering it passive, whereas the zinc ions act as cathodic inhibitors. To be sure this method will protect your steel, the paint needs to be applied at an optimum thickness of 125 microns. For this, two layers need to be applied directly on the steel using a roller, after which the steel should remain rust resistant as long as it is not used outside in harsh conditions.

     Galvanising is quite simply the process of coating steel with zinc, and it is achieved by dipping the steel in a bath of molten zinc. Once the zinc is cool, it reacts with the steel to form zinc carbonate, which protects the steel in two distinct ways:

1. The base metal is protected from direct contact with the atmosphere by the zinc coating.
2. The zinc coating provides ‘sacrificial’ protection. What this means is that, because the zinc has a greater electronegativity than the steel underneath, it will corrode in preference to the metal it is protecting.

     Galvanising is an essential part of steel fabrication when the steel is going to be used in an external or damp area. This could be outside in the wind and rain, or even in the cavity walls of a house where it is likely to be moist for a lot of the time.

     As well as priming and galvanising steel to make it stronger, the fire resistance of the steel structure can also be improved, using fire resistant paint. This treatment can extend the time it takes to melt steelwork by around half an hour. Because it is a water based coating, fire resistant paint needs to be protected from the weather, so for some projects the installers may want to paint it once it is in situ.

     Over the last few years we have developed a set of templates for most typical structures used at residential projects. These are easy to read drawings with blank dimensions that need to be measured on site and the template with the dimensions on it sent to us by e-mail. Based on the given information we transfer the data into a computer application that automatically generates fabrication drawings. This allows us to fabricate the steelwork exactly as per your specifications. The Builder on site knows much more about the project he is carrying out than we do as newcomers (finish floor levels, foundation levels, slab, isolation and tiling thicknesses, top or bottom levels required for steelwork, etc) , therefore our templates make it very easy to forward us all the necessary information.

     When determining heights (eg. box frames) it is important to check the actual beam sizes (pages X-X), as they are different than the nominal size. All dimensions should be in mm. For more about carrying out a site survey, please go to www.polsteel.co.uk

     However, if you feel uncomfortable with measuring up the steelwork, we are happy to carry out our own site survey. Our Design Engineers are equipped with latest laser and digital equipment to guarantee the input data is as accurate as possible.

     Guaranteeing a quality and reliable service, Polsteel use the market leading steelwork detailing software – Tekla Structures.

     This highly sophisticated program enables to visualise the entire steelwork structure as a computerised 3D model and because it is based on parametrised technology, any changes may be done by a click of a button. A ready 3D model may be viewed (rotated, zoomed in and out, etc.) on every computer and approved by the client before the fabrication commences. What is more, a computerised model allows eliminating any material clashes and design issues may be easily visualised, explained and solved reducing the project’s costs.

     Steelwork detailing is part of every project, however we offer sole detailing services as well. Some fabrication plants do not have sufficient facilities to carry out the detailing phase using own resources, therefore we are here to help. The result of our steelwork detailing service is a computerised structural model and quality fabrication drawings. If you require any detailing to be outsourced, we are happy to take the load off you. As we are a UK based company, you will benefit not only from virtual communication, but also the possibility of arranging in-person site or office meetings.

     Our quotation is different from most other competitors. At Polsteel we do not provide rough estimates based on the total tonnage of the steelwork multiplied by a factor, resulting in a bunch of “extras” added to the final price. We reply to enquiries with a full quotation within 24 hours. In some cases we need to receive more information before we may prepare a quotation, however we will let you know when you may expect to receive it.

     We have tracked fabrication times and quantified the amount of labour required for every single fabrication process over the last few years. The outcome of it is a list of all fabrication products (page X) with a competitive price based on the size of the section. Our quotations show exactly what fabrication is included in every single beam as well as lists of what is inclusions and exclusions for the whole project (eg. delivery, galvanising, etc.).

     With our fabrication time tracking facility we are able to tell you exactly when the steelwork will be delivered to you.

     The quality of our service is far and away the most important aspect of our business. The founder of Polsteel was bitterly disappointed by the lack of professionalism of the steel industry, and therefore created Polsteel to break the mould and lend some true customer satisfaction to the trade.

     Our standards for a high quality service include:

     In order to meet these criteria, in addition to regular and high quality staff training, Polsteel has systems in place that cover every task within the business. Our bespoke barcode tracking and management software form the backbone of our systems, and by using this software at every stage of the process, from the office to the delivery, we can ensure everything is done to standard, on time and just how you expected.

     With our high standards, far reaching ambitions and determination to do the best job we can, Polsteel are set to become one of the top steel fabrication businesses. This means that you, our customer, can relax knowing that your project will be handled with the utmost skill, integrity and a level of service you’ll find hard to match. We hope you will take this opportunity to experience for yourself just how hard we work for our customers, so that we can add you to our ever growing list of highly satisfied clients.

Polsteel Ltd

Unit 9, Fairway Trading Estate,
Green Lane,


Tel: 0208 569 8144

Mobile: 0794 313 0340

Email: sales@polsteel.co.uk

     If you haven’t heard of Stefan Bryla, let us introduce you to the patron of our company. Bryla was a Polish scientist and welding pioneer, you could say one of the forefathers of modern welding techniques. In 1927 he designed the first welded road bridge in the world, a feat of technology that spanned the river Słudwia in Maurzyce near Łowicz, Poland. On the 16 November 1943 he and his family were arrested and murdered during Action AB by the Germans in Warsaw. By having him as our patron, we hope to keep his achievements and memory alive.

First welded bridge in the world.
Poland, 1929

     Polsteel Ltd started trading in September 2009. Initially the company worked under the name of ‘Struxteel Steelwork Management Ltd’. As the name suggests, the initial plan was to manage large steelwork projects, however due to the market downturn we had to quickly rethink our approach. Now we offer in-house steelwork design and fabrication to a top standard and at very competitive prices, and are proud of our products and our reputation.

     Polsteel was originally conceived by Michael Krajewski, a graduate of 2 faculties at the Warsaw University of Technology. His ambition was to join the Polish army as an officer, however being born in South Africa automatically gave him dual nationality. For this reason his application was rejected twice. Feeling let down, he decided to move to London and in 2007 joined a design and engineering company. His ambition was to launch his own venture where he could implement his groundbreaking ideas with ease in order to improve service and value for his clients.

     Polsteel’s first home was a small unit on the same industrial estate as our current building. However, we quickly realised that more space was required as our client base began to grow and the demand for our services increased. After a few months of trading we moved to our existing premises, but such was the growth in demand and reputation of our business, after just a year we doubled our fabrication area by taking over an additional unit next door.

     With our innovative approach and an increasing list of satisfied customers, we are sure there are still many chapters to follow.

     We at Polsteel are very optimistic about the future. We already have expansion plans in place that span the next 5 years, and are on track to reach these goals. The next major step forward for us will be reached when we open our second facility, which will be conveniently located to serve East London.

     With a genuine interest in emerging technology, Polsteel are closely monitoring the development of robotic beam assembly lines, which could mean the process of assembling and welding steel becomes fully automated. As and when this technology comes to market, it is set to revolutionise the steel fabrication industry, and Polsteel intend to be one of the first companies to purchase and install this cutting edge technology for the benefit of our clients.

     As well as these big changes and grand ambitious, we are constantly reviewing processes and procedures to make our operation more efficient and more cost effective. Every day Polsteel make a little change to make your money go further, and are proud to be able to pass these savings on to our clients whilst still being able to make well placed investments in our staff and facilities.

     As a company we are open to taking on apprentices, as these young talented individuals deserve to have a taste of the ‘real world’, and in return we benefit from their fresh and innovative ideas.

     Do keep in touch with us via the website to get the latest news on how our plans are progressing.

Michael Krajewski Polsteel Ltd
Company Founder and Managing Director

At Polsteel we are open to individuals who are eager to learn. If you are searching for an apprenticeship placement, feel free to send your CV with a brief description of your requirements and we will do our best to give you the opportunity to propel your career.

Whenever we have a full or part time vacancy we will place the information below. Before you send your application, please watch the “Company overview” video to find out who we are. Next, watch the video relevant to the position you are interested, which will tell you more about what work is involved and what personal skills are required. Our company is based on systems and procedures, therefore the majority of time you will be performing your work by following orchestrated patterns. Please send all applications to cv@polsteel.co.uk