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Structural Engineering

Void and Portal Frame Structural Design

Portal frame and void frame designs are what enable large doors and spectacular, high-ceiling foyers.

Our design process for void and portal frame structures involves:

  • Reviewing architectural plans
  • Drafting void and/or portal frame layout (this may be alongside other structural elements)
  • Engineering design of void or portal frame, taking into account wind classification, loads, materials (e.g. metal sheet, tiles, cladding type), dimensional constraints, and other loading criteria
  • Registered professional engineer report
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When is it required?

Void and/or portal frames are often used for custom luxury homes, giving a feeling of space when walking into an entry foyer, with soaring ceilings and/or impossibly large doors that maximise views. They need careful design and detailed specification for builders.

Double height wall frames adjacent to stair cases generally conceal steel columns (mullions) and wind beams to ensure there is no excessive deflection (movement) of the wall.

Structural steel portal frames may also be installed over large openings where there is limited wall available to brace via conventional methods. These frames act to resist wind loading.

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What’s included?

The completed design report includes (where applicable) the following elements:

  • Steel column/mullion sizing or other support requirements
  • Wind beam sizing (steel or timber as required)
  • Vertical and horizontal portal frame member sizing (if required for bracing)
  • Connection details (as required)

Regional soil profiles

With data across hundreds of thousands of soil tests, we’ve developed regional profiles of wind ratings, soil compositions, and other ‘site estate specific’ data. This means we can understand an estate as a whole, rather than a single site.

Cost clarity

Our easy-to-follow reports are industry-leading and will help you quickly get to the heart of costings and develop a building schedule for your void portal frame.

Structural experts

With over 30 years’ design experience across thousands of Australian builds, we’re trusted by hundreds of builders across Australia.

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One engineer for all your needs

Every building project is different, requiring a combination of engineering disciplines. From bottom to top, our engineers can work on soil testing and foundations, all the way up to frame and roof truss design and even inspections. We believe these shouldn’t be thought of as separate, unrelated services.

Whether you’re renovating, extending, building a brand new home, or putting in a pool, you can gain significant benefits from understanding (in advance) the full range of engineering services you might need — and from using the same engineer for all these services.
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Key advantages of integrated services

STA is a one-stop engineer with a service range that delivers three key advantages:

  • Save time and money

Pre-planning your engineering needs means you won’t have to keep re-booking an engineer when you need a particular service. It creates efficiencies that cut service times and save you money by pulling together the services you’ll need, at a lower overall price.

  • Enjoy engineering continuity

With all your engineering done by a single organisation, your consultants tap into a deeper knowledge of the site and the project, which leads to high quality outcomes, with more opportunities for innovative solutions.

  • Less risk, more reliability

While STA always takes legal responsibility for its engineering designs, an up-front engineering services package makes it easier to trust our work with a strong mutual commitment, and reduced risk of potential interruption or delay.

How it works

Engineering consideration – We help you think about your project in engineering terms. What specific services might you need?
Packaged plan – We develop a plan that packages up all the engineering services you need for your individual home or build project.
Prescheduled services – With each service pre-scheduled, we can work more closely with you over the life of the project.

Explore our engineering services

Whether you’re a builder, developer, architect or owner, STA has the size and range to cover every possibility, with a team of experts in every engineering specialty. Explore more specific info on:
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More on structural engineering

Our expert structural design engineers can design all structural components for your building project. You can count on our building structures team’s vast experience across multiple sectors and structures, including residential, light commercial, industrial, and modular building.
More about our structural engineering
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