Beams are the structural framework of any civil construction, particularly buildings.

They serve as crucial elements that bear and distribute the load across the entire structure, directing it towards the supporting columns.

Read along to learn about a beam structure and the different types of beams and beam support that engineers use.

What is a Beam Structure?

A beam, in construction, is a horizontal structural element that withstands vertical loads, bending moments, and shear forces. 

Essentially, beams transfer these loads to the columns or walls, ensuring the structural integrity of a building. 

They come in various shapes and sizes, each serving specific purposes based on the structural requirements.

Different Types of Beams in Construction

  1. Continuous Beams

Continuous beams are supported at more than two points along their length, allowing for a continuous load distribution. 

This type of beam is commonly found in long-span structures, providing stability and minimizing deflection. 

Continuous beams are crucial in scenarios where even weight distribution is critical.

  1. Simply Supported Beams

The most fundamental type of beam, simply supported beams, are supported at two points. These points can be columns, walls, or any other structure that provides upward support. 

This simple yet effective design is often employed in bridges, floors, and other structures requiring straightforward load distribution.

  1. Fixed Beams

Fixed beams, also known as encastre or built-in beams, have both ends rigidly fixed. This prevents rotation and translation at both ends, resulting in increased resistance to bending moments. 

Fixed beams are commonly used in scenarios where stability and minimal deflection are critical, such as in industrial constructions and large buildings.

  1. Overhanging Beams

Overhanging beams extend beyond their supports, creating an overhang on one or both sides. 

This design offers unique advantages, such as increased support for secondary loads or aesthetic considerations. 

Overhanging beams are frequently used in balconies, canopies, and other architectural features.

  1. Cantilever Beams

A cantilever beam is a specific type of overhanging beam where one end is anchored, and the other extends freely. 

This design is employed when additional support is needed for specific loads or when an extended section is desired. 

Cantilever beams are common in structures like balconies and diving boards.

Types of Beam Support

Understanding the various types of beam support is crucial for designing structures that can withstand different loads and forces. The five primary types of beam support are:

  • Roller supports
  • Pinned support
  • Fixed support
  • Hanger support
  • Simple support

Also read: Building Valuation – Everything You Need to Know


The construction world is built on the foundation of beams, providing the necessary support for structures to stand tall. 

Each beam type serves a specific purpose, whether it’s a continuous beam for even load distribution, a cantilever beam for additional support, or a simply supported beam for simplicity. 

A solid idea about the different types of beams and their supports is essential for any construction professional paving the way for a safer and more stable future for the construction industry.