A structure is a group of elements somehow united to support a load with stability. Examples of structures are bridges, electricity pylons or dams. All structures must be capable of withstanding the loads and forces for which they are designed.
A framed structure is one supported mainly by a skeleton, or frame, of wood, steel, or reinforced concrete rather than by load-bearing walls. Rigid frames have fixed joints that enable the frames to resist lateral forces; other frames require diagonal bracing or shear walls and diaphragms for lateral stability.
Framing, in construction known as light-frame construction, is a building technique based around structural members, usually called studs, which provide a stable frame to which interior and exterior wall coverings are attached, and covered by a roof comprising horizontal ceiling joists and sloping rafters (together forming a truss structure) or manufactured pre-fabricated roof trusses—all of which are covered by various sheathing materials to give weather resistance.
Steel's strength, when used in steel framing, made possible buildings with longer spans. Concrete frames impart greater rigidity and continuity; various advancements, such as the introduction of the shear wall and slip-forming, have made concrete a serious competitor with steel in high-rise structures.
Timber framing is the method of creating framed structures of heavy timber jointed together with various joints, but most commonly originally with lap jointing, and then later pegged mortise and tenon joints. Diagonal bracing is used to prevent "racking", or movement of structural vertical beams or posts.
Heavy timber frame was supplanted by American light wood frame, also known as balloon frame, which uses long continuous framing members (studs) that run from the sill plate to the top plate, with intermediate floor structures let into and nailed to them. Here the heights of window sills, headers and next floor height would be marked out on the studs with a storey pole. Once popular when long lumber was plentiful, balloon framing has been largely replaced by platform framing.