Over the past 60-80 years, the design methodology of steel structures comprising conventional steel profiles, such as HEA, HEB or HEM, has remained unchanged. However, during the 21st century, production methods have improved considerably. The aim of this study is to develop the basis for evaluating and refining the design methodology of steel members by considering realistic residual stress distributions generated during the fabrication process. Out of the numerous production methods, in this study we focus on hot rolled wide flange cross sections which are the most commonly used profiles in construction. Design specifications vary from one country to another. A comparison of the Swiss, European, Canadian, and Japanese approaches would help towards understanding the factors influencing the sizing of steel profiles. Simplified methods based on analytical and semi-experimental models have been developed over time to help engineers consider the phenomenon of lateral buckling by ensuring a sufficient degree of safety. Considering that the above design specifications have been developed based on experimental research of steel profiles and materials characteristic of old practices, this study investigates potential updates in the current design practices. To succeed in this challenge, it is imperative that the residual stress distributions of current cross-sectional and material characteristics are explained. Several studies throughout the past years have tried to focus on formulating simplified models that consider residual stress distributions. The accuracy of these models is investigated and recommendations are provided based on the best fits to measured residual stress distributions. These have explicitly been collected from nearly 10 experimental programs leading to more than 30 measured distributions with 𝐻/𝐵 (where 𝐻 is the height of the wide flange section and 𝐵 is the width) ranging from 0.95 to 2.22 (where 𝑡𝑓 is the thickness of the flange) ranging from 6.30 to 40mm. To supplement the knowledge regarding the residual stress distributions of current material specifications and to widen the cross-sectional range of available distributions, five additional wide flange residual stress distribution measurements (i.e., HEA160, HEM500, IPE120, IPE200 and IPE360) are implemented for the sake of this study. These distributions have been precisely determined through destructive laboratory measurements (i.e., cutting method) that are thoroughly explained in this thesis. In the advent of new technology and software development, structural element simulation can be performed in a thorough and precise manner. With the aid continuum finite element analysis (CFEA), the influence of residual stresses on lateral buckling of columns under axial load will be investigated. Eight cross-sectional profiles (i.e., HEA160, HEB500, HEM300, HEM500, IPE120, IPE200, IPE 360 and IPE400) are investigated. The CFEA consider realistic residual stress distributions that have been conducted by RESSLab, EPFL. The ultimate compressive load of these profiles considering varying buckling lengths (𝜆̅𝑘 ranging from 0.49 to 1.93, where 𝜆̅𝑘 is the normalised buckling length) are determined and compared with available design specifications.