Steel Advice - The Fabricator's Resource
Dedicated to support the steel fabricator with real world solutions to real world problems.
Lack of control point dimensioning - always from the left to the right, always from the center out.

Angles and Channels are detailed with the legs into the page and dimensioned from the back, never from the toe.

Section cuts should always be to the same direction - Changing directions within the part causes the reader to take pause to make sure the are seeing the view correctly, this uncertainty will add time to the project and invites the opportunity for errors.

Lack of standard information on each sheet - size of holes, material grade and coating requirements should be shown. The user of the drawings should not have to ask questions.
Common problems are in the presentation of shop detail drawings!
Steel detailers have one common complaint - that all the work that is of any size is being outsourced to the cheap detailers. This problem is not new, but becomes more frustrating when work is scarce.

Lately we have seen language being included in the project specifications requiring work execution to be within a maximum mileage radius from jobsite location. General contractors are often requiring the steel fabricator to use a steel detailer with computer modeling. Both are thought to be steps towards getting a good set of steel fabrication drawings.

Industry professionals do not see that the real problem lies in the lack of consistent and correct presentation of the parts being detailed. The modeling programs can get the basic information correct, but it is how that information is shown on the sheets that makes the difference in timely and correct steel fabrication. This contract drawing interpretation and editing skill is not available in the computer program, but is only found in the experienced steel detailers that are doing the editing of the model on to the individual sheets.

It is only by correct interpretation of the contract drawings and the ability of the steel detailer to translate that information into the working shop detail drawings that makes the difference in the cost AND THE COST EFFECTIVENESS of the shop detail drawings. These skills are only achieved through years of work related experience. Computers and programs cannot do this.

This time spent in making clear determinations and properly editing information into the shop detail drawings will drive up the price. The firms with the lowest numbers are either not performing these tasks adequately, or have decided that this level of detail is unnecessary and expects that the steel fabricator will figure it all out on their own.

The fabricator will pay for this lack detailing skill with extended shop overtime hours and scheduling delays. The added costs are likely to be more than the price for a proper set of shop drawings to begin with. Changes will be made when the steel fabricator experiences the financial benefits of hiring a firm who can perform the work in such a manner that saves money in the shop, usually only after they have lost a bundle trying to save money in the detailing budget.
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Is outsourcing really the problem? Or is it something else...
Detailers have a two fold problem...
Contract drawings often lack adequate information to enable the shop drawings to be created timely and the steel fabricator may lack the intestinal fortitude and due diligence it takes to support the detailer in retrieving this information.

Choose your customers wisely, and have a discussion about how the RFI process is performed by the fabricator before you sign on to do their detailing.