Steel Advice - The Fabricator's Resource
Steel erectors and steel fabricators are often odds with each other. The lack of trust is not unfounded. The steel fabricator, having already delivered steel to the site, is vulnerable. Because the steel erector has the power to stop the progress of the work they have the general contractor's full attention. The general contractor just wants the steel in the air ahead of schedule.
When there is a fabrication problem, the A.I.S.C. Code demands right to remedy on the steel fabricator's behalf. The steel erector, usually does not discover a problem with the steel to be erected until it is in the air while the workers are trying to hang it. With equipment and crew costing thousands per day, this is not a good time for the erector to stop and make a phone call.
When the steel fabricator's right to remedy is passed over by the erector and backed by the general contractor, often the steel erector gets off without a hitch. The steel is up and the erector gets paid. The steel fabricator can deal with the general contractor when they discover their short paycheck, for the erector will be on jobsite somewhere else.
Steel erectors that do business in this manner soon discover that this behavior creates a reputation. Steel fabricators will either raise their pricing or will refuse to work on projects where the erector is a known tyrant. This activity is not ignored by the general contractor.
General contractors, not wanting to deal with the hassle, will deny quotes from steel erectors who have a negative reputation. In this economy, the general contractors can afford to be more selective as prices are still running low and there is lots of competition.
The Steel Erector
Make Friends with the Steel Fabricator
We all want our projects to run smoothly. But we want this to happen without having to do anything extra to make it so.
The real world does not work like that.
Arrange for a meeting with the steel fabricator. Get to know them and make an effort to become familiar with how they operate. This interaction will create some confidence between your companies.
When they arrive, take some time to review both the steel erection and shop detail drawings. Become familiar with the drawing style and presentation. If you have trouble understanding what the details show, have a discussion with the steel fabricator about those details.
When the steel is delivered to the jobsite, take some time to spot check the steel on the ground a few days prior to starting the steel erection.
Following these few simple steps will go a long way with gaining the trust and support of the steel fabricator with whom you are working.
Getting to know your fabricator may be one of the best things you can do towards running a successful project.
As soon as possible after learning of a job award, take the time to get to know the steel fabricator on the project.
Have a conversation about the nature of the job, and how the preferred installation will go.
Having a discussion about zoning early will enable the steel fabricator to provide information to the steel detailer to enable the job to be drawn, submitted, fabricated and delivered on site in the fashion required to best suit the steel erection.
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