The construction of any structure consists of several different phases that come together collectively. Before a crew can lay the foundation, hoist beams, or install drywall, designers and builders confront a series of stages. The first phase in this process is the ideation and design stage.
For construction, this involves a group of architects, interior design services, general contractors, and engineers. This team works to formulate creative and practical solutions necessary for the structure in question. During this phase of the process, the overall design of the building is completed, and three-dimensional layouts are rendered in accordance with the guidelines of the project.
Once this is complete, the next phase can begin. Designers must now craft drawings for all the structural steel that will be used during construction. Structural steel is often a significant part of the structural integrity of large buildings, commercial real estate, warehouses, plants, factories, and municipal buildings. To bring steel to bear on the construction, however, detailers must craft comprehensive drawings and renderings. These detailed drafts and blueprints are sent to both shop workers and the on-site construction crew. However, there are two types of structural-steel drawings, and each serves a slightly different function.
Shop drawings (sometimes called detail drawings) contain the specifications for the precise requirements that steel fabricators will use. It is a fabricator's job to form the particular steel beams needed. (These beams are also called pieces.) A full set of shop drawings extensively and exhaustively lays out the specifications of each piece and how it should be fabricated and formed at the shop. Detailers specify everything. They indicate which materials must be used, the dimensions of each piece, and other essential attributes. If the fabricator will need to weld, bolt, paint, or apply specific surface preparations, that is designated in the structural steel details as well.
After the fabricators form the steel beams, the pieces travel to the construction site. Here, contractors and builders require the other set of structural-steel drawings. These are typically referred to as erection drawings. At construction sites, erectors do the heavy lifting. They hoist and insert beams and other steel pieces into their correct locations in the building. Erection drawings detail precisely how the erectors should go about this process.
If any welding or bolting is needed, or if the beams and pieces require the installation of wedge anchors, erection drawings will point this out as well. Ultimately, these details outline anything that involves the installation of steel pieces at a construction site. Frames, sectionals, elevators, roofs, walls, stairs, you name it. If it has to do with steel and the structure of the building, it goes in the erection drawings.
Structural steel detailing, then, is a two-fold process. It entails the creation of complementary drawings—one set of drawings for fabricators in the shop, and the other designated for the erectors at the construction site. Detailers have to comply fully with whatever design standards are in place in the industry as well as various procedural formalities. Both are equally important and vital to a safe, secure building with supportive design and structure. For reference, the American Institute of Steel Construction and the American Welding Society each have protocols that must be followed closely by structural steel detailers.
When crafting these drawings, whether for shop workers or erectors, detailers use a variety of methods. Previously, blueprints were completed largely with pencil and paper. Drafting services would make use of T-squares, triangles, shape templates, and drafting machines (which are not computers, though that's what it sounds like) to create detailed drawings. Technology has changed all this dramatically throughout the past few decades.
Now, drafting technicians and detailers utilize advanced computing power and industry-standard applications to create their drawings. This is most often referred to as Computer-Aided Drafting (or CAD). Autodesk has led this field for quite some time with its fleet of software packages. Its primary drafting application, AutoCAD, is used by countless designers, architectural design services, and engineers around the world. Detailers specifically make use of Autodesk’s Advance Steel program, as well as other companies’ applications for drafting structural steel details. SolidWorks and Tekla Structures are two other widely used packages for structural steel detailing.
Whether working in 2D or 3D, detailers must create careful and accurate renderings. Detailers all have a working understanding of the major practical engineering concepts. Experts at structural steel detailing firms must know about structural modeling, sheet and plate metalwork, and cold-rolled steel. In addition, they will know the methodology behind fabricating steel for structural and other purposes. Finally, they should have a thorough knowledge of computer-aided drafting.
Just as buildings pass through multiple phases of construction, detailers work through several stages with their drawings. In general, the drawings must go through numerous revisions. First, detailers work to draw as accurately as possible the steelwork necessary for the building. If more information is needed before continuing work, they may submit an RFI (Request For Information). These go to either the architect, the structural engineer, or the general contractor. Once this information is received, detailers continue working until a final version has been drafted. At this point, the drawings are checked again by a second structural steel detailer (called a checker) to ensure completeness and accuracy throughout. This final, proofed version is then submitted to the relevant parties for approval.
As soon as the structural steel details receive approval, the shop drawings are forwarded to the shop fabricator for piece formation. The erection drawings are sent to the construction site for steel hoisting, moving, and installation.
As alluded to above, many fields and industries require the use of structural steel details. Architects, designers, general contractors, shop fabricators, and erector technicians must all utilize such drawings in their capacity as builders. Any construction that requires steel beams (pieces) in its structure will ultimately need structural steel details. High-rise apartment buildings, factories, warehouses, industrial plants, brewing facilities, automotive manufacturing plants, and many other structures need these detailed drawings. If steel is going into the building in any way, then structural steel detailers must be a part of the job.
Consider Buckner Heavylift Cranes or O’Brien Steel Erectors, Inc. These companies quite literally cannot do their jobs without the efforts of structural steel detailers. These companies offer unique cranes that can lift just about anything for any job, whether in construction or otherwise. If they don’t have access to a complete and accurate set of erector drawings, their work cannot commence.
If your company deals with architecture, design, engineering, or construction with steel beams in any way, it goes without saying that your team needs a structural steel detailer. Hiring a quality detailer can ultimately mean the difference between costly revisions or getting a project completed on time and under budget.
Making Cad Crowd an integral part of your team gives you the ability to manage the needs of your business as you ordinarily would, without any extra headaches. What’s more, you get the additional peace of mind that comes from having only the highest quality structural steel detailers around the world bringing your team’s vision to life.
Furthermore, we make sure that only the absolute best structural steel detailers have the chance to work on your project. Our freelancers have years of experience and are highly qualified in specialized areas of the field. They have worked hand-in-hand with companies and leaders in every field. Whatever your structural steel detailing needs may be, rest assured that Cad Crowd detailers will create exactly what you need for a successful project. We can come up with a structural steel detailing solution for every client, no matter how big or small the project may be.
Cad Crowd will help you by utilizing our vast network of established structural steel detailers. We work with only the best of the best. Our detailers and engineers keep up to date with the latest technology, and they all abide by industry standards. If there’s a particular software package that you need us to use for your work, just let us know which one it is, and we’ll locate the perfect structural steel detailer for you.
Our structural steel detailers can assist any organization with getting started from scratch, or they can build upon existing work. Wherever you are in the process of construction or planning processes, we can help you get exactly where you want to be.
There is absolutely no other place around that has the same quality of designers and detailers that we have here at Cad Crowd. We are proud to offer the same high level of excellence, expertise, and efficiency on each every contract. Get in touch with us for a free quote or to find out how it works.
If you're interested in getting help with your project, we can connect you with the appropriate pre-vetted structural steel detailing freelancer. You will not have to worry about the hiring process, and you're guaranteed to get a design that you'll love. Contact us today for a free quote.