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Steel detailing is an important part of any construction project. When construction teams see a properly produced shop drawing, they have all the information they need about the structural steel members for proper fabrication of the building.

However, many construction companies aren’t that enthusiastic about producing time-consuming steel detailing. For them, there are other tasks that they are better suited for. If they are offering those services, it is likely that they are going to outsource that work.

For some companies, this might mean finding the person/company who is willing to do the work for the lowest price. This helps your construction team to keep costs down and maximise profits but also opens you up to potentially bad work.

There are two types of detailers who offer work for the lowest amount

When it comes to the type of people willing to offer steel drawings at a low price, there are generally two groups of people: the inexperienced or those with poor reputations. The latter of these very rarely get roles. However, those with little experience are sometimes able to secure this role.

While there isn’t anything wrong with new people coming into the industry, there can be some issues with those with little experience taking on the leading roles for such tasks. Ideally, those who are new to steel detailing should be learning the basics of the trade in experienced outsourcing providers or being tutored in a small team of experienced detailers.

Yet, with the internet, too many inexperienced new detailers are trying to go it alone in order to live a lifestyle that they want.

The changing world of the detailer

Steel detailing is a changing industry. In the last five to ten years, the industry has gone through so much change, that to some it isn’t recognisable. For instance, there has been a significant push towards Tekla software. This has allowed for much better efficiencies in the detailing tasks, that only the experience, and the good eye, of a professional detailer could have provided.

Therefore, in the training of new detailers and draughtsmen, the skill set being taught was specific to getting the best drawings that could be used by clients or the company. However, health and safety has now taken centre stage. It is estimated that about 40% of the courses designed for architects and engineers concentrate on the safety of the work, not on other parts.

Once there would have been a focus on the creativity and the mathematical art of detailing great buildings. Now there is more focus on whether the building is going to be secure and safe to use. While this is important, it is not everything that a construction project should be about.

You can be too safe with your designs

One example of how this is impacting detailing is the overuse of safety features that increase costs for construction projects, cause delays and actually increase insurance costs. This can cause significant dents to the profitability of a construction job.

Essentially, the savings of hiring someone who has placed a lower bid now might mean the costs, later on, are higher.

Choose to outsource your steel drawings to an experienced company

This is why you need to seek out a steel drawings service that has experience. They have the experience to determine the exact needs of the project. They will take their time to learn the details of the project by listening to you, and determine the best route to success without overburdening it with unnecessary safety features.

In addition, they will be training the next generation of steel detailers, so they know exactly how to efficiently create drawings that are safe, cost-effective and aesthetically pleasing.