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Steel detailers are an important part of the modern construction process, providing intricate drawings that detail the construction of steel in the form of buildings, bridges, elevators, balustrades and non-building structures. It is an essential part of effective construction using steel materials, and it can even help with mechanical systems that are fabricated using steel components.

This article is going to find out what a steel detailer does by outlining their role in the construction process, techniques that they use and additional duties that they are responsible for.

From concepts to shop drawings

Once a steel detailer begins work on a concept, they will create drawings that put the ideas on paper. From here, a steel detailer will work with those design drawings and turn them into intricately planned diagrams for every steel component. This includes making plans for steel members including trusses, columns, braces and columns.

The drawings and plans created by a steel detailer are known as shop drawings, and they include elaborate specifications to aid in the fabrication of steel components and structures. The shop drawings are then used to produce the steel members. Some of the details necessary for a comprehensive shop drawing include:

• Size
• Material used
• Dimensions
• Surface preparation
• Any bolt or weld points
• Painting or finishing requirements
• Fabrication instructions

Once the steel members have been successfully produced, a steel detailer will produce plans known as erection drawings that will outline the erection of the steel members at the worksite.

Using erection drawings

During the steel detailing process, steel erectors will use these erection drawings to know where to build steel fabricated pieces and how to construct them. The erection drawings will incorporate the required dimensions that are required to work with the correct steel components as well as other tasks like welding and installing anchor points.

Additional duties of the steel detailer

Steel details cover a lot of ground with their work, which normally means they have a few additional responsibilities. Some of these include:

• Oversees the design drawing parameters and aligns them with relevant industry standards.
• Liaises with architects and structural engineers to finalise drawings before sending them to the fabricator.
• Communicating with relevant parties through requests for information (RFI’s) to obtain additional information for the drawings.
• Collaborates with another steel detailer to double-check all drawings for accuracy.
• Finalises any changes and resolves any issues that have arisen during the approval process.

The techniques of a steel detailer

Many of the traditional techniques of steel detailing have made way for modern innovation. Computer-aided drafting (CAD) has proved to be a revolution in the world of steel detailing and takes most of the human error out of the process. Steel detailers use CAD systems to create drawings on a computer and prints out the designs. As a result of the growing dependence on digital innovation, steel detailers need to be competent with computer technology and the accompanying CAD software.

Another area of steel detailing that requires specific techniques is 3-D modelling. Steel detailers create 3-D drawings using a different approach to 2-D modelling. Projects are first constructed in 3-D before shop drawings are rendered from the model. The drawings for 3-D models can be converted into a Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) file that interacts with a CNC machine to automatically drill and cut components.

Steel detailers are an important part of the construction and steel detailing process. From working with architects and steel erectors to working with CAD and CNC technologies, a steel detailer must be competent in a number of areas. Without modern steel detailers, construction using steel would be much more laborious and prone to error.