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Bringing a steel detailer onto your project provides many benefits, from a reduced human error to a more streamlined project timeline. With that said, there are some common challenges in steel detailing that many projects face such as inconsistencies between specifications and the drawings themselves. To give your project the best chance of success, we have outlined some of these challenges so that you can take the appropriate steps to avoid them.

Not enough information

Steel detailers need a good amount of information about a project in order to provide accurate drawings. A lack of information is a common issue, particularly with structural steel shop drawings. It is vital to get important components and metrics right, otherwise, the project needs to pause until the issues are addressed. This can happen in a few different ways, including:

• Structural dimensions not being outlined in drawings
• Sequencing or connection parameters not outlined
• No structural numbers found in the plans

Oftentimes, these challenges arise when changes were made during the detailing process, rather than the steel detailer forgetting to include the information.

Incorrect project details

Structural steel design can be useful across every step of a project’s timeline, from planning to the construction stage. To complete a project, it is vital that all team members are working from the same information as this avoids mistakes. It is equally important that you accommodate everyone – a steel fabricator might not have the same level of industry experience as a steel detailer, so make sure everyone on the project is trained and using the correct project details.

Differences in specs and drawings

Projects can change in scope, scale and even small adjustments need to be reflected in the specs and drawings. If there are inconsistencies between the specification and drawing stages of a project, clients can quickly grow concerned that shop drawings don’t match their intended plans. It can be tricky, but the best way to work around this challenge is to get any changes made in writing. So if a client is unhappy with the changes, there is a counter that you can point to.

Lots of drawings

Whether it is through multiple iterations of the same drawing or different teams creating multiple drawings for the same structure, having lots of drawings for a project can quickly get confusing. Mistakes and oversights can quickly become embedded if there are too many drawings, which can lead to issues with measurements and inventory levels. Ultimately, too many drawings can muddy the waters and impact the success of the project. To avoid this, keep an open channel of communication with everyone involved with shop drawings.

Time delays

Hold-ups are a common challenge in any project, but steel detailers in particular have to deal with delays as a result of requests for information (RFIs). On-site team members often have to clarify aspects of a drawing or shop document before proceeding, which requires a pause in the project. Although the intention is to keep the project accurate, it can cause significant time delays.

Missing industry standards

Any projects that use steel detailing should meet industry standards, otherwise, the project is risking a host of problems from fines to shutting the entire project down. Or, if the project is completed and misses industry standards it could put lives at risk. Failing to meet these industry standards is a terrible oversight for any project and holds significant risk. To avoid this, it is vital that you monitor any regulatory changes and ensure all work is compliant.

These challenges are commonplace across many projects that use steel detailing. The best way to avoid them is to stay informed about them, so keep tabs on your project and make sure your steel detailing work is up to industry standards.