Structural Steel Detailing - What it Is

in Steel

Simply put, structural steel detailing involves the creation of detailed drawings for steel fabricators and erectors, including estimates, plans, drawings, reports and other essential documents for the manufacture and erection of steel members.  It includes a variety of steel members like steel beams, trusses, columns, braces, joists, metal decking, handrails and even stairs.  The list goes on.

As it is, structural steel detailing is very important in a wide range of manufacturing and construction businesses like naval and marine, shipbuilding, plants, building construction and other similar structures.  Anything that is big enough to require structural steel will also require detailing work.  Further, it combines the inputs of different professionals like engineers, contractors, and fabricators.  Because detailers are not the ones responsible for the integrity or design of steel members, structural engineers as well as architects would have to review any detailing work before it is release.

Structural steel detailing usually belongs under two types of drawings: shop drawings and erection drawings.  Erection drawings help show its users the correct way and site of placing fabricated steel members.  These often include detailed information and specifications on all processes involved like bolting, welding or putting in wedge anchors.

Shop drawings, on the other hand, are utilized to pinpoint the requirements for fabricating each steel member and are primarily used by steel fabricators to make these members.  Detailing work shows specifications, required materials, dimensions, sizes and other relevant information.

Structural steel detailing needs to be accurate and correct.  It has to comply with protocols and standards made by various institutions like the American Institute of Steel Construction.  More often than not, it is created with computers, using computer aided design or drafting applications like AutoCAD.  Nowadays, you can also use 3D modeling on these drawings.

Structural steel detailing is one very complex but very important process.  A detailer should have all the skills necessary to create the drawings, from logic, to drafting, to geometry, to reasoning, to visualization, as well as great communication skills to pull it off on time and with great accuracy.  You would also need general engineering knowledge as well as working knowledge on steel fabrication.  In the United States, most detailers are self taught, or have only a general certification program that touches on CAD operation.  There are also only a handful of colleges that offer degree programs in the discipline of structural steel detailing.  Because of these, it is very difficult to maintain a productive and inexpensive staff that can handle detailing work around the clock.  There are, however, a lot of companies that offer expert structural steel detailing work that are both inexpensive and reliable.

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Eli Loper has 1 articles online

Eli Loper is the CEO of TrafficSupport Inc. Traffic Support is a business process outsourcing provider with offices located in both the United States and the Philippines. For more information about TrafficSupport, please visit

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Structural Steel Detailing - What it Is

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This article was published on 2010/03/30