What Does a Steel Detailer Do: A Guide

What Does a Steel Detailer Do: A Guide

A steel detailer is a type of specialized technician. They make detailed shop or fabrication drawings for later use by steel fabricators or welders. These drawings form the basis on which fabricators or welders manufacture girders, beams, columns, and stairways. Steel detailing is used on all steel components of buildings and structures.

Steel detailers are sometimes called CAD technicians, CAD technologists, structural engineering technicians or technologists. They are a subcategory of structural drafting.

To be a steel detailer, you must be mathematically inclined, artistically inclined and knowledgeable about the software used to do this work. This is what a steel detailer does.

Construction Projects With Steel Frameworks Require Detailers

Steel detailing is necessary for fabricating and incorporating steel frameworks into a construction project. A steel detailer generates the drawings, which a steel fabricator uses to cut and weld the necessary steel parts to form a structure.

Link Between Architecture, Engineer, And Fabricator

The architecture designs the look of a building and makes those decisions. The engineer calculates the required sizes and locations of steel to make a building strong and safe.

The fabricator is the individual who does the cut and welding of that steel. However, a steel detailer must assemble the blueprint, combining architecture and engineering in the same drawing.

Assists Engineers in Preparing Visual Guides

A steel detailer participates in the planning and preparation of engineering drawings, diagrams, layouts, and similar visuals.

Certification of a Steel Detailer

Steel detailers are provincially regulated and are provided certifications issued by provincial bodies.

Skills to Expect in a Steel Detailer

When you hire a steel detailer or become a steel detailer, this role requires a stakeholder to have significant skills in precision, accuracy, and attention to detail.

They must have computer and math skills, written and verbal communication skills, and can translate abstract concepts into reality.

Steel Detailers Are Problem-Solvers

Steel detailers are not always provided with a clear roadmap to do their work. They often must use a systematic approach to analyze data and find innovative solutions to problems as they arise. This can require using precision equipment and instruments.

Concepts Steel Detailers Work With

A steel detailer must be able to interpret data and translate a range of information to their work, including comprehension of dimensions, locations, elevations, cross-sections, projections, and similar details.

A steel detailer must ensure their drawings are accurate and meet expectations.

Creates a Mix of Sketches And Drawings

A steel detailer creates engineer sketches to streamline product development. They prepare fabrication drawings for commercial and industrial buildings. They do shop drawings, assembly drawings, and more.

These clear, unequivocal, and accurate drawings are done with architecture and engineering in mind.

Erection Drawings & Shop Drawings

Steel detailer drawings mainly fall into two categories – erection drawings and shop drawings. Erection drawings guide the fabricator on where and how to put fabricated steel. They include all work done on-site, including bolting, welding, installation of masonry anchors, etc. They are designated for use in the field.

Comparatively, shop drawings are used to manufacture individual pieces or parts. They show material specifications, sizes, required dimensions, welding, bolting, surface preparation, and painting requirements.

Awareness of Industry And Government Regulations

As one creates these engineering drawings and relates the specifications to the visual, a steel detailer must know industry standards, codes, and government regulations. A simple error in calculations or a lack of knowledge of standards and regulations can prove costly for a project and is unacceptable. A detailer must have a full, up-to-date education.

Steel Detailing Is Computer-Oriented Work

A steel detailer works with software in an office setting. The work relies heavily on data file sharing, networking, computer-aided drafting, or CAD applications.

Though they may travel to different locations where they work, most of the steel detailing work, if not all, takes place at a computer using 3D modelling applications.

Software Used By Steel Detailers

Steel detailers’ apps and CAD software are specific to steel detailing. The most popular software includes Tekla, AutoCAD, Revit, Advance Steel, Solidworks, and other big names in the computer-aided drafting space.

How Steel Detailing Used to Be Done

Before CAD, steel detailing was done manually with pencils, paper, parallel bars, drafting machines, triangles, templates of circles, and mathematical tables.

When software fails or cannot produce a specific type of drawing, though exceedingly rare, a steel detailer may have to rely on manual methods again.

Senior Steel Detailers May Aid With Shop and Site Work

As steel detailers ascend to senior steel detailers, they may be asked to involve themselves in specific shop and site work, project supervision, and overall quality control.


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