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Fabrication and Production of Structural Steelwork for a Construction Project

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Structural steelwork fabrication is an important part of building and construction. Unlike concreting, a wet process conducted that is done at site, steel structures are usually prefabricated – i.e they are fabricated in a controlled environment and then brought to the site for assembling. As a result these pre fabricated steel structures are of a higher quality and they also improve the speed of construction on site.

Structural Steelwork for Construction

Structural steel goes through intrinsic operations during the process of fabrication. The sequence of structural steelwork fabrication and design includes:

  • Bolting, riveting and welding – fastening methods
  • Cutting and machining
  • Fitting and reaming
  • Punching and drilling
  • Quality control
  • Straightening, bending and rolling
  • Surface cleaning
  • Surface Finishing
  • Surface treatment
  • Transportation

Prefabricated structural steel is the top choice for building and construction projects today. Be it a small bungalow, a palatial property, residential schemes, skyscrapers, commercial properties or infrastructural facilities like schools and hospitals, today, every structure invariably incorporates steel structures as they offer faster construction and a robust structure. Architects prefer steel structures for their excellent strength, corrosion resistance and great visual appeal.

Steel Structure Fabrication Shop Drawings

In order to leverage the benefits steel as a material provides, it is very important that the Fabrication and Erection of Structural Steelwork is done well and quality standards are maintained. However one of the most important factors that influence steel structures is the shop drawings.

Dealing with Imperfections of Structural Steelwork Fabrication

A fabricator must be equipped with approved shop drawings. Work done without approved steel detailing shop drawings may not fit into the steelwork requirements of a construction project, and this means there might be lot of rework.

During fabrication and erection of structural steelwork, some degrees of imperfections are bound to occur. However, there are limits for various imperfections, and if they exceed a certain limit is might mean compromising the safety of the structure. Certain imperfections in fabrication and erection of a steel structure may result in lack of structural stability, strength and durability of the steelwork.

When the steelwork fabrication is done, all the columns and struts must be verified for straightness. Additionally all the fabricated and rolled girders should also be verified over a distance in the longitudinal direction, equivalent to the depth of the section in the area and the points of concentrated loads.

Once the steelwork is fabricated it is checked for quality and transported on site for erection. The erection activities include:

  • Understanding the Production Planning Erection of Steel Structures
  • Preparing temporary onsite facility for storage of the fabricated steelwork
  • Placing and planning how to use the heavy equipments like hoists and cranes to lift the heavy steelwork parts and hold them in place
  • Preparing the onsite system to ensure stability and flawless erection process
  • Aligning and permanently connecting the steel parts by bolting or welding
  • Connection of cladding to the steelwork skeleton
  • Application of final paint coat application to the steel structure

Proper documentation should be used for steelwork erection on site and the work should be done with utmost precaution and precision.

Bhushan Avsatthi
About the Author: Bhushan Avsatthi is a BIM expert, a certified Sustainable Building advisor, and an associate director with more than 15 years of industry experience. He leads a team of architects, Structural & MEP engineers, LEED consultants and energy modelers. Bhushan strives to make his organization a cohesive resource for sustainable building design. He regularly participates in green initiatives like tree plantations, and promotes using bicycles for everyday commute.