When you’re looking for a professional architectural firm to undertake steel detailing and structural steel drawings, one of the things you should be looking for is great communication skills. Years of technical experience and expertise in the field can’t be understated, but good communication and committed customer service really can’t be overlooked in this crucial line of work, either. Let’s take a look at why communication is so important in steel detailing and how to find a company that won’t let you down.

What is steel detailing?

Steel detailing is the drafting process that is used to ensure that hot and cold rolled steel is fabricated accurately and in line with the intended design. Steel detailing is completed after a structural engineer has produced structural drawings, and steel detailers use CAD software such as Tekla to create a 3D model which accurately reflects the details needed when the steel is fabricated. These details might include:

– Size
– Material specifications
– Surface preparation
– Bolting
– Welding
– Painting requirements

And more. In other words, a properly made Fabrication Drawing put together by a professional steel detailer is the blueprint that lets welders and fabricators know exactly what they’re going to create, and how.

Why is communication so important?

Steel detailers are the crucial ‘middle man’ between architects and welders, refining and expanding on original architectural drawings and ensuring that welders have the details they need to produce the perfect fabrication.

For this reason, good communication between these two parties – and the final client – is key. Steel detailers who work too independently can risk ignoring important requirements specified by the client or architect, while detailers who aren’t available for chats will also be unavailable to clarify or correct mistakes or ambiguities should they occur.

Steel detailing is a little like translating; turning an architect’s drawings into something usable by steel fabricators. For this reason, it’s paramount that you choose a steel detailer with great communication skills, strong attention to detail, and a willingness to collaborate actively with everyone involved in the process.

How to vet your steel detailer for good communication skills

When you’re in the process of discussing your project with steel detailers and architects, it’s important to consider communication skills alongside experience and qualifications. There are a few simple things to look out for that might provide a good indication that the steel detailer you’re considering isn’t going to let your project down through lack of communication.

Discuss your project in detail

Don’t be afraid to go into lots of detail even during initial discussions. A steel detailer who understands the importance of good communication and close working relationships won’t shy away from the details. If they’re asking questions and getting involved in your ideas from the beginning, this is a great sign.

Ask about the team

Ask your steel detailer to tell you about the whole team that will be working on your project, and look out for a company that seems to place a strong emphasis on teamwork. Steel detailing isn’t a solitary job, and it takes a strong team with great collaborative skills to reach high standards and ensure that drawings are mistake-free.

Get recommendations

There’s no better indication that a company will live up to your expectations than strong recommendations from previous clients. If you know someone else who’s used a company before, ask them how they found the communication and service level: did they feel they could request changes or speak their minds? Did they feel listened to? If previous customers are happy, it’s likely you will be too.

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