Why Using a High Quality Steel Detailer Helps to Guarantee Margins

Feb 11, 2021 | Modeling & Detailing, Thought Leadership

Allocating money to steel detailing within an already constrained project budget might sound counterintuitive. With rising steel, oil and energy prices, commercial construction is a tight market. Increasingly, fabricators are taking on projects with tight margins to secure a strong pipeline of work.

So then, why erode this margin further with the added expense of steel detailing?

In the past, steel detailers were just another step in the construction cycle, delivering drawings to the fabricator before moving onto the next project. Today, quality steel detailers work in collaboration with project stakeholders, offering a comprehensive service from concept to construction, and beyond.

As a result, steel detailing can dramatically alter the outcome of a project: quality, accurate drawings and models bolster factors like safety, erectability and efficiency to protect skinny profit margins. In contrast, low-cost poor quality detailing can erode – or even obliterate – margins.

Cheaper Up-Front; Expensive Long-term

In an average project budget, steel detailing accounts for only about 5 per cent of fabrication costs. However, the return on investment delivered by steel detailing far outweighs its comparatively low cost. Mistakes made in steel detailing can manifest in serious issues further downstream in the construction process.

Lower quality steel detailing may be cheaper up-front, but it costs far more in delays, both in the fabrication workshop and on the worksite. It drives up costs associated with rework – both material and labour costs – after welds fail, or clashes materialise, fabrication windows can be missed or steelwork cannot be swung into place on-site. Inadequate detailing impacts health and safety, exposing construction workers to unnecessary risk, particularly when working at heights.

Reap the Rewards: Invest in Quality from the Outset

High quality, accurate steel detailing boosts efficiency and productivity by ensuring that steelwork can be fabricated and erected quickly and easily. Labour and material costs are slashed, waste is minimised, and schedule overruns are eradicated. Standards and local laws and regulations are upheld, with senior local managers undertaking rigorous quality assurance checks. Fabricators maintain their reputation as a reliable contractor able to satisfy client expectations, making repeat business more likely.

Trying to save money in the early stages of a project by compromising on the quality of a crucial step is a false economy. Squeezing margins early-on creates much more expensive problems at the tail end of a project.

Quality steel detailing delivers cost certainty. It helps manage and protect a skinny profit margin, which is vital in today’s highly competitive construction industry.

By Mark Campbell, CEO – DBM Vircon

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