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  • Zulkifli Amiruddin

FABRICATION AND ERECTION OF STRUCTURAL STEELWORK - GOOD PRACTICE AND GUIDELINES


Steel Structure derives most of its competitive advantage from the virtues of prefabricated components, which can be assembled speedily at site. Unlike concreting, which is usually a wet process conducted at site, steel is produced and subsequently fabricated within a controlled environment.


This ensures high quality, manufacture offsite with improved precision and enhanced speed of construction at site.


DESIGN SPECIFICATIONS

Engineers should emphasise on it so that better practices may be considered and implemented and to increase awareness of the safety and regulatory requirements.


The specification should be written to cover:

1. Unloading and erecting structural steel components (e.g., girders, diaphragms, jacking beams, stiffeners, girder cover plating) as shown and described on the Drawings and in the Specifications.

2. Supplying and installing bearings, including grout pads (where applicable).

3. Design, supply, fabrication, installation, maintenance, and removal of temporary falsework (where applicable).

4. Design, supply, delivery, installation, maintenance and removal of erection bracing, temporary wind bracing, lateral stability bracing, longitudinal ties, and other temporary works for structural steel girders; and

5. The quality control (QC) testing of all materials and the Work.



FABRICATION

Structural steel fabrication is a multifaceted process that requires specialized knowledge, skills, and resources to complete successfully to create structural steel beams, components, or equipment, a good metal fabricator follows a specific process:


Step 1: Ideation

The ideation stage can be as creative or as standard as the client desires. When you partner with a fabricator who provides custom structural steel solutions, you have the freedom to order unique pieces specific to your project. Whether you need beautiful, handcrafted ornamental rails or straightforward caged ladders, a custom fabricator can adhere to your exact needs.



Step 2: Blueprint/Drawing Creation

During ideation, your vendor will listen to you and draw up blueprints using specialized engineering software. You can come prepared with your own blueprints or drawings for this stage. Review your vendor’s blueprints to verify correct requirements, code compliance, and specifications.


Step 3: Convert Blueprints Into Shop Drawings

Your vendor will convert project blueprints into shop drawings for the completion of the order. The shop drawings and plans will adhere to the logistics of your project, such as deadlines and budget. Shop drawings are what the manufacturer uses to bring the blueprints to fruition.

Step 4: Cut and Drill Steel Beams

The vendor will have special tools, such as saws, shears, lasers, punches, notches, and plasmas to cut and drill the steel beams according to project blueprints. More advanced equipment produces higher quality results, faster.


Step 5: Piece Etching

Your vendor will etch each piece with a unique part number and plate location. This makes final assembly on site fast, easy, and accurate, eliminating costly mix-ups and project delays.


Step 6: Component Assembly

Once your vendor finishes cutting and forming the components of your project, the team will weld and assemble the pieces. At this stage, the fabrication team will check to make sure all pieces assemble correctly and match order specifications.


Step 7: Custom Part Machination


If you request any custom metal fabrication, your vendor will create custom parts at this stage. Custom parts are ideal when you need components to fit a specific structure or product. You may need custom part machination if standard looks or sizes are not right for your project, either in function or aesthetics.


Step 8: Complete Assembly

Your vendor will complete a full assembly of your project, if possible. In some cases, partial assembly may apply. Complete assembly ensures all parts of the order are present and functioning. Changes at this stage are rare and only occur if there has been a mistake in a previous step.


Step 9: Shipping Preparation

After a successful complete assembly, the team will disassemble the project and prepare components for either finishing or direct shipment. Your vendor should do this quickly and efficiently, packing the components in a way that makes project erection at the site easy.


Step 10: Component Finishing

If you request special paint, powder coat, sandblasting, or another finish, your vendor will apply this last. Industrial assemblies often require a certain finish to comply with federal regulations and compliance codes. Your vendor should have the latest technology to apply the finish of your choice with ease and finesse. Fabricators may have deluxe paint booth and cutting-edge powder coater to get the job done.


Step 11: Project Ships to Site

At this point, your project is complete! Your vendor will follow your previously agreed-upon shipping arrangement, sending your completed, disassembled components directly to your site location. Ask for tracking details to ensure your project arrives on time.


Step 12: Erection of Final Project

Once the components arrive, your build team erects the final project. Your vendor will have made assembly easy, with prefabricated components that fit together with minimal labour needed.


ASSEMBLY, ERECTION, AND INSTALLATION

The erection of structural steelwork consists of the assembly of steel components into a frame on site. The components are then lifted and placed into position before they are connected.



Generally, connection is achieved through bolting but, in some cases, site welding is used. The assembled frame needs to be aligned to within tolerance expectations (usually defined Standards) before final bolting up is completed. The completed steel frame may then be handed over for further work on internal floors, external cladding, and mechanical and electrical fitments.


In general, the Contractor shall not erect the structural steel girders until the substructure concrete has cured a minimum of seven days and achieved 80% of the 28-day specified concrete strength requirements.


ERECTION SAFETY


There are practical guidelines to follow for the safety of erection of steel structures. It is important to follow such guidelines as they define the planning processes and controls necessary to help support best practice outcomes which mitigate health and safety risks for all stakeholders associated with the erection of steel structures.



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