What Is Steel Detailing?

March 9, 2023 8:47 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Steel detailing is a critical element of any steel engineering project. It involves designing and drafting shop and erection drawings that can be used by the fabrication shop, which in turn will create the steel components required to build the structure. This process is essential for all parties involved to ensure that the finished structure meets its intended specifications.


Steel is a versatile material that can be used to build buildings and bridges. However, miscalculations and errors can lead to disasters. This is where structural steel detailing comes into play. It is an essential part of the construction process that demands near-99% accuracy at all stages. It connects engineers, architects, contractors and fabricators at different stages of the project to ensure that all components are designed and manufactured correctly. A detailed design includes information on material specifications, component sizes and dimensions, surface specs, welding and bolting details, etc. Besides, it also depicts the location of each steel component within the overall structure.


Drafters and detailers play a vital role in any structure built with steel, not only because they are responsible for the look and function of a structure but also how it is fabricated and installed. Traditionally, drafters used manual drafting methods and drafting tools to create blueprints for shop workers or erectors but today, a much more common method is to use computer-aided drafting (CAD). This involves creating drawings on a computer using software specifically designed for the job and printing them out on paper only when they are complete. Beyond the shop drawings, a steel detailer may also be required to provide other significant documents for a project. These may include a BoM (Bill of Materials), a BIM model, material files for production tracking software, and separate sub-assembly details. 

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