Steel Detailing Headaches? Top 5 Culprits of Fabrication Delays and How to Fix Them!

Detailing errors can be a significant contributor to the frustration of project delays. To help keep things running smoothly, let’s dive into the top 5 culprits and some strategies to mitigate them.

1. πŸ˜΅β€Missing or Incomplete Information:

Imagine the scenario: a critical dimension is absent from a drawing. The fabricator has to pause, seek clarification, and potentially rework steel. This can quickly add up! In fact, a 2023 survey by the American Fabricators Association ( revealed that 72% of fabricators experienced delays due to incomplete details.

Fix it: Attention to detail is key! Implement a thorough internal review process before releasing drawings for fabrication. Try to foster open communication channels with the fabrication team to clarify any potential uncertainties early on.

2. πŸ“ Dimensional Discrepancies:

Even small measurement errors can create major problems down the line. Mismatched connections or misplaced bolt holes can necessitate costly rework or even field adjustments. Sadly, the NIST estimates that construction rework costs the US a staggering $300 billion annually, with detailing errors contributing significantly.

Fix it: Employ detailing software with built-in error-checking features for added protection. Prioritize measuring tools and ensure they are properly calibrated. Communication (!) protocols remain crucial for addressing discrepancies.

3. πŸŽ‡ Clash Detection Neglect:

Pre-fabricated assemblies arrive on-site, only to clash with other building elements – let a nightmare commence! This leads to delays and potentially expensive modifications.

Fix it: Building Information Modeling (BIM) technology allows for virtual clash detection, helping identify conflicts before fabrication even begins (

4. πŸ“₯ Unclear or Ambiguous Details:

Even a complete detail with unclear or confusing specifications can create confusion for the fabricator. This leads to wasted time and the potential for errors.

Fix it: Establish clear and concise detailing standards across your organization. Utilize notes and annotations to provide context and eliminate ambiguity wherever possible. Consider including illustrative details or even 3D models for especially complex connections.

5. 🐌 Delayed Review and Approval Cycles:

The fabrication process depends on timely review and approval of detailing work. If this stage is delayed, it can cascade into schedule disruptions.

Fix it: Set clear timelines for review cycles and involve all relevant stakeholders upfront. Utilize online collaboration tools to streamline the approval process and avoid unnecessary bottlenecks. Faster decision-making means a smoother overall project timeline.

Got any detailing horror stories to share?

About the Author:

Igor Goriatchev – Owner & CEO at ESD Solutions. Helping Fabricators To Make Steel Real. We simplify steel detailing workflows and deliver accurate, error-free detailing solutions.

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