Undercutting Steel Detailers = Sabotaging Your Project

I understand the relentless pressure to control costs in steel construction.

But there’s one area where cutting corners will inevitably come back to haunt you: detailing.

Think of those initial detailing estimates as a best-case scenario.

They assume complete designs, a minimal number of RFIs, and the ability to work in an uninterrupted flow.

In the real world, things rarely go so smoothly.

Late-stage design changes, missing information, and unforeseen coordination issues happen.

When they do, your detailer is stuck between a rock and a hard place:

Do they absorb the extra work and compromise on quality?

This is a recipe for errors that become far costlier to fix during fabrication or erection – assemblies that don’t fit, incorrect parts, missed welds, and the need for rework.

Do they fight back with a constant stream of change orders?

This might protect their bottom line, but it throws a wrench into your project schedule and creates friction.

In both scenarios, the detailer’s focus is no longer on proactively making your project buildable – they’re simply trying to keep their head above water.

How to avoid this trap:

It’s not about throwing money at the problem, but it does require a change in perspective:

Recognize that skilled detailers are essential partners in preventing costly downstream problems. Detailing isn’t just about drawings – it’s about problem-solving.

Be prepared to compensate them fairly when changes disrupt their original plan and workflow. No detailer can accurately predict the future.

Prioritize building a collaborative relationship over simply chasing the absolute lowest bid. A good detailer who feels invested will go the extra mile for you.

Neglecting detailing is a false economy.

You might think you can’t afford to invest in it upfront, but the reality is you can’t afford the consequences of doing it poorly.

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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