Structural Steel Detailing: Most Critical in Steel Construction

Structural Steel Detailing

Structural steel detailing is the creation of elaborate drawings for steel erectors and fabricators for utilization in the construction of buildings, bridges and other steel erections. It’s a tedious job and a very important process in the manufacturing and the construction sectors. 

The level of accuracy needs to be very high and the smallest error in design can give rise to loss of energy, time and money. It brings together various professionals such as engineers, contractors, steel fabricators and others under its own auspices with regard to a project. 

It’s the primary responsibility of each member to maintain individually or collectively the level of accuracy in every step. Structural detailing service is a strategic planner as far as the fabricators and the contractors are concerned. It entails the process of exhaustive and intricate drawings which is the fundamental part of any construction project.


Structural steel detailing was accomplished in earlier days by way of manual drafting methods. With the passage of time, organizations used logarithm tables, calculators and various mathematical tools for steel detailing. However, of late, companies have started using CAD software. 

The software makes the steel detailing process faster and easier, although it still depends on professionals with requisite skills for it to be absolutely precise and accurate. Several drawings require to be drawn by a structural steel detailing engineer before finalizing one. Then the diagrams have to pass through a few phases. The concerned engineers and architects receive copies for their scrutiny and analysis. The approved drawing is forwarded for steel fabrications. Otherwise, alterations are incorporated according to the suggestions of experts. This cycle is repeated until the final consent and recommendation about the detailing arrives.

There can be two different types of drawings, they are,

1. Shop Drawings

The drawings specify all information related to the detailing work such as, all required dimensions, member sizes, steel materials, bolt hole details, welding details, painting requirements and other data explaining each completed member. The process in detailed drawings gives the project owner, contractor or fabricator all the particulars and characteristics of the steel pieces or components. Shop drawings encompass all information with respect to fabrication that play major roles in the structural steel detailing work. The drawings are relevant to fabrication work only and not related to the erection and installation of the metal elements.

2. Erection Drawings

These drawings help to specify the spot and placement of a steel component within the structure being built. Together with identification and location of the fabricated parts, the diagrams also display information about the connections they must have with other members. They include the blueprint and particulars with respect to the placement and location of each element of the structure. They also include fieldwork information regarding installation of bolts and welding spots. General Arrangement drawing (GA drawing), marking plans, marking elevations and 3D marking are also included in these drawings.

Some advantages of Structural steel detailing

1. It aids contractors in estimating the requisite manpower, materials, tools and equipment, which ultimately reduces the project cost.

2. It facilitates the erection of a sturdy and strong structure.

3. It extends the visualization limit while paving the way for effective communication between everyone concerned.

4. It offers a single platform for all technical bodies associated with a project.


Structural steel detailing is a key process and most critical within the ambit of projects for commercial and residential buildings, public projects and industrial sites etc. It transforms broad documentation into elaborate diagrams, descriptions and figures. 

The usual practice is the utilization of subcontracted steel detailing services. Nowadays, there’s a growing trend to outsource detailing services to other companies. So, seasoned and proficient experts get to execute the projects, and they are completed on time, accomplished within a budget while the highest industry standards are complied with.


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