May 27, 2018


Structural steel detailing is a crucial aspect of the construction lifecycle that is used for residential and commercial buildings, factories, towers, offshore and, marine, etc. Because it is such a crucial phase in the construction ecosystem, even the slightest error or inaccuracy impacts all the stakeholders involved, from the consultants to the fabricators, to the erectors and hence, to the main contractor. This is the reason why a  high level of detail (LOD) is required at the very beginning; when creating the general arrangement (GA), shop and construction drawings.
With the help of these drawings, fabricators and erectors are able to create the components and hence the tiniest detail in these drawings matter. Fabricators rely on material specifications, component sizes, dimensions, surface specs, welding, bolting, painting details, and all other information of columns, beams, joints, braces, trusses, etc, to produce the steel components.

Then the erection teams need detailed drawings or erection drawings that specify precisely where each component needs to be installed or assembled, where the nuts and bold go, etc.


Previously, these were drawings were created manually which, as one can imagine, caused a lot of errors and often, went back to the drawing board to make even the slightest adjustments. Not to mention the communication between all stakeholders.

Change is the only constant in construction; the owner wants to tweak the design, or the contractor wants to change something to save cost. Naturally, these changes need to be communicated as-it-is throughout and that’s where BIM comes in.

BIM, if implemented properly, allows all stakeholders involved not just to bring a level of precision in their work like never before, but also an accuracy of communication that saves the project a lot of costs and drastically increases project delivery.


The 3D aspect in BIM software like Tekla helps the steel detailer visualize and share the details with everyone involved in the fabrication and construction process. This allows various implementations to be explored as well as the owner and contractor can see the end result way before the fabrication process begins. 

The BIM models can be used for early-stage collision detection when data from different applications are combined. As a result, the rich data model becomes an excellent base for improved cost estimation for pricing, bidding or planning.


Steel detailers have the most to gain switching to a 3D steel detailing solution as it can save them heaps of time and money. A lot of repetitive work becomes automated allowing them to focus on things that require more attention and precision. By using a unique BIM software like Tekla Structures, their work can now be defined as LOD400, which means engineering offices can now reduce their risks and add customer value, by minimizing the uncertainty that arises from incomplete and uncoordinated construction drawings.

More benefits of BIM for steel detailers and fabricators can be found HERE.

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Imad Farid

Imad is a full-time marketer at Trimble Inc. and a part-time content creator for various digital publications. Over the years, Imad has written articles, blogs as well as created content for various videos, info-graphics, etc. for various industries. Now working for a technology provider for the construction sector, he specializes in writing and creating content for the construction industry,

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