6 Important Questions to Ask Your Structural Steel Fabricator

Welder working on steel structure on site.Steel fabrication has come a long way in recent years, but the effectiveness and impact of new techniques are limited without the right fabricator. Structural steel fabricators can cut, drill, form and weld this versatile metal to match your specific needs, transforming it into components that will then be used to complete your project.  The following questions will help you find a reliable structural steel fabricator.

1. What is their level of experience?

There is much more to experience than just the number of years a particular company has been in operation. In particular, it is important to determine whether or not the company has taken on other projects like yours. Be specific and try to find out about similar past projects by the fabricator. A structural steel fabricator which has completed the same type of projects that resemble the work you require is ideal.

2. What are their most commonly utilized internal processes?

You expect the best as a customer, and in order to receive it you will need to find a company with reliably implemented internal processes. Inquiring about the processes your structural steel fabricator has most often implemented is important. Every structural steel fabricator should, for example, adhere to the AWS D1.1 code, which illustrates the types of materials and processes which should be used in structural steel fabrication procedures. Adherence to these standards is a must to lead to a well made product.

finished structure leaving facility on Semi truck flatbed.3. Do they finish products in-house or outsource them?

Commonly used techniques like blasting and painting keep changing for the better. As such, finding a fabrication company which utilizes the latest technology to perform such processes can be a major benefit. In-house fabrication and finishing also guarantees superior products than outsourcing. A structural steel fabrication company that can not only perform the welding and fabrication necessary but also finish your project in-house and give it its final look can be a great boon to any company in need.

4. Does the fabricator provide detailing?

Although technical, asking whether a fabricator implements steel detailing is important. The main work of the detailers to convert your idea into real steel pieces with precise measurements. For that to happen, established fabricating companies utilize detailers who use the latest software applications for detailing the blueprints into shop drawings.

5. What equipment do they utilize?

Swanton Welding's Ficep Beam LineYou need to be certain about the type of equipment a fabricator uses. In fact, it’s wise to at least partially choose fabricators based on the tools they have at their disposal. For example, fabricators with innovative equipment like beam lines are more likely to deliver complex projects on time, increasing productivity and enhancing quality all at a lower cost to the client. Fabricators who choose to continue on with outdated equipment to save a little money in the short term are putting themselves at a great disadvantage.

6. How do they hire their talent?

Request a brief report on the hiring policies that the structural steel fabricator uses. The guidelines of the policy will be informative as to how the company locates its welders and fabricators. If the policies are clear on only hiring and / or training welders that are certified by the AWS Certification Department that is a good indication that their work will be up to par.

These are just a few of the questions you can (and should) ask when selecting a structural steel fabrication company. Remember, just because a fabricator has the right materials that doesn’t mean they’re qualified to handle your project. They also need the right people, the right experience and the right outlook. Asking these questions can get you a great deal closer to determining who is right for your project.

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