Development Stages of Steel Detailing
Development Stages of Steel Detailing
08May 2019
By Admin - Cadeploy

Development Stages of Steel Detailing

Steel detailing is a precarious and multi-layered phase in the course of constructing anything made out of steel be it buildings, industrial plants, bridges, elevators, or non-building structures.  The structural engineer and/or architect projects an idea about a project and puts on paper in a broad manner.  These drawings could also contain items linked to mechanical systems which pertain to the fabrication of the steel members.

Next, in the steel detailing phase, the steel detailer takes these design drawings and converts them into meticulous diagrams for each steel piece. The steel detailer produces drawings and plans for the making and erection of steel members such as beams, trusses, columns, braces, stairs and handrails, and joists.

Shop Drawings

In steel detailing, the detailer’s drawings covering the making of these steel pieces are called shop drawings.  They classify the precise specifications for fabricating each member/piece of a structure.

The steel fabricator uses these drawings, (also called detail drawings) to produce these members.  With steel detailing, comprehensive shop drawings may include for each piece:

  • Size
  • Material description
  • Required dimensions
  • Surface preparation
  • Bolting
  • Welding
  • Painting requirements
  • Manufacturing conventions
  • Special fabricating guidelines.

With steel detailing, once the steel fabricator produces the steel members, the steel detailer steps in again and produces the drawings for the erection of the steel members in the field. These are called erection drawings.

Erection Drawings

It is the construction site steel erector who refers these drawings in the steel detailing process, in order to know how and where to build with the fabricated steel pieces. Included in the erection drawings are dimensional plans to identify the steel members, in addition to all work required on the site including welding, bolting, and installing masonry anchors.

Additional Duties and Responsibilities for the detailer in the steel detailing process:


  • Observes design drawing parameters and with industry standards like those of the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) and the American Welding Society (AWS).
  • Presenting the drawings to the structural engineer and/or architect for evaluation before their release to the fabricator.
  • In cases where structural drawings have insufficient information, offers links subject to the sanction of the structural engineer.
  • If the detailer is uncertain about any information which prevents him from completing the drawings, they send a request for information (RFI) to the relevant parties before continuing.
  • Sends his drawing to another steel detailer (labeled the “checker”) for completeness and accuracy.
  • To monitor changes during the drawing creation process identifies the revisions by assigning an associated number or letter code in the drawing revision block.
  • Must resolve any comments which may have come out of the checking and approval process.


Traditionally steel detailing was carried out manually by pencils, rulers, templates of circles, triangles, drafters, drafting machines, etc. Later, these primitive methodologies were substituted by Computer Aided Designing (CAD), a specific software used only for designing in 2D.

The Computer Aided Design CAD was also replaced by some advanced and powerful software for this modern era construction to make things easier, faster and cost-effective with a high degree of output, than never before.

When it comes to Steel detailing industry in specific, the software used to produce the best output becomes precisely critical. Our expert teams at Cadeploy use SDS/2, Tekla, Advanced Steel, Revit AutoCAD and Reinforced Concrete detailing AKA Rebar.

Although the cost for the SDS/2 and Tekla is way too high compared to AutoCAD, it is the most efficient software in terms of workability and generating top quality output. One can visualize the final output in 3 Dimension, identify the Field welding locations with ease, the Erection procedure becomes very easy for the fabricators which the AutoCAD fails to do. Almost the entire industry has transitioned from AutoCAD to either SDS/2, Tekla or Advanced steel.


Furthermore, the SDS/2 and Tekla software are highly rated due to their report generation capabilities. The Field bolt lists / shop bold lists, .kss files, Fabtrol reports, material summary and Advanced Bill of Materials can be generated. This gives a high edge of this software to be the showstoppers in the industry for detailing, for a long time to go.


The most important reason for this switch to the latest software is to cut down on the time taken for the delivering the final product, thus it cuts down the project cost and improves the project tracking, scheduling and impacting the overall project success.

Projects can easily be tracked and scheduled to report. This helps in planning and controlling the projects.