I've worked in the steel industry for 37 years, and when I first started as a young apprentice Boilermaker back in 1982 I never pictured myself as one day drafting structural steel for a living.
I guess this is the case for many people, rarely do we set out in life knowing exactly what we want to do.
After I became a qualified Boilermaker, I travelled for awhile and worked in many different steel related industries including Agriculture, Ship Building, structural steel and gold mining, it was amazing to see not only how diverse the operations were but also the range of workshop drawings, back then they were all hand drafted primarily because the computer technology was still not advanced enough to produce detailed fabrication drawings from the developed models.
Eventually I returned to Brisbane and started a business doing on-site welding and small fabrication jobs.
The business grew in size and eventually I had a staff of 30 and some of our contracts grew in size accordingly.
I hired contract draftsman and I also did my own internal steel detailing when we needed to get a job through quickly. So after a few years my role changed from being a fabrication manager to controlling our erection crews on site. We bought a 40T crane and started rigging all of our own steel, that's where you learn what a rigger does and how he has to interpret the erection drawings, it's not a skill you can learn in a class room.
Some of the largest businesses in the world recognize the value of promoting within, it means the person at the top of the organization knows the entire industry from the ground up, that's more valuable than knowledge because "experience" is the foundation of knowledge.
You can train a cadet from their very first day in an office environment how to use the Tekla software, but the experience that is derived by working up through the industry can never be truly passed down.
That is why practical experience applied to steel detailing produces the best possible results for the client.
The experienced detailer can identify problems at development stage of a project because he has encountered many of these problem on-site in the past.
He has the experience to advise the engineers of potential erection issues, and presents the drawings exactly how the Riggers want to see them.
The next time you're about to award a steel detailing job, take a moment to consider how much time and money you'll save by having workshop drawings prepared by someone that's been educated from the ground up.