The use of steel, in its many forms, should be considered at the concept design stage. The decision to use steel is strongly dependent on the advantages it offers, including the ability to create architecturally interesting or long-span solutions, savings in the construction program and lighter weight leading to reduced loading on foundations and an ability to retrofit existing buildings.
In its simplest form, the procurement of a steel construction can be thought of as comprising the design process and the construction process in sequence. Ideally, however, the two processes should overlap to ensure the correct translation of architectural intent through the design process and into construction.
In the context of structural design of steel-framed buildings, there are three main stages:
Refer to the design process page for more detail.
Various documentation is created during the design process, including drawings, 3D models and specifications. The ASI has created the National Structural Steelwork Specification (NSSS) to facilitate straightforward implementation of requirements from AS/NZS 5131 ‘Structural steelwork – Fabrication and erection’. This has been an initiative undertaken in collaboration with NATSPEC, whose documentation suite also now reflects the requirements of AS/NZS 5131. Download a free copy of the NSSS in Word or PDF format.
The construction process proper starts with design documentation that is the result of interaction between the architect and structural designer during the design process. The usual stakeholders in the construction process are:
The usual stakeholder interactions during the construction process are illustrated in the schematic below:
The procurement process may be based on competitive tendering in which the key design information is made available to enable pricing by a range of steelwork contractors. For larger projects the steelwork contractor may be engaged in a two-stage design and construction process, in which Stage 1 enables the contractor to value engineer the solution prior to Stage 2, which is the construction package.