In many construction projects, the first time anyone thinks about bringing in a structural steel expert is when there are problems: When a lawsuit has been filed, when the building is months behind schedule, when cost overruns have finally edged over into the territory of potential larceny. An expert can be very beneficial at that stage, of course, helping to analyze decisions, materials, costs, and other factors and offer you either an explanation as to why things have gone wrong, or the ammunition you need to win concessions or even a settlement from those involved.
However, this could be termed the ‘Wait for Something Bad to Happen’ strategy, which is not very forward-looking. Instead, a better strategy is to hire an expert who knows their structural steel from the outset, for one simple reason: They will be able to assist you in the planning phase that most directly impacts your total construction and materials costs: Getting shop fabrication labor estimates.
Fabricating steel is a complex process that requires precise understandings of both the structure’s exterior and aesthetic look and its internal purpose and use. Load, density, and other factors will impact the cost of fabrication, but the one constant that can be most effectively negotiated over are the labor costs. Skilled labor is required for structural steel to be produced to specs, and like all labor it has a particular value attached to it that can be adjusted by mutual agreement.
Your expert in structural steel can help you negotiate this aspect of the costs, which can have a beneficial effect on the budget throughout the entire construction phase of the project. Hire your expert at the outset, don’t wait until problems arise much later in the process.