Choosing the right structural steel contractor can significantly impact the success of your building project. There are many factors to consider, from understanding the basics of structural steel construction to assessing the financial implications and risks. Once you’re confident about the needs, budget, timeline, challenges, and ideal structural steel contractor for your project, you’ll be able to find the best professionals for the job.
The Basics of Structural Steel Construction
What is Structural Steel?
Structural steel is made from steel alloys that have high strength, durability, and flame resistance. Structural steel shapes come in a range of standardized profiles such as wide flange beams, channels, angles and plates.
Different Types of Structural Steel Projects
There are many applications for structural steel in the building and construction industry, including:
- High-rise buildings – Steel framing for columns, beams, trusses
- Bridges – Steel plates, box girders, cables
- Stadiums – Trusses, space frames, steel bleachers
- Industrial structures – Silo storage systems, foundations, equipment supports
Choosing the right contractor for your specific applications is crucial for the integrity of your project. For example, an industrial manufacturing company would benefit from a structural steel contractor building their equipment support or plant bridge.
Importance of Structural Steel in the Construction Industry
Structural steel offers several benefits in commercial, institutional and infrastructure projects:
- High strength-to-weight ratio – Steel is both strong and lightweight.
- Speed of construction – Steel components can be mass-produced and quickly erected on site.
- Durability – Steel has a long service life with proper maintenance.
- Design flexibility – Steel can be used to create unique shapes and long-spanning structures.
- Sustainability – Steel is 100% recyclable and frequently reused.
Important Criteria for Selecting a Structural Steel Contractor
Choosing a competent structural steel contractor is key to executing a successful project. Here are some critical factors to consider:
The Contractor’s Experience and Expertise
Look for an established company with years of hands-on experience completing successful structural steel jobs. They should have expertise across the entire process, from estimating and detailing to fabrication and erection. This means having a skilled team of structural steel estimators, steel erectors, structural steel fitters and fabricators, and more. Experienced contractors will understand common challenges and have proven systems to deliver projects on time and on budget.
Licensing and Certification
Make sure the structural steel contractor has all required business licenses, insurance and bonding. Reputable companies will have additional certifications such as AISC Certification, which validates their workmanship and project execution abilities.
Project Management Approach and Capability
The contractor should demonstrate a collaborative approach to project management. This includes clear communication, coordination with other trades, change management, schedule management, submittal review and quality control. They should have the staffing and management bandwidth to deliver multiple projects simultaneously.
Financial Considerations and Risk Assessment
Quotes and Cost-Effectiveness
Compare bid amounts between contractors. The lowest bid may not equate to the best value once you factor in experience, team, schedule and project approach. Feel free to negotiate pricing, but be wary of unrealistically low bids.
Understanding Risks and Safety Measures
Discuss project risks and the contractor’s safety track record. Responsible structural steel contractors will have safety-focused project management systems. This includes:
- Daily briefings
- Job hazard analyses
- Proper equipment inspections
- Strict use of fall protection
Quality and Customer Service
Quality Control Measures
Ask each contractor about their QA/QC (Quality Assurance/Quality Control) processes, including:
- Submittal reviews
- Non-conformance reporting
Reputable contractors will not cut corners on quality.
Time Management and Deadlines
Verify the contractor’s capability to prepare accurate schedules and sequences and meet milestones. Understand their staffing levels and flexibility to expedite work if needed.
Communication and Customer Service
Ensure your structural steel contractor of choice will provide you with regular progress updates through meetings and reports. Confirm they will be responsive to requests for information (RFIs) and changes. Remember, strong customer service leads to successful partnerships.
Make SW Funk Industrial Contractors Your Trusted Structural Steel Contractor
With over 40 years of expertise and a solid reputation in the industry, SW Funk Industrial Contractors has established itself as a trusted partner for clients in need of reliable and high-quality structural steel solutions. But don’t just take our word for it — our growing list of returning customers speaks for itself.
Our dedicated team of professionals is well-versed in all aspects of structural steel fabrication and erection, ensuring that your project will be handled with the utmost skill and precision. From initial planning to final delivery, we prioritize customer satisfaction and work closely with you to understand your unique challenges and requirements.
With a commitment to safety, efficiency, and innovation, SW Funk Industrial Contractors is the obvious choice for any structural steel job. Contact us to discuss the needs of your upcoming project.