Every ton of steel removed during the structural steel design phase can cut from $800 to $1,000 dollars out of a project in material costs alone. Many costs generated during the structural steel design phase can be reduced or avoided altogether, including both supply-side costs and project-side costs.
Supply-side costs include the warehousing of the steel for the upcoming project, the detailing hours, the manufacturing hours, the number of delivery trucks. Project-side costs include the labor related to on-site staging, erection hours, added work and rework.
Most visible to the building team are the project side costs. These costs are often related to clashes, such as when a mechanical run conflicts with the web members of a steel joist. Clashes often manifest in rework and back charges. The back charges are addressed by contingency fees. The contingency fees may be based on a percentage of total project costs, with the expectation that there will be a certain percentage of costs due to unplanned structural oversights. This cost contingency approach varies by construction management method and by individual contract, but is principally the same: At the end of a project, somebody has to pay for the lack of up front design collaboration.
Back-end contingency fees are a poor substitute for front-end structural steel planning. Proactive engineering during the structural steel design phase can assure that the many seemingly small cost events do not add up to create an extended project timeline, a delayed move-in date, lost retail revenues and lost occupancy income.
Online Credit-Hour Course: Progressive Steel Joist and Metal Decking Design
This AIA credited course takes a building owner's perspective on the range of cost and performance improvements that are possible when using a more design-analytical and collaborative approach to steel joist and metal decking construction. 1.0 AIA LU credit / 1.0 PDH credit.
A new generation of steel joist and deck look-up tools are addressing the needs for faster and easier product designation. These free web-based and mobile app specification tools offer the added benefit of guiding product designations that are based on actual, load-based project requirements, with potentially significant total-project cost elimination.
The axial loads caused by a rigid moment frame will develop secondary moments (M=+/- P x Ecc.) in the joist chords, especially when the load path is through the joists seats and column connection.
Online steel deck specification tools enable the specifier to select design methodology (ASD or LRFD); deck application (roof, form, or composite); deck type; gage; and yield stress. To help reduce total project costs as well as the project timelines, standard gage and standard yield stress selections are presented by the tool. Alternate gage and non-standard yield stress designations are also available.
Expanded special profile steel joist specification tables are easily accessed using online joist designation tools. These tools allow the specifier to compare heavier joist options to eliminate OSHA Erection Bridging, a design decision that can remove significant labor and scheduling costs from the erection phase of the project.
K-Series and LH/DLH Series steel joist look-up tools give the specifier the option of comparing steel joist designations based on lowest weight or lowest cost calculations. Other options include using ASD or LRFD design methodology and the resulting steel joist designation expressed in either U.S. or metric units of measure.
Discover the easiest way to specify steel joists and steel decking
Backed by New Millennium's database of SJI 43rd Edition tables and boosted by our very own economical load tables, these tools are designed to make steel joist and metal decking specification faster and easier than ever before possible.
A recent survey of 192 construction professionals found that 32% of respondents said that the structural steel drawings from the engineer of record (EOR) were seldom complete; 46% said the resulting request for information (RFI) process was either very often required or always required.
Incomplete drawings and prolonged RFI cycles have long been characteristic of traditional bid-build project delivery. Unlike more evolved methods, the traditional bid-build process has pushed potentially important joist, deck and beam design engineering considerations downstream away from the building team's early design discussions. This has effectively tended to discourage design contributions from the steel joist and deck engineering company, which has been given access to the project based not on engineering ideas, but on being the lowest qualified bid to produce a steel package whose drawings may be significantly incomplete.
The traditional bid-build approach has burdened all sides with incomplete structural drawings and an RFI process that is largely transactional, inefficiently prolonged, and too often used to document and defend attempts at communication, rather than to foster genuine collaboration.
A further example of the inefficiency of traditional bid-build project delivery is in the area of structural steel joist and deck detailing. Detailing can often create delays that are overlooked on a traditional bid-build project. But when the joist and deck company is brought in early to contribute to the design of the project, the company can help the EOR complete their drawings and integrate these into the plan, instead of trying to backfill. This provides for a much more constructive and efficient design flow.
Online Credit-Hour Course: Design-Build Approach to Steel Joists and Metal Decking
This course outlines a range of project cost and performance improvements achievable using the design-build approach to steel joist and metal deck design. 1.0 AIA LU credit / 1.0 PDH credit.