David R

Measuring steel for fabricator

Recommended Posts

Hi Folks,

 

I am attempting to have steel fabricated and installed for my two level house extension and I am running into problems with measuring the steel structure.

 

The engineer and architect have point blank refused to provide steel dimensions ( lengths and heights ) for my extension.  They along with the fabricators have said that it is the main contractors responsibility to provide these dimensions.  As this will be a self build, the responsibility is mine to provide dimensions for the fabricator.   

 

I do not feel confident about providing the sizes.  We have poured the foundations and had a surveyor mark out the points for installation of the beams and blockwork. But nobody I have spoken to are willing to provide the service of structural steel measurement.   

 

Can anyone point me in the right direction of someone who has the ability to measure up my steelwork, of should I take a stab at it myself?  Getting a bit tired of looking at the flooded strip foundations.

 

Thanks in advance "any" advice on this would be appreciated.

 

 

David

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello David, 

No one will want to take the responsibility when it's an extension, where in Fife are you? Might be worth getting a contractor on board to help with the steelwork erection as a package of work?

We did previously use a firm in fife (iirc) who surveyed the foundations as built on a site, but yours is (potentially) more complex dealing with an existing building - what extent of steel work do you have and what are the critical points?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It would be handy if you have a survey of the existing structure and the foundations as well as the proposed location for the steels in the existing building.

 

The architect and engineer should be able to prepare accurate drawings and confirm sizes and just make them subject to site checks by main contractor - to cover arses.

 

I assume the steel fabricator is supply and install?  He should also produce some fabrication drawings.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi,

 

Thanks for the quick responses.

 

 I am just out side Dunfermline, you are correct nobody wants to take any responsibility.  I am in the process of trying to get a builder to give me a quote for the masonary work and the first fix as well as installing the steel. It may well 

be the only way ahead.

 

 From speaking to another steel fabricator today, they seem to think that working with a contractor to give them at least some definitive sizes is the way ahead. They are coming to site tomorrow. so I will find out what are the definitive sizes they need. I do not feel experience enough to define to the millimeter where the steel stops and the timber starts.   It seems very strange that I can not find an expert to pay to do the steel drawings.

 

The extension is 11m x 6m, open plan living room and dining room, so will require some quite large beams. Second floor has a pitched roof with steel forming the apex.  The surveyor has defined where the brick line and steels should be. He did initially say he was going to size the steel but shied away in the end. This was important as it Is a sloping site with steps down through the 50cm stone wall from the old part of the house to the new extension. 

 

 

Mr Punter, I have had the survey carried out, now I have a surveyor, engineer and architect who will not supply me with a steel drawing.

There is no point in asking any of them in any manner whether they can help any further on this issue.  

 

Yes, the steel fabricator is supply and install, the one I am keen to use as he is only along the road, everyone in the area seems to use him but he only works from supplied drawings.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

so if you doing any sort of building in scotland ,then you need a building control warrant .

 

they will want to see the plans which will give the steel sizes , and also the structural engineers calculations 

 

I am guessing from what you say you do not have one

 

 

Edited by scottishjohn

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Have you not got a structural engineer, you will need one to size the steel according to the load to be carried and the spans involved. 

 

I have had two engineers at my place the first one did everything for the house, then I suddenly wanted to change an opening so gave him a call, he said he couldn’t do anything for a couple of weeks, so I walked into the local structural engineering co in my town and they did a one of job for this new beam for a couple of hundred quid. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
46 minutes ago, David R said:

Mr Punter, I have had the survey carried out, now I have a surveyor, engineer and architect who will not supply me with a steel drawing.

There is no point in asking any of them in any manner whether they can help any further on this issue.  

 

That is appalling - it's hardly rocket science, especially with the CAD tools easily accessible these days. If it were me I'd likely do it myself if that's the attitude the "professionals" are going to take.

Edited by Reiver

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, Reiver said:

That is appalling - it's hardly rocket science, especially with the CAD tools easily accessible these days. If it were me I'd likely do it myself if that's the attitude the "professionals" are going to take.

I tried that when I modified my workshop and fitted another bolton brady eurofold door same as the other two already fitted,which came with uprights and 6 x 3 I beam for top -complete kit which i then attached to the steel frame of the building just to be sure 

would not accept bolton bradys drawings

building control insisted i get a structural engineers report --another £300 wasted 

just typical of planning + building control 

 

same as i was going to fit a sprinkler system ---all parts available -but to get it passed by BC ,even though I or a fire engineer fitted it I needed to spend £5k for a bit of paper from a fire engineer designer 

 parts for system were half that price

so it didn,t happen 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, scottishjohn said:

I tried that when I modified my workshop and fitted another bolton brady eurofold door same as the other two already fitted,which came with uprights and 6 x 3 I beam for top -complete kit which i then attached to the steel frame of the building just to be sure 

would not accept bolton bradys drawings

building control insisted i get a structural engineers report --another £300 wasted 

just typical of planning + building control 

 

same as i was going to fit a sprinkler system ---all parts available -but to get it passed by BC ,even though I or a fire engineer fitted it I needed to spend £5k for a bit of paper from a fire engineer designer 

 parts for system were half that price

so it didn,t happen 

"Jobs for the boys" still rules then it would seem 😒

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I find this a complete joke. And it is unfortunately pure and simple that the people you are dealing with don't have the confidence and hence comprtence to do the job. 

 

Your SE NEEDS to size the beam. I.e. the section of the beam (its called I value or second moment of area) and it sized based on where the loads are applied to it. 

 

However prior to them doing that they need a good survey so if you have that I don't see the issue?  

 

It is worth noting 'sizing steels' and measuring the size of the where the steels are going are different things. 

 

How did you dig the founds if there is no design?

 

I am a mechanical engineer and deal regularly with approval and certifying fabrication drawings for large structures. One bit of advice I'd give is to build in some tolerance undersizing (the lengths not steel sections) as you can always shim it to meet but you can't make it smaller.

 

I do know good surveyor in east Kilbride who may help and provide definitive lengths etc if you are looking for a new surveyor. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Out of interest @David R have you employed the consultants for construction phase or have they just been employed up to warrant stage?

 

The thing is, what you are asking them to do is not a straight forward task on an extension project (especially one with a stone wall!) and it carries a good bit of liability if it's incorrect! (we recently completed a building in fife where we placed a steel frame inside some stone walls and the walls were 300mm out on the vertical in some places!)

 

If we were being asked to confirm exact steel frame dimensions on site we'd need accurate 3d survey information of the site once the pad foundations are in, there aren't many architects or engineers who carry survey equipment capable of doing that, so it would be a third party survey and then it's a complex drawing exercise for them to work through - if it was a new steel frame for a new build it's a different kettle of fish!

Normally the contractor would do the founds and provide information to the fabricator which would then be checked by the architect/engineers, rather than the other way around. if the steel comes to site and someone has given incorrect dimensions then it's their liability and they need to solve the problem, hence why it's usually a contractor responsible 

 

I think there are lots of comments in here which are misunderstanding the issue you are having (and the process of bum covering from local authorities and consultants!)

Edited by the_r_sole

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
27 minutes ago, the_r_sole said:

If we were being asked to confirm exact steel frame dimensions on site we'd need accurate 3d survey information of the site once the pad foundations are in, there aren't many architects or engineers who carry survey equipment capable of doing that

Can't help wondering how structures have been erected without such technology, in days gone by.....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
33 minutes ago, Nickfromwales said:

Can't help wondering how structures have been erected without such technology, in days gone by.....

 

Probably by not using mm accurate steel fabricated off site and by a contractor who fixes issues as they go! 

If you fragment the process and introduce liability to people who don't usually have it, it won't be straightforward.

And extending stone old buildings with new steelwork always needs a bit of jiggery pokery which in this case no one wants to be the cause of it 😂

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
34 minutes ago, Nickfromwales said:

Can't help wondering how structures have been erected without such technology, in days gone by.....

 

Well maybe Gustave Eiffel had a Total Station and just kept it quiet.  Shared it with the Forth Bridge chaps.  And Brunel.  They bought it from Abraham Darby.

  • Haha 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A survey of an existing building can be very basic. I have previously been engineer and erection manager on many small, medium and large scale projects where we were supplying and installing quite complex steelwork for new build and refurb works.

The surveys were often carried out with a tape measure, plumb bob and a site level.

Steelwork into existing building connections is often left over length if going onto pads or an allowance for shims or grouting if face fixed to existing walls etc.

Your engineer should provide the details for steel section sizes, connection details and overall dimensions etc. but the fabricator can and should determine allowances for connections into existing structure.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, Mr Punter said:

Well maybe Gustave Eiffel had a Total Station and just kept it quiet.  Shared it with the Forth Bridge chaps.  And Brunel.  They bought it from Abraham Darby.

my guess is they just over specced things by a big margin 

would be interesting to run a sim on forth bridge and see just how much they  over speced the things --good one for a uni student to do for a project 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Folks,

 

So many replies, thank you everyone for your advice.  I do have full building warrant, engineers drawings and architects drawings, plus the services of a surveyor with a total station. I ended up pouring the founds myself as the crew left a la del boy chandelier cleaning style. I will leave that story for now. 

 

Everyone is correct Eiffel and Brunel had square shoulders and knew a bit about jiggery pokery.  I feel that if we give a contractor enough work on the job they can facture in some error into the price.  If a main contractor was doing the entire job there would be no issue as he would have enough lee way in the price if a beam or post needed re done on site.   

 

  I have not employed any consultants for the construction phase, I was not aware that this service existed.    The steel structure is straight forward enough the rear wall of the house is super straight having been rendered a couple of times, the surveyor confirmed this. There is no steel going inside walls and we have determined floor levels. 

 

We have a structural engineer coming at 11.00 to give me build and install quote, he seems plain talking and sensible. I will report back as to his comments.   

 

It was a wild night last night, I have not seen or heard an electrical storm like that since southern Spain.  The founds are full of water so I will have to go turn the pumps on, once again!

Edited by David R

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Today was a game of mixed results

 

The steel fabricator came to site, expressed his opinion about the architect. He told me that he was certified under the regulations and that the bloke round the corner was not and his steel would be " illegal" and if I used his steel and had a fire my insurance company if they found out would not pay out!   Up until this point he was talking a lot of sense and pointing out which levels  I would need to give him.

 

Has anyone heard of the need to use an accredited steel manufacturer, can my steel structure be illegal?

 

He did send me a quote which was 3 times the bloke round the the corner's quote.  If it had been double I would have accepted as he seemed like he knew what he was doing but still no commitment to sizes. That would be my job! 

 

TOC top of concrete,  ( my surveyor did this ) TOS top of steel and the height of the house.   Does anyone know how to measure to the  the ridge of your house?

 

The builder I thought who would do the block work, steel and joinery, had to be pushed and asked to "close the loop" said the job was not of interest. Reading between the lines he could not measure the steel either!  

 

I have another steel person coming on Monday his quote is twice the bloke round the corner, fingers crossed.

 

The good thing about talking to lots of tradesmen and getting quotes is that it informs you more and more about the process of the build. 

Edited by David R

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, David R said:

Has anyone heard of the need to use an accredited steel manufacturer, can my steel structure be illegal?

 

I don't think he's bs'ing you tbh:

 

https://www.designingbuildings.co.uk/wiki/BS_EN_1090

 

This is the fab company I use. See how they have their CE accreditation on their home page.

 

http://www.pwnash.co.uk/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

He was certified under what regulations. 

Having EN 1090 accreditation only means you can self certify and provides a level of confidence they follow process.

 

I could bet 100 quid the steel this guy buys will be from the same stockist.....and no different.  The important point is that is is right correct grade and that the section depth has been calculated correctly. 

 

Unfortunately I don't have the experience in structural steel requirements in the construction industry but hope you are not being taken for a run. 

 

If it was me....I'd pin down the SE to provide a section depth and material grade - he can calculate this with your approx measurements (even if they are off by 5-10mm) and then I would get a fabricator involved to make it and ask them for advice measuring up on site and sort with them or a surveyor and take a little risk on by yourself. Anyone with a total station should get that bang on in no time. 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, SuperJohnG said:

 

 

If it was me....I'd pin down the SE to provide a section depth and material grade - he can calculate this with your approx measurements (even if they are off by 5-10mm) 

 

 

 

that's not the problem here, the steel sections and grades will be fully designed as they would be in the SER certificate approved in the building warrant - the op is struggling to get someone to provide the steel frame dimensions on site as they have poured the founds themselves and don't have a main contractor responsible for site measurement, it will be approximately sized on the drawings, but no one knows the levels the op has installed the founds to, the exact geometry of the wall or the ridge height it needs to tie in with...

Edited by the_r_sole

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

SuperJohnG  I have full structural engineers drawings approved with building warrant.  What I lack is the heights, but I will calculate this from the plans.  I just need to go through the pain barrier of doing so.  My biggest issue is conceptualizing the entire steel frame from the plans. I thought I could pay someone to do this, but it appears that this is not the case nobody wants to be liable for getting it wrong and then having to sort it.   I am unsure how wrong it could go, as long as the build is below roof height of the existing build, even then I doubt a wee bit over would bother building control.

 

13 hours ago, the_r_sole said:

but no one knows the levels the op has installed the founds to, the exact geometry of the wall or the ridge height it needs to tie in with...

 

This is not quite true but true enough to put a main contractor off if he had work elsewhere. At this point I am not looking for a main contractor, not at the prices I have been quoted so far.    The surveyor, architect and engineer have all seen the founds pre pour, probably worth nothing to a main contractor. The wall is as straight as they come, but being 100 years plus old will always throw up issues.  as for the ridge height I think I can measure down through an attic hatch. to the ground floor and work from there.  

 

When I got the surveyor in originally I wanted measurements to cross reference with the steel fabricator not to give to them and say build this.  Any how, I have one more fabricator to come back to me and one that has quoted coming to inspect the job on Monday.   

 

Yesterday the steel fabricator inspecting the site wanted to build the entire frame in the field then crane it into place on to the studs and into the one wall pocket, more days on site I guess. Has anyone heard of this being done?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On site fab is often done on small fiddly jobs where the effort to survey and draw up etc outweighs the work needed to complete the job, or the fabricator may not have workshop facilities (we used to call them snagging gangs), either way, it can be a very cost effective ... but keep an eye on them if wanting to work on day rates as opposed to a fixed price.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Why not break the job into two bits, fabricate the first floor and standard details then bring it to site and fabricate the rest on site when it will be easier to get exact measurements. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now