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Structural Steel Detailer

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Structural steelwork detailers specialise in preparing detailed shop drawings for the manufacture and erection of the steel framework used in the construction of buildings, bridges and other steel structures. For this they use 2D and 3D computer-aided drafting (CAD) software.

It is necessary for the steel detailer to extract the information needed by the steel fabricator from the structural engineer’s drawings. Complete shop drawings show material sizes and dimensions of the steel members to be used (such as beams, columns and trusses) as well as welding, bolting and surface treatment requirements and all other information needed by the fabricator to complete the job.

To ensure accuracy and completeness, the steel detailer’s drawings are submitted to an important review process. They are generally checked by the structural engineer and architect for accuracy and compliance with the design and dimensional layout, as well as by another steel detailer, before they are delivered to the fabricator.

Detailing requires drafting skills including a knowledge of geometry and trigonometry as well as problem solving, good spatial visualisation and logic. If you have an interest in structures, enjoy computers and design, can produce accurate and detailed work and have good communication skills, then you might gain great satisfaction from this career.


Some examples of TAFE courses:

  • Certificate III in Computer Aided Drafting
  • Certificate IV in Structural Design
  • Diploma of Engineering Drafting/ Diploma of Manufacturing (Structural Steel Detail)

Entry requirement for a Certificate III or IV or Diploma is usually completion of Year 12 or equivalent preferably with maths.

It is highly recommended to combine coursework with a cadetship within the industry, enabling you to earn while you learn.


List of TAFE colleges:

The Structural Steel Detailer

“To be a steel detailer you need to understand how things go together and put them down on paper. Without this the fabricator cannot load his machines to make the steel components of a building.

I visualise the building before I even start the detailing process. This puts things into perspective and then the rest is solving problems like clash detection where components don’t fit.

Most important is to be able to communicate. As the interface between the engineer and the fabricator I need to resolve problems and explain to others the solution.

3D modelling is the new boy on the block with implications which are far reaching. Imagine a model which has all the small components making up a large structure that will drive computer controlled machines, load trucks in the right sequence and possibly also control costs.

This is a new area for the steel industry and one in which the new guys will excel due to their computer skills. Training is at TAFE and in-house and at the end of the day you have a well-paid in-demand job.”

Chris Velovski
Managing Director, Detailing Company

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