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Structural Steel Erector

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The steel erector's job begins when the off-site steel fabrication has been completed and the construction site is ready for the erection of the steel skeleton structure. Steel fabricating companies usually have their own dedicated team of erectors or riggers who take delivery of the steel on site and are responsible for erecting it. Scaffolding may be required and the steel assembly is hoisted into position using powerful cranes and winches. It is then secured in place by bolting.

The steel erector must carefully plan the sequence of the rigging so everything occurs safely and seamlessly, ensuring that the integrity of the structural design is maintained. When tower or mobile cranes are used, the erector must be able to communicate with the crane operator using the correct hand or whistle signals.

You may have noticed a high-rise steel building going up with speed and apparent ease and you may have admired the people skilfully directing the positioning of huge steel beams or balanced high up securing the structure. These people play an indispensable role in the safe construction of steel structures.

The steel erector needs to have a good head for heights, a high level of physical fitness and the ability to work well as part of a team. The job requires the ability to interpret construction drawings and specifications in planning the erection process and a thorough understanding of workplace safety practice.

Training commences in construction, usually starting as a builder’slabourer and working up from there. Opportunities for employment are enhanced by gaining certificates of specialisation.

Would you like to work outdoors on large projects that require physical strength and stamina? Would you get satisfaction from seeing the results of your labour growing each day to become a successful structure? Then check out the employment prospects and get yourself a traineeship!


Some examples of TAFE courses:

  • Basic, Intermediate and Advanced Rigging Certificates
  • Certificate III in Rigging
  • Certificate III in General Construction (Dogging)
  • Certificate III in General Construction (Rigging)
  • Certificate III in General Construction (Scaffolding)

An apprenticeship is necessary for entry to these courses.


Ai Group Apprentice and Trainee Centre

Australian Apprenticeships:

List of TAFE colleges:

The Structural Steel Erector

Mark Sgaravizzi recollects his experiences:

"When my father ran Sebastian Engineering the rigger on a job walked beams at height and travelled up the building on the crane hoist. These days this is a thing of the past – these days safety is paramount.

We now have cherry picker lifts, safety screens and all the access gear we need that ensure a person is protected from danger whilst they are erecting anything from a highrise building to a shopping centre or a factory warehouse.

The erector today needs to understand how to put buildings together by reading shop drawings and planning the erection process.

The erectors or riggers take delivery of the fabricated components and using powerful tower or mobile cranes they hoist them into position and line them up for bolting assembly.

These days some erectors work for fabricators and some are independent companies, either way it’s great to be able to walk past a massively tall building knowing you were involved in putting it up."

Mark Sgaravizzi
Managing Director, Major Fabricator

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