It is now almost 25 years since this manual was first published. Its purpose now, as then, is to provide an introduction and guide to those in the constructional steelwork industry who are likely to be involved with the principles concerning the detailing of structural steel. The third edition of this important detailing manual recognises the principal changes which have occurred over this period of time. There continues to be a marked improvement in steel's market share for buildings and bridges, both here in the UK and in many overseas' countries.
Design and construction engineers, and architects, have continued to develop their appreciation for the often striking and awe-inspiring structures that have been designed and built in steel. But for the general public, who first see and marvel at these buildings and bridges, the creation, planning and development of any new steel structure is largely an unknown story. The many hours of work required to transform a sketch, resulting from a brain-storming meeting, into shaped pieces of elegant steelwork, are for the most part not well understood or even appreciated by the public at large.
But also what is less well understood is that the nature of steel construction has markedly changed. During that period, the mix has moved from being predominantly industrial to being predominantly commercial. Steelwork has most convincingly established itself as the modern day material, being without equal for the many highly-visible prestigious and stimulating structures which adorn our landscape throughout the country.
It is often said that simple sketches and drawings can often account for a multitude of words and, of course, it is the production of those drawings, the detailing of the steelwork structure that provides the unbroken link between the designer and the constructor. One of the most important functions of the detailed drawing is to demonstrate the anticipated costs of the proposed steelwork structure. The costs of steelwork are not just confined to the raw materials and the production of the basic steel sections, but are determined more importantly by the connection details.
Steelwork contractors will often confirm that their businesses depend on economic detailing. It is here then that one of the most important roles in steelwork production rests in the control of the steelwork detailer or CAD technician. Steelwork designers have had to come to terms with the advent and increasing use of European design and construction standards. The manual attempts to clarify the present situation. It is however recognised that this is a constantly changing target, and the reader is advised to consult British Standards and other recognised professional steelwork organisations to determine the latest information.
For the steelwork detailer perhaps the most important development in recent times has been the rise of 3-D modelling techniques, the increased use of drawing layers, and the ability to speedily transmit drawings electronically between offices, works and sites. By these methods, it means that all parties to a project can inspect and comment on the developing details with a minimum of delay, which helps with keeping costs in check. Steelwork contractors have also become highly used to operating sophisticated numerically-controlled machinery to cut, saw, drill and weld plates and sections with a high degree of precision.
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