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Business on the Improve
Business conditions and confidence almost on an even par during a 3 year high

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BIM Focus
Get the latest on the BIM front in Phil's wrap up of the current BIM state of affairs...

In This Issue

Presidents Message
Date Claimers
AISD Qld - Business Owners Dinner - Tuesday 20th of May
AISD Documentation Awards
AISD - Qld - Company Membership Grows 30% in 2013
Website Make-over a Huge Success
Australian Steel Convention 2014 to be held in Queensland - again
AGM of 2013 summarised
SA Steel Drafting Closure
AISD Tour of Webforge Facility
Australian Standards Update
JBD Steel Detailing: Shaping the future of young detailers
Member Profile: Timothy Rachow, BDS Vircon
Business Conditions at near 3-year high
Bluescope Steel
Construction Leaders Bullish about 2014
Tier Two Contactors to Hold Construction Prices Back
Insolvency Uncovered
BIM Focus
How Australia Can Derive More Benefits from BIM
BIM Adoption: McGraw Hill reports strong uptake amongst sub-contractors in Australia and New Zealand
National Structural Steelwork Compliance Scheme
ASI 2014 Young Designer/Detailer/Trades Person Award
Installation of of Northern Europe’s largest gantry crane
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Just for Laughs...


Presidents Message
By Clayton Roxborough, (AISD-Qld, President)

You have to wonder, when will the penny drop?

For some years now, it has been startlingly obvious that the leadership of Australian engineering and construction firms need to become strategic about digital – what too many still call, “IT issues”.

As the BIM evolution rolls on, we see more and more D&C design managers and Engineering Design Systems managers looking like bunnies in the headlights on a digital freeway.  Yet the lesson evades them.

Two recent surveys – one by McKinsey and the other PwC – show yet again that company directors seem to be looking for digital strategy leadership from their IT or marketing managers.

McKinsey  showed up a startling dissatisfaction – with a very high 28% of IT managers saying they would do better with new IT leadership! PwC implied that senior management were sticking their collective heads in the sand and still relying on their IT & marketing gurus to come to the rescue.

What these surveys suggest is that company leaders are delegating key aspects of the business’ digital strategy to their IT and marketing people, and not to those who really understand their business or indeed the industry. Strategy starts at the top and they clearly need to sharpen up.

The fact is that most companies are facing challenges - and opportunities – on many fronts. The digital empowerment of contractors, and clients more generally, is pressing hard against old contractual arrangements, especially those that relied on some sort of traditional master-servant mentality. Globalisation has not only fragmented supply chains of once end-to-end producers, it has also forced companies to think about their true core value.

As these forces unfold, the board of directors, or the SME business owners will have to do two, very hard things at once. They must tighten up their organisation to be fit for these challenges, AND they must become personally involved in the inquiry: “What’s our core value that must be built upon to have a future in all of this?” It is abundantly clear to me that very few have done so.

It is simply inadequate, for example, to merely reduce line-item costs by engaging off-shore (Indian or Asian) engineering service providers for example. It’s also critical to be investing in local relationships where value can be recognised. If anything, the latter should be a priority, so as to avoid throwing out the digital baby with the brand-value bathwater.

Presidents Message

(Image source: McKinsey & Company)

PwC’s report makes it plain that teams with a collaborative approach, not only to strategy but also to process, are much more likely to out-perform; which is an important part of the story, but it is still leadership that makes these things happen.

Many Australian steel detailing firms have been operating exclusively in 3D and BIM for many years. The manufacturing side of the BIM equation is light years ahead of the design side and has been for many years, so I get annoyed when I hear Architects bang on about BIM leadership, as if they invented it…. and yet, they are the last to adopt!

There has been very little consultation with the manufacturing side of the industry and BIM decisions made by architects can quite often lead to disaster for downstream users of their output - I’m sure we’ve all seen it time and time again.

Construction industry analysts, McGraw Hill recently released a comprehensive BIM related survey that tries to distinguish the marketing from the strategy, and we have two articles in this edition of the “Eye for Detail” that address the survey and interrogates the results. One, by Quantity Surveyor, David Mitchell, reports on the business value of BIM in Australia & New Zealand and another by construction industry commentator, Peter Barda, examines the re-thinking of the selection process of construction project teams that needs to occur if the enhanced productivity of BIM is to be realised.

These days, you can go along to any number of BIM industry presentations and all you’ll get are the same old stories (largely hypothetical, no case studies), delivered by the same old “experts” (read BIM software consultants). When are we going to start hearing about some of the real digital success stories already delivering solutions and value for the steel construction industry?

There seems to be so much focus on Facilities Management at these forums, but what about the processes that happen long before this? Processes and workflow for the modern age are constantly overlooked.

If this is the sort of thing that is going to continue to be churned out by the IT & marketing elements of the construction industry, they should expect their audiences to diminish over time. Topics of interest that are current and should be a focus of progressive construction firms are:

  1. IFC file format - digital delivery methods for design
  2. BCF digital collaboration format
  3. The IPD work being done by BuildSmart
  4. How will contracts be developed to recognise IPD work in Australia
  5. Process evolution in the steel supply chain
  6. Digital workflow practices

In any organisation, the default position is to resist discomfort. I can still recall being told by a client accounts manager that “we would never – not ever – take payments over the internet”. That was in 1996. Today, the use of Electronic Funds Transfer is a no-brainer. Similar quantum shifts have occurred in 3D modelling, construction documentation work flows and data management, so Integrated Project Delivery should be a no-brainer too.

Senior managers of construction and engineering firms need to actively reach into their business processes and prioritise the important questions, urge the answers and drive the changes that will keep their business relevant and sustainably competitive.

Clayton Roxborough
President AISD Queensland

Date Claimers

Take note of these key dates for upcoming steel events:

  8th May Australian Construction Awards
Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre
  20th May AISD Qld Business Owners Dinner
Diana Plaza Hotel, at the Gabba.
See more
  30th - 31st May Revit Technology Conference
Pullman Hotel, Albert Park, Melbourne
  8th August Queensland Steel Awards
Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre
  14th - 16th September Australian Steel Convention
Gold Coast Marriot Hotel
See more
Keep up to date with the steel events calendar online

AISD Qld - Business Owners Dinner - Tuesday 20th of May

As in previous years the Meeting of Business Owners offers a forum for open discussion on a range of topics and provides members with an excellent opportunity to share & compare experiences with like-minded business leaders in the Steel Detailing and Structural Modelling fields.

The venue this year will be the Diana Plaza Hotel in Wooloongabba, Brisbane and the proposed date is Tuesday 20th of May from 6pm.


The management committee is seeking input from our Sole Traders and Company Members for suggestions to add to the Agenda for discussion at the meeting.

We want to make sure the agenda reflects the needs of our members, so if you have a new hot topic that needs airing, or an old thorn in the side that’s still annoying you, please send your ideas to the committee through the feedback link on this newsletter.

The guest speaker for the meeting is Trevor Murphy, Director of fabrication firm M4STEEL, and chairman of the newly formed Queensland Steel Fabricators Forum. Trevor will shine a light on the ASI lead industry forum and perhaps speak to our members more generally about the fabrication sector in south-east Queensland.

We will email a flyer with all the information you need in early May. This event is free to all our Sole Traders and Company Members.

AISD Awards for Excellence in Design Documentation Quality

One of the founding roles of the AISD was to engage with the building industry and provide a better understanding of steel detailing and its significance in the steel supply chain.

How effectively and efficiently the detailing process occurs depends largely on the quality of the design drawings. Whilst good design needs to be effective and ensure fitness for purpose, it also needs to be communicated clearly through the documentation.

The Awards
As advocates of good quality documentation, the AISD in Queensland adopted a positive initiative by providing recognition to those consultants who make the appropriate investment in their documentation and provide an ethical & professional service to the steel construction industry. In previous years, the AISD (Qld) has presented two awards for Excellence in Design Documentation Quality, one to a consulting engineer and one to an architect.

Proposed changes
While recognizing the need to not only keep quality in the front of mind for design consultants but also to remain relevant to the changing nature of design delivery, the AISD will be introducing a new category at this years’ ASI Queensland Steel Awards night.

3D Model-based design delivery to detailers is a process option that is gaining momentum in the Australian Steel Construction market.

The AISD has been a vocal supporter for this process for quite some time now, so it’s exciting to witness the growing awareness by both designers & builders of the benefits of early engagement and the value that Australian steel detailers have to offer them.
To assist the detailing industry to take a lead role in this paradigm shift, we are proposing a new award to recognize the construction teams that are leading the way with 3D Model-based design delivery and Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) in particular.

It’s not decided yet if the IPD award will simply be added to the existing award line up or whether it will in fact replace the current awards.

To have you say on this topic, please send your comments to the Feed-back section of this newsletter and let us know what you think.

AISD-Qld - Company Membership Grows 30% in 2013
by Clayton Roxborough, President AISD (Qld) Inc

The challenging business conditions experienced by the steel construction industry over the last 18 months, and by Steel Detailers in particular, has combined with the AISD management focus on industry inclusiveness to attract record numbers of company members to the Institute. Following the membership renewal period in October last year, the AISD Queensland has realised a 30% increase in the number of Company & Sole Trader applications.

This is seen by many as recognition of the value and the importance of the AISD to the Detailing community. Included in this latest influx are three steel fabrication business’ that have joined as Associate members.

I would like to extend to all of our new members a sincere welcome and a thank you for your consideration. I hope your experience as members of the Australian Institute of Steel Detailers over the next 12 months meets or exceeds your expectations.

For all our renewing members both Company and individuals, I send a big thank you to you too on behalf of our whole industry. The greater our membership base, the better the AISD can represent our sector to the broader construction industry. It is one of the primary aims of the AISD to improve professional recognition of steel detailers in industry and it certainly feels to me like we are making a difference to our industry and especially for our members

Website Make-over a Huge Success
by Clayton Roxborough

One of the projects undertaken by the AISD management last year was to renovate the web site, to bring it up to date with much of the feedback we had received from members and industry over the previous years. While there was a relatively quiet launch of the new site, the work continues to keep it relevant for our members (and their potential clients). If you have any suggestions or comments, please don’t hold back. We’re always open to fresh ideas and updates for the old ones.

Our thanks must go to Rebecca McLeod from One Tree Web Solutions for her excellent work in developing the site. She took some pretty basic ideas & concepts that were flung together by a bunch of technically illiterate old detailers, and turned them into what has been variously described as “visually pleasing” and “easy to navigate” while remaining flexible for us to build upon. Rebecca managed the whole process for us, driving the timelines and critical milestone approvals in the process. Her expert opinions and prompt attention to our constant changing of minds and endless tinkering with content is very much appreciated by the AISD management committee.

The traffic to the site is comparatively strong with the very obvious spikes in activity being the release dates of this web based magazine, and the proportion of new visitors to the site is around 45% of total visits.

All state based groups are responsible for the content of their pages. This includes new content and updates to existing information on the site. If you have any issues with the content shown on your particular state page, please contact the AISD committee from your home state for action.

Australian Steel Convention 2014 to be held in Queensland - again

Following the success of last years event, the ASI will again be hosting the annual Steel Convention at the Gold Coast, this time at the exclusive Marriot Hotel, from the 14th to the 16th of September.

There will be the usual plenary sessions held throughout Monday and on Tuesday morning followed by break-out sessions for fabricators, steel detailers, the shed group and distributors.

Gold Coast Marriot Hotel

The always-popular Gala dinner on Monday night will also include presentations of the National Steel Design awards and the ASI Health & Safety awards. The Detailers break-out session on Tuesday afternoon will include the National Steel Detailers Forum followed by the AISD Steering Committee meeting.

Having the Convention ‘in our own back yard’ gives our Queensland members an excellent opportunity to attend this Industry-wide event. As someone who has been attending the conventions now for over ten years, I’ve always come away better informed, not only of what’s been happening in my industry, but perhaps more importantly, what’s going to happen. I get to meet a lot of people that I would not normal have an opportunity to meet, which makes me more aware of who’s who in the steel construction zoo. It provides a once-a-year opportunity to catch up with interstate friends & colleagues and to meet individuals face-to-face that I’ve previously only communicated with by phone or email.

For more information, contact David Kilpatrick 02 9931 6604 or email

AISD (Qld Inc)AGM of 2013 summarised
By Phil Shanks, (Jackson-Roxborough Consulting)

The 2013 AISD (Qld Inc) AGM was held at Diana Plaza Hotel on Tuesday 19th November 2013.

The night was a great success with guest speakers
Mark Cronin, Design Systems Manager & Associate, Peddle Thorp, BrisBIM committee member and Ian McDonald & Ben Lange of North Surveys

Mark gave a valued insight into the reasons why BrisBIM was formed, whats its been up to and what they plan to deal with in times to come. BrisBIM is a gathering of construction industry people who attend to see presentation delivered by those working in the AEC and BIM space. It’s a free event to those that attend and is generally sponsored by Industry participants and is held at P block QUT garden’s point.

Ian and Ben delivered a very interesting presentation on the work they are involved with, utilizing laser surveying equipment. They came prepared with a visual display including videos and live demos. Most of the audience were amazed how far this technology has come.

Election of the management Executive positions.

  • President – Clayton Roxborough – elected unopposed
  • Treasurer – Kerry Lindemann – elected unopposed
  • Secretary – Philip Shanks– elected unopposed
Election of four committee positions
  1. Brad Backer (Vice President) – elected unopposed – appointed Vice President
  2. Peter Hempsall – elected unopposed
  3. Tim Rachow - elected unopposed
  4. Jow Biggs- elected unopposed

ASI Honorary position retained for John Gardner
Appointment of an auditor, all in favor of Hallahan & Co. unanimous
Moved by Clayton, seconded by Kerry

Open forum hosted by Peter Hempsall

  • The steel convention for 2013 was held at the Gold Coast. There was a record attendance however for the Detailers   forum there was a record low attendance. Its was mentioned that the Detailers forum is free of charge and it isn’t imperative that those attending need attend the convention proper. The networking session is also free of charge.

  • The AISD QLD has published and April and October Newsletter and the links can be found on the site. The AISD website has also been redesigned.

  • It was discussed that there is a need for more professional development sessions like Site visits.

  • Some site visits are planned for early 2014 – Lysaght being one of them.

  • The idea of getting some advertising in the newsletter was mentioned and no one opposed the idea of detailer       awareness adds like – BIM Review. It promotes the firm but also brings awareness to detailers that this exists.

  • It was raised that there should be some letters to the editor for the next newsletter, there is a need to get the voices of ordinary members.

  • There was a lengthy discussion amongst many on the topic of document quality and the worthiness of the award the AISD presents at the ASI steel awards. It was mentioned that design dwgs are getting worse and we expect the quality to  degrade as fees are under pressure. There is a need to develop a new set of guidelines to award those in the field who are doing things differently and delivering documents electronically and having successes doing so. The committee has asked members to have a think of a new set of judging criteria to deal with this type of award.

  • The AISD QLD has volunteered to take on the management of the Detailer’s handbook and start 2014 by looking at  chapters that can be divided up and handed out for parties to revise.

  • It was discussed that the AISD could look into paying an Ex detailer to manage its development – this is to be discussed in 2014 as part of the development planning.

  • The issue of charging for RFIs was raised – the AISD committee doesn’t want to lay down the ground rules for how     anyone conducts their business.

  • The issue of inviting other industry parties to join the AISD like precast detailers was raised since we have changed the name of steel detailer to ICM. It was agreed that we should just stick to steel detailers. It would affect changing the constitution. The AISD would consider them as an associate member, just like they have for Bluescope.

SA Steel

SA Steel Drafting Closure

After 27 years of continuous trading, Adelaide based detailing firm, SASteel Drafting Services Pty Ltd is closing its doors for good. By way of introduction, SASteel managing director, Chris Matcham has been detailing in South Australia for well over 30 years and has a solid reputation amongst other drafters and steel fabricators. The drafting industry can be “cut-throat” so to be operating in this field for so long goes to show how highly his clients valued his capabilities and his knowledge in detail drafting.

Chris was at the forefront of the AISD (SA) for a very long period and has held various roles in the AISD (SA) over many years. These include the office of President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer. His peers and colleagues have told me that his ideas and opinions in regards to what the Association can do for the South Australian drafting industry were well thought out and well presented. He was always on the front foot in promoting the association amongst steel fabricators and if he could not take on a job, straight away he would get in touch with other association members and inform them of what is available.

I asked Chris to jot down a few thoughts and parting shots to share with us, and to recount some of the issues that prompted the decision to close up shop, and his reply is printed below.

For most of my career Structural Detailing has been a pretty good way to earn a living, however the last 18 months have been the worst I have seen & with the incursion of unregulated labour & software piracy from the Asian countries it is making our business untenable. (Holden, Ford, Toyota, SPC, QANTAS are dealing with highly regulated Australian labour costs & Carbon Tax, now even Drafting jobs are also going offshore). In the next few years, when the big companies stop using local goods & services, the 2nd & 3rd tier businesses will suffer enormously. I thought to move on before disaster struck.

In my working life I have seen many changes; from the ‘Smoleys Tables,  slide rules(OK!), tube pens, theodolites, imperial measurements, parallel arms drawing machines’ through to Internet, Tekla Models, Total Stations and all in between.

I am coming to the end of my working life, however I am concerned more for my son Ross and those of his era, I believe that in the next 5 years in Australia the only work will be for the smaller operators who are prepared to do site measure & renovation work. Even now buildings designed, drawn & manufactured in China are being delivered ready for erection. If one can create modules for a mine or power station, a shed or residential tower is child’s play.

The things we take for granted now; 40hr week (I wish), holidays, long service, sick leave, employer superannuation, health care & pensions all come at a price job losses to Asia.

The next  big thing (my opinion only) will be, Asian/Mediterranean retirement planning, drawing down super, selling up the property & retiring to an Asian/Mediterranean country to live out your days in luxury. If this happens, even the jobs in health & aged care will move offshore along with the wealth of Australia. (Suggestion pick your country early to get a good high spot, watch out for beach side property, sometimes the waves come over the top). 

Here’s hoping I am wrong & business picks up again.

My last thought drafters, may all your variations be accepted & your invoices be paid on time.
Best Regards,

Chris Matcham
Sasteel Drafting Services Pty Ltd

As a footnote to Chris’ letter, I am pleased to report that he has accepted a position as Projects Manager/Coordinator at a Structural & Roofing Company in Adelaide, and Ross is now an in house Senior Modeller/Drafter at the same facility.

AISD tour of Webforge Facility
By Brad Backer

The AISD recently carried out a tour of Webforge’s Brisbane Manufacturing plant. The tour was originally planned for Wednesday 9th April however due to the overwhelming level of interest we were required to break the tour into two dates with the second date being held on the following Wednesday 16th April.

On arrival we were met and greeted by Jason Grining the Qld Sales Manager for Webforge who carried out the induction process necessary to visit the plant. From there we were broken up into two smaller groups.

The 1st group was taken up to the drafting office where the Senior Draftsman, Terry Harvey, explained and demonstrated the various internal drafting functions involved once they received a job order. Terry also provided some good feedback on what information is really important to them for producing their own working drawings and the necessary files for their shop.

At the same time the 2nd group was given a guided tour of the plant by Jason who worked his way thru the various stages of manufacturing; from the forge welding process required to make the grating to the breakup and fitment stages of the individual panels. As well the tour also involved a visit to the assembly area where handrail panels are assembled and welded.

As steel detailers I am sure most of us have been involved in creating grating layout drawings or handrail panel drawings for a supplier to use however we probably have little knowledge of actually what happens with our drawings on receipt at the manufacturer. This tour provided a good opportunity to not only see the various products being manufactured from raw material but to also obtain some firsthand knowledge and awareness of what happens with our shop drawings once they reach the manufacturer and what information is considered important to them.

Some feedback provided by the Webforge drafting office.


  • They prefer to break up the grating panels themselves as they will do this to best suit material, installation
  • If you need to cut into panels ensure the cut outs are based on the load bar spacing to try and get at load bar to act as the edge banding. For calculating panel sizes contact webforge when using page 19 re “Load bar chart”.
  • They can work just with a DXF as long as the scale is known and there is no shortening up of the view (i.e. break lines). Some overall confirming dimensions is preferred for validation purposes.
  • If you are providing dimensions on 2d drawings do not mix dimensions. It is preferred that we use one set of dimensions for locating the supporting steel off the grids and a separate set of dimensions for locating grating outline and cut outs…….these dim’s can be referenced to each other eg off a particular grid line but not just picked and put into one string.
  • If supplying DXF they prefer supporting steelwork to be on a different layer to the grating layout so they can clearly separate the two
  • The exact representation of the steelwork should be shown in plan as they need this for panel break up.
  • As a default unless specifically noted on the drawings load bars and cross rods may not be aligned between panels.  If alignment of bars and cross rods are a design requirement then this needs to be noted clearly as a requirement on our shop drawings.
  • They have had some cases where the grating drawings have been produced and provided looking from underneath (upside down therefore) and if this is not clearly explained then the grating is manufactured as such, consequently causing problems for all concerned! 


  • Should really be broken into panels and fully dimensioned on the shop drawings
  • Have one consistent drg presentation for handrail panels. Preference is to view from the inside looking out
  • Always try and use standard handrail closures. If standard 140 rad bend cannot be used, contact webforge for special pipe bending requirements.
  • Where standard 140mm radius bends can’t be achieved due to restraints, standard pipe bends are used
  • For Galvanized panels there is no need to detail drain holes. They prefer to take care of this at their end

Information can be found in their catalogues however the invitation is there to call them anytime if we have any questions or need clarification

We understand that there was good deal interest by all who attended both tour dates with lots of questions being asked from both groups.

Following is a comment by Jason we certainly agree with: “Getting everyone onto the same page from detailing through to fabrication will hopefully get everyone into a better place in the market through the understanding of each other’s business”

The AISD would sincerely like to thank Jason, Terry and Webforge Queensland for the opportunity and for their time in hosting these two tours.

As part of the AISD’s commitment to education and advancement of our industry we are trying to schedule at least two visits similar to this each year so stay posted for the next invite.

Australian Standards Update
By Timothy Rachow, BDS Vircon

AS 1657 – Fixed platforms, walkways, stairways and ladders – Design, construction and installation was updated late last year (2013).

This document has tripled in size and includes significantly more guidelines not only in wording but in graphical representation of what was previously considered as accepted industry practices.

It is therefore highly recommended that you obtain a copy of this latest version to ensure conformance.

Australian Standards are available through SAI Global

Below are just some examples of what is now included in the latest AS 1657

calendarJBD Steel Detailing: Shaping the future of young detailers

In January 2012, coming straight out of school, 18 year old Josh joined the JBD Steel Detailing team as a Junior Building Construction Modeller.  JBD specialises in structural steel and concrete panel workshop detailing used by fabricators to manufacture all types of steel and concrete structures both commercial and domestic.

In February 2012, under supervision, Josh was awarded his very first project to complete solo.  Exciting news for Josh because not only in the short time he’d been at JBD he had already earnt the respect and trust of his team but also because the steel structure was to be constructed at Dream World.

“At the start the construction looked straight forward, but as I got into it, it became apparent that its quirky design was going to be quite challenging with all the columns being of different angles and the deck was weirdly shaped.  Every connection was different”
he says “It was a lot of fun to model, especially knowing it was something that was going to be put up in DreamWorld”.

When not working for JBD, Josh is busy studying a Bachelor of Civil Engineering at the University of the Sunshine Coast.  “I absolutely love working at JBD, the atmosphere and vibe is really good” he says “Every-one is friendly and willing to help me to learn as much as I can.  I have been able to learn a lot about the industry that I am currently studying at university which I believe has really advanced my level of thinking.  Concepts taught to me at university have been a lot easier to understand.”

It wasn’t until January 2014, that Josh was able to see his hard work fully constructed.
“I was really enjoying my day at Dream World already, but this just capped it off. It was nice to be able to take a photo and say, I had something to do with that being there”.

Tim RachowMember Profile:
Timothy Rachow, BDS Vircon

So Tim, can we start by getting some back ground on you so our readers know where you're coming from?
I am 30 years old and have lived in Brisbane my entire life. I grew up on acreage and helping out on my grandfather’s small vege farm and was always very active playing lots of sports. This year I have been married for 6 years and we have a daughter who is just over 1 now. She definitely thinks she is the centre of the universe right now!!!

What’s your detailing story? Please tell us how you got into detailing, who you've worked for and for how long etc.
I have always been interested in the building industry. My father was a carpenter and he spent many years working as a building inspector, and growing up around this industry, it always appealed to me. Throughout school, I loved graphics and manual arts, and my intention was that once I finished school, I was going to study architecture, but fortunately, before I accepted the position, I applied to an ad in the paper and started working for BDS in 2002. So that is how I got into the detailing industry and the rest is history.

What's your current role at BDS?
I’m currently a project manager.

What software package(s) have you used and which of these is your preference?
I’ve primarily used Tekla Structures during my time at BDS. From my experience it is very user friendly and productive and ever evolving to keep up with where the industry is going.

Is there anything about the early days in your career that you miss now?
Unfortunately, I started work after the drawing board days which I think I would have enjoyed, so there is not a lot to miss from the early days. I haven’t seen as many changes to the drafting office as some of the other readers but there have been a few. When I started, EVERYTHING was printed and manually filed in folders, scanning of RFI’s happened at the end of each day as the single page scanner took about a minute per page, and as the cadet, these were all my jobs. I then moved onto issuing of drawings which always dragged into the late hours of the night and sometime the early hours of the next day by yourself. Due to the advancement in technology these things just don’t happen anymore.

Has there been a defining project or period for you professionally?
I have been lucky enough, in my time working at BDS, to work on, and manage, a number of standout projects. There was the 70,000 ton Palazzo Casino and Hotel in Vegas, which I worked on for almost 3 years (from start to finish), the Orlando Event Center in Florida (the home of the Orlando Magic basketball team) and the Wiggins Island coal terminal jetty and wharf in Gladstone, but I think the defining project would have to be managing World Trade Center transportation hub in New York. This was a very interesting and challenging project mainly consisting of extremely large and odd shaped box girders. This was certainly a once in a life time project.

What are the most satisfying aspects of your work?
With a large portion of the work I’ve been involved with being overseas, it is always satisfying seeing photos of the steelwork going up. It gives me a sense of relief and accomplishment, especially if it’s a project I’ve managed.

How would you compare your experiences as a detailer on US and Australian projects?
Is one better than the other and what are the US design drawings like to work with?

As a project manager I think I would have to prefer working for US fabricators. I don’t know if it is just fabricator PM’s I’ve been lucky to work with but they seem to get involved with the process a lot more, driving decisions and making things happen (but I have had a couple of ordinary ones in there as well).
In my experience the Australian design drawings are fractionally better as some of the details are based on standard information. US design drawings tends to have varying welds, bolt
sizes etc. and when the information is missing the RFI process starts up.
I have recently been involved with both an Australian and US project using BIM and where models have been provided. The models have been quite useful and the accuracies within them weren’t too bad from both nations. Unfortunately many of the drawings that support these models look like they have been done by someone who has no drafting background.

How long have you been a member of the AISD?
I joined as a detailer in training soon after starting work at BDS, and this year joined the AISD committee.

What was the primary motivation for you to join?
When I first joined the AISD, it was mainly to be able to get out to the various site visits and learn more about what we do and how it gets done. Being passionate about what I do, and seeing a spot available, I joined the committee at the last AGM. Hopefully I can bring something to party to assist the industry.

Do you think detailers are given the recognition they deserve for all the "non-detailing" work they do?

We definitely don’t get the recognition we deserve. We have been an instrumental part of lots of projects, finishing the design, resolving major erection problems and meeting some unrealistic schedules. The most we generally get is a thankyou from the fabricator.

How do you see the future for our industry or the steel construction industry as a whole?
I can see some changes over the next few years as more engineers and architects move towards using BIM (in a productive capacity). Ultimately, I think when it comes to large scale projects, a joint approach needs to be made between engineers and detailers make the process more efficient, produce an accurate model and if required higher quality engineers drawings. Detailers have so much knowledge and if we don’t get involved with the joint approach, detailing via the BIM process when accurate models can be imported directly into the detailing software may ultimately reduce our work to simple connecting and editing power.

In your opinion, what are the main challenges facing our industry?
It is no secret that the industry is in hard time at the moment, a lot of which comes from overseas operations and dollars. I believe this is another reason the joint approach with the engineer will benefit our industry here. In my view if we can get this going by working in close proximity with the engineers this should assist our industry’s position.

Business ConditionsBusiness Conditions at near 3-year high
From: AAP
January 28, 20141:03PM

BUSINESS conditions have reached a more than two-and-a-half-year high, stoking hopes the Australian economy may be nearing a turning point.

Business conditions almost caught up with business confidence in December according to the National Australia Bank monthly business survey.

NAB economists said that business conditions recorded a surprising jump to a more than two-and-a-half-year high in December - cementing the upward trend seen over recent months - supported by the low interest rate environment, higher asset prices and less elevated Australian dollar.

Confidence has remained surprisingly elevated following the post-election jump, and could potentially remain at these levels for longer than previously thought given that the conditions index has begun to respond. More positive economic indicators for Australia hold out hope that a turning point may be near.

calendarBlueScope Steel

Australian steel manufacturing giant BlueScope says the worst of recent hard times is over after the company unveiled a return to first half profit in 2013.

Having previously lost $1.6 million on an underlying net loss after tax basis in the six months to December 2012, BlueScope revealed on Monday it had delivered an underlying net profit after tax of $49.1 million as performance lifted across most of its markets.

Driving the latest results was a lift in performance across most of the company’s operating units amid improved building conditions in North America and a combination of better cost control and increased housing construction activity locally in Australia.

Earnings rose by 62 percent, for example, from the company’s share in its Asia and North American building product business joint venture with Nippon Steel Corporation.

Meanwhile, improved conditions and efficiency saw its coated and industrial products business in Australia turn a $10.6 million loss into a $26.7 million profit.

Managing Director and CEO Paul O’Malley welcomed the result, saying the worst of difficult conditions experienced in recent years was now behind the company.

O’Malley says recently announced purchases of both the Orrcon and Fielders businesses from Hills Holdings and the OneSteel sheet and coil processing and distribution assets from Arrium would boost efficiency in the group’s domestic operations and would exceed the company’s hurdles for return on capital by the 2014/15 financial year, albeit with the latter acquisition remaining subject to regulatory approval.

Going forward, the company says it expects similar earnings performance in the current six months compared with that just passed.

calendarConstruction Leaders Bullish about 2014

Amid a rebound in new housing starts, leaders within Australia’s building and construction industry are upbeat about the sector’s prospects for 2014, the latest survey has found.

In its annual Business Prospects report, the Australian Industry Group (Ai Group) surveyed 241 chief executives across a range of sectors within the Australian economy.

According to the survey’s findings, 30 per cent of respondents from the construction industry expect business conditions to lift this year (against 20 per cent who expect conditions to deteriorate), while 57 per cent anticipate higher sales revenue for their own business.

This means CEOs in the building sector are more optimistic about the outlook for their industry than are leaders in any other sector except services, in which 44 per cent expected better operating conditions this year.

In other survey results (construction sector only):

  • 32 per cent of CEOs say their most important growth strategy this year revolves around increasing sales of existing products/offerings.
  • 24 per cent expect their level of capital spending to rise this year, while 10 per cent expect a decline in this area and 67 per cent expect no change.
  • 26 per cent of respondents expect labour productivity to rise, while 11 per cent expect productivity to fall.
  • 31 per cent expect spending on research and development to rise while only 11 per cent expect it to fall. Spending on research and development in the industry increased more than eightfold in 2012.
  • 41 per cent expect input costs to rise while 47 per cent expect energy costs to increase.
  • 39 per cent expect unit labour costs to rise while 11 per cent expect declines in this area.
  • Customer demand continues to be the biggest inhibitor to growth followed by wage pressures and skills shortages.

The relatively upbeat nature of survey results in construction contrasts with more tentative sentiment throughout the broader economy, and those in the manufacturing and mining services areas are particularly downbeat.

Commenting on the overall results, Ai Group chief executive officer Innes Willox said “While low interest rates have begun to have an impact in some sectors and while competitiveness has improved with the lower Australian dollar, we are still some way from the required rebound in the non-mining sectors of the economy. In particular, business investment in the non-mining sectors is set to improve only marginally in 2014 from very low levels.”

Meanwhile, with the overall dollar value of non-residential building approved for construction having risen in 2013, there are plenty of signs of recovery in commercial construction.

Published on 05 February 2014
Andrew Heaton
Andrew Heaton
See more here

Tier Two Contactors to Hold Construction Prices Back
Tier Two Contactors to Hold Construction Prices Back

Intensive competition from second-tier contractors is likely to restrain increases in tender prices for major construction projects throughout the near term as builders in this segment compete for medium-sized projects in improving retail and residential markets, a new report on tendering conditions within the industry suggests.

Releasing its March 2014 Review of Australian Construction Market Conditions, building consultancy and quantity surveying firm WT Partnership says it expects modest tender price increases of between two and three per cent per year between now and 2017 notwithstanding the recent upturn in building activity as aggressive tendering keeps construction price escalation under control as head contractors move to shore up order books.

The private construction sector is continuing to improve with significant activity in the multi-level residential market on the east coast.

In terms of states, WT expects modest to firm price pressures in New South Wales, Western Australia and Queensland, with New South Wales expected in particular experiencing a big pickup in residential, retail and urban renewal developments and a notable resurgence in confidence in South-East Queensland.

Published on 21 March 2014
Andrew Heaton
See more here

Insolvency UncoveredInsolvency Uncovered

Last month, Federal Small Business Commissioner Mark Brennan released a report that reviewed the circumstances surrounding the collapse of a Canberra based construction firm that went into administration last October, leaving around 180 subcontractors out of pocket following a dispute with head contractor Lend Lease regarding the new ASIC building in Canberra on which it held the Major Works subcontract.

This is the latest in a flurry of government interest in construction related insolvency at both state and federal levels. In some states, Small Business Commissioners have witnessed dramatic increases in calls from contractors seeking help with issues surrounding non-payment.

These inquiries and reports all try to get to the bottom of what is causing this great problem. From where I sit, however, it is actually quite straightforward. Rather than any single event or mistake, insolvencies are merely the end point in a series of events. Here is a view of component parts that lead to insolvency from the unfortunate view of one who sees them up close.

  1. It all starts at the top when the head contractor bidding for the work feels compelled to offer the lowest price possible. The price has nothing to do with the actual cost of completing the work. It is already a loss. The contractor is desperate to get the work in order to pay off the losses from the last job. At this point, the project is already headed for disaster. But the head contractor will pass on all the possible risks associated with additional costs to its subcontractors and recover any loss through back charges; that will also mean keeping the retentions.
  2. The head contractor then seeks tenders from a host of subcontractors who do exactly the same thing: under-price the work just to provide them with cash flow. This leaves no margin for error. One thing goes wrong and the subcontractor will sustain a big loss.
  3. The head contractor then awards tenders to its subcontractors by hitting them up to drop the price even more. In desperation, they agree. The subcontractors are now exposed to a far greater loss than the head contractor. They figure they can make up some cash flow on the inevitable variations.
  4. The subcontractors have not read the contract properly and so do not realise the level of risk the contract is demanding of them. They also do not follow the procedures related to approval for variations, extensions of time and liquidated damages. All these will kill any profit they may still have.
  5. Neither the head contractor nor their subcontractors have properly specified the work and discover that there is a whopping chunk of work not allowed for in the price. A war of liability ensues over who bears the unexpected cost.
  6. The head contractor sees the coming losses and so passes on the costs to the subcontractors via back charges. The subcontractors who are already on a loss maker, lose even more. Often, the monthly payment from the head contractor does not even account for half their costs.
  7. The head contractor starts to feel the pain of being held to a contract price that did not cover the cost of the project, and so finds itself battling both the client and its subcontractors over cash flow and payments. The head contractor’s client is demanding more work than was in its scope and is not getting an approved variation for it. The head contractor will direct the subcontractors to do the work without any agreement from the client to pay for it.
  8. Disputes arise from the unpaid variations. The head contractor cannot pay for it because it needs the money for other projects, and so argues for more back charges.
  9. The subcontractors are now almost without cash flow at all. Some find their contract requires them to carry the risk of latent conditions that result in extra costs; others discover their scope was worded in such a way as to include a lot of work they did not budget for.
  10. Subcontractors start to go under. The work slows. The client starts to hit the head contractor up for Liquidated Damages and withholds that amount from its payments. The head contractor has now transitioned from taking on a loss-making project to being insolvent. As it withholds payments on its subcontractors even longer, some go under, until the head contractor goes under.

This may be a compartmentalised view, but most insolvencies feature a number of the aspects outlined above. The overarching dynamic here is straightforward: pressure to win contracts leads to under-pricing of work. Most contractors allow only a five per cent gross profit margin on their work. That is too low and unsustainable. From there, pressure builds on all parties to seek back-charges, pull money out to cover past losses and argue variations wherever possible.

Understanding the causes of insolvency is much like what we learned in grade 2 maths.
You can’t construct a $3 million building for $2 million.
By Anthony Igra

BIM FocusBIM Focus
By Philip Shanks

Consult Australia Technology Symposium

I attended this event last month in Sydney.
It was a day long event which was split into two halves:

Part 1:
The launch of the first McGraw-Hill Smart Market Report on
the Business Case for Building Information Modelling (BIM) in the Australian and New Zealand market.

Part 2:
Words from the website -
In addition, our National Strategic Partner, BST Global will be providing greater insight into how to more efficiently manage projects and leverage the power of mobile technology.

The Symposium will provide those firms who are new to BIM with opportunities to explore the cost/benefit analysis of implementation. For those who are already utilising BIM, this event will help you identify export opportunities and ways you can establish your firm as a leading technology consultant in the built environment.

The event was well attended for the first part at least, I would say there would have been close to 100 people, filling two rooms.
The McGraw-Hil report is always interesting, particularly the graphs. How accurate this is and how broad the representation is, is anyone's guess but you would have to think that those collecting the stats are taking a broad cross section of the areas they survey.
The full report can be found here.

In the second part of the seminar, the group split into those who were there for the full day and a forum style of guest speakers began.
The guest speakers for this part of the seminar were:

  • David Mitchell, Partner and 5D Quantity Surveyor, Mitchell Brandtman
    • Discussed - Return on Investment (panel discussion): Productivity gains vs. Upfront Investment
  • Sam Collard, Technical Director, BIM Academy
    • Discussed - Taking it global (panel discussion):
      Where do we fit in?
      Where are the opportunities to export?

In the late afternoon there was a skype hookup with a NASA Engineer named Raul Polit-Casillas, he discussed - The use of BIM for aerospace (space habitats and CubeSats).

Lastly Francis Leung, from WSP in Hong Kong discussed - BIM transforming project management.

I have to admit that I was most frustrated with this second part of the session and I vented my frustration to Consult Australia and on this note I was not alone. I attend many of these BIM seminars about the place and more often than not the information is thin in detail or old news!

If this is the sort of information that is going to continue to be churned out, I would expect their audience to diminish over time.

Topics of interest that are for the modern age that weren't mentioned at this event:

  1. IFC file format - digital delivery methods for design
  2. BCF digital collaboration format
  3. The IPD work being done by BuildSmart
  4. How IPD will be developed to work in Australia
  5. Process evolution in the supply chain
  6. Digital workflow practices

The manufacturing / fabrication industry is constantly overlooked in this industry, for the benefits they can bring to the table for the whole project.

Focus is always on Architects and Engineers, which is fine to a point but the framework in which they work in rarely scrutinised?

If the industry continues to operate by way of making use of 21st century technology and 19th century work processes then we are all doomed!

I think the topic of contracts being addressed was bought up once - briefly. This is critical in seeing change for the better.


Meeting are held at QUT every month and in April the usual sea of attendees was present.

It would be great to see more Detailer business owners attending this event, not just for the possible knowledge gains but also for the purpose of Networking.

I believe later in the year BrisBIM is looking at hosting an all day event to deliver in greater detail more of the test case style presentations - keep an eye out for this one as I think it would be worth while.

Remember, this is a free event, it only costs your time to attend.
Refer to the website

Collaborate ANZ

I wrote about this in the last newsletter and it appears to have died a horrible death!
See the site here

I was chatting to Chris Price at BrisBIM the other night and he was one of the main contributors and it is his feeling that the drive was lacking.

Like all of these forum based industry development groups, dedication and time are essential. I cant help but think that there is a need for a paid body to try and assist some of these groups and drive them to achieve their end?

Their mission statement:

"We aim to nurture a dynamic and inclusive, cross industry peer group that will foster and disseminate BIM best practice"

Lets see if they end up getting there!

calendarHow Australia Can Derive More Benefits from BIM

As the construction industry in Australia continues in its efforts to derive maximum value from Building Information Modelling (BIM), a recent report provides an interesting snapshot on how our industry is progressing overall and what we need to do going forward.

Analysing survey data collected from construction firms in nine of the world’s top construction markets, the Business Value of BIM for Construction in Major Global Markets report released by McGraw Hill Construction earlier this month highlights a number of areas where important progress has been made in Australia but demonstrates that more needs to be done in order to unleash the full power of BIM as a transformative tool.

Importantly, the report suggests that despite having been slower than their counterparts in the US and Britain in adopting BIM initially, contractors in Australia some other countries are now catching up and overtaking these early adopters.

Whilst virtual coordination among trades and communicating the design intent remain among the top-valued pre-construction activities for use the technology, major uses of BIM amongst contractors include multi-trade coordination, modelling for constructability, determining quantities from a model and schedule (4D) and cost (5D) integration.

The report also highlighted differing uses for BIM amongst different types and sizes of contractors. Whilst general contractors were more active (compared with contractors overall) in their preference for visualisation of design intent, for example, trade contractors were more active in using BIM to determine quantities from a model.

Also, relative to contractors overall, large contractors make greater use of BIM for multi-trade coordination and virtual job site planning and logistics.

Encouragingly, the study indicates that Australian and New Zealand contractors are slightly ahead of the game in terms of deriving business benefits from investment in BIM in some areas, albeit with our market needing more time and experience to match benefits claimed by contractors overseas in other areas.

So what does all this mean?
ACIF and its government counterpart the Australasian Procurement and Construction Council (APCC) have long argued that the full benefits of BIM as a tool for enhanced productivity cannot be realised without re-thinking the selection and management of project teams. The push for project team integration to allow bespoke trade contractors (those producing unique elements whether structural, façade or services) to better contribute to design is gaining momentum here and in other countries, but as the report shows, it still has a long way to go.
Collaboration amongst members of project teams in the construction industry is a good thing. It is a vital input to efficiency and productivity, reduction in wasted effort, and minimisation of disputes.

BIM will produce best results (design to achieve project sponsors’ objectives, minimal changes, optimal buildability, designed-in operational efficiency) when all those who can contribute are involved in designing and planning for the work they will perform for the project.
Having a main contractor/project manager and bespoke trade contractors as part of an integrated team driving collaborative use of BIM, means they can ‘pull’ the design documentation they need to install, and commission. The wasteful ‘business as usual’ approach is to ‘push’ on to them the documentation designers think they need or are accustomed to producing.

This in turn means that designers should have more time, and fees, to produce what is needed and valued, without wasteful iterations of documentation that are not needed.
There is a large gap between best and least use of BIM to drive more efficient pre-construction activities. In the US, 82 per cent of contractors treat multi-trade coordination as a top pre-construction activity, compared to 28 per cent in Germany. The Australian position will be released in a dedicated Australian report expected early in 2014. If the results are closer to the German numbers than the US results, we have a big job to do.

Published on 04 February 2014
Peter Barda
Peter Barda

BIM Adoption: McGraw Hill reports strong uptake amongst sub-contractors in Australia and New Zealand
by David Mitchell,
5D Quantity Surveyor

The release of the McGraw Hill SmartMarket Report on the “Business Value of BIM in Australia and New Zealand” see trade contractors leading the way in relation to BIM adoption rates, calling for greater BIM education and for Australian and New Zealand advocates to demand better content and shared data. 

In late 2013, McGraw Hill conducted 435 online surveys with Architects, Engineers, Contractors, Consultants and Building Owners from across Australia and New Zealand’s construction industry.

The results support the long held view among BIM advocates that sharing of models and data will provide the best incentive to improve the BIM and engage all project team members to return the benefits.

Real quantifiable savings

Globally, three quarters of all contractors surveyed by McGraw Hill are reporting a positive Return on Investment (ROI) through BIM.

According to the Australian and New Zealand report, contractors here are more likely to focus on whole of project team benefits through improved BIM processes. Contractors rated more highly (in comparison to architects and engineers), better data integration, functionality and interoperability of the software as the factors most likely to increase the BIM benefits for users.  More than half of the contractors who responded also plan to invest in developing collaborative BIM processes which McGraw Hill reports is outpacing the average of all other global regions.

Globally, contractors are reporting that steel fabricators are leaders in the high proficiency use of BIM, followed closely by mechanical contractors. In Australia and New Zealand however, it is the reverse. Furthermore, contractors perceive that the BIM skills among steel and mechanical contractors increases directly with the general contractors’ size and BIM maturity.

It is most likely that these trades can more readily see the immediate financial benefits and process improvements, particularly where they are moving to greater prefabrication. Given that on a typical building project trades make up approximately 83% of construction costs it is expected that BIM will most likely bring about the most immediate savings and benefits to the subcontractors. This is certainly what we are seeing on our 5D projects.

The expectation of owners or even contractors that they should share in those savings is misguided. Even so, there is compelling evidence for owners and contractors to seek out companies that already work in this way as they deliver greater certainty in quality, time and cost for the build.

A case study

Like designers there are many subcontractors in Australia that have chosen to work in 3D because it’s better for their business. In 2009 Mitchell Brandtman’s 5D Quantity Surveying team worked on the award winning Southbank restaurant precinct – River Quay in Brisbane. The designers of the project chose to adopt BIM even though it was not asked for by the client, project manager or contractor.

When it came to construction it was the structural steel sub-contractor that showed the foresight to use the design models as a basis to create fabrication models. Even though the overall project suffered from delays and significant variation the structural steel sub-contract (15% of the entire build) did not incur any delays and variation costs amounted to just 2%. Most interestingly these variations were agreed prior to fabrication of the steelwork.

Fast forward four years to early 2013 where our 5D QS team were engaged by the contractor on the $1.8B Sunshine Coast Public University Hospital to work exclusively with models to drive savings. On Stage One of the project, with just four 5DQS’s we measured over 60,000m³ concrete, 800t post tensioning, 4,500t steel reinforcement and 200,000m² formwork for the150,000 m² hospital and its 95,000m² car park in a little over four weeks.

This provides the clearest evidence to me that as the business case for 3D modelling strengthens through the supply chain, the adoption rate of BIM will naturally accelerate as the “What’s in BIM for me?” becomes more obvious.

What the client wants

Clients will always expect better design and properly coordinated delivery of the project - on time and within budget. BIM is a tool that assists in delivering what the client wants. The technology facilitates the improvement in best practice. The project team should apply BIM because it makes business sense to do so. It generates savings through efficiencies like the development and implementation of any new technology or process should. 

When working closely with project teams, contractors and subcontractors across a range of large and small project, our 5DQS team finds that the greatest benefit to everyone is reliable data that can be revisioned quickly and accurately as the design develops. The technology allows for this. What is critical to the process is the understanding of the power of this data and that everyone is aware of its usefulness up and down the chain of supply. Inevitable data anomalies are then able to be identified and rectified collectively and quickly.

Industry Best Practice

The McGraw Hill report makes a strong case for greater education amongst domestically focused and small companies in Australia and New Zealand yet to adopt BIM or who are still at a very low level of implementation.

Whilst the strength of the advocacy of BIM in Australia and the number of organisations collaborating and conversing on how to improve it is essential, developing sound business strategy at the individual level to improve ROI is imperative. This can be achieved through better design and model data management and is likely to have a greater impact on adoption rates and encourage industry best practice. Historically this has always remained the greatest incentive for adoption of any new process or technology.  

We know early decisions have a high ability to influence time and costs. We need to look beyond the issues of where we should be on the BIM journey and focus efforts on who can influence best practice at the early stages of design whether that is the designers, programmers, estimators, contractors or sub-contractors.
For more information on construction costs, trends and 5D Quantity Surveying contact David Mitchell, Mitchell Brandtman, 1800 808 289.

National Structural Steelwork Compliance Scheme

The Australian Steel Institute (ASI) is on a journey with industry towards implementing a national structural steelwork compliance scheme to roll out progressively from mid 2014.

A recent Australian Industry Group (AiGroup) survey has alarmingly reported that 95 percent of respondents surveyed in the Steel Product sector reported non-conforming product in their supply chain. An imminent guide authored by a broad cross-section of industry and to be published by the Australasian Procurement and Construction Council (APCC) entitled “Procurement of Construction Products – A guide to achieving compliance” addresses these concerns by providing informed understanding and a set of guiding principles which all procurers should reference.

There is a fundamental question that impacts all stakeholders in the industry and is implicit in conformance to the Work Health and Safety Act and regulations and that is: How can you warrant the safety of a structure if you cannot confirm that the safety critical components utilised in that structure are compliant? Addressing that question as far as is reasonably practicable goes to the core of the ASI’s efforts to support industry on this journey.

Scope of the Scheme
The scheme will consist of a quality compliance and certification system for supply, fabrication and erection of structural steelwork. This will be based on the principles of the European Standard EN 1090 (which exists within a regulatory system including CE marking) and compatible with the design Standards AS/NZS 4100 (structural steelwork), AS/NZS 5100 (bridges) and supporting Australian Standards including those for welding, bolting and corrosion protection.

The scheme is intended to cover the majority of structural steel fabrication in Australia.

The Australian construction industry requires project cost to be balanced against a basic requirement that steel products be manufactured, installed and operated safely.  To achieve this all products and fabricated assemblies must meet the full requirements of the relevant Australian Standards specified regardless of country of origin.

Currently compliant high quality fabricators are being penalised through cheaper but non-compliant suppliers putting steelwork, a safety critical component of construction, under risk of failure and costly rework. This is widely acknowledged as against the national interest.
As with many construction products, the current regime of self-inspection and certification for structural steelwork (self-certification) demonstrably does not work.  Australia needs a more robust purpose-built compliance regime in which to operate, particularly with the advent of global supply chains.

The National Structural Steel Compliance Scheme seeks to provide a balance between quality, safety and cost.

Progress so far
A draft of the Steelwork Fabrication and Erection Code of Practice (COP) is nearing completion. The COP is the primary input to an approved Standards project to draft the first Steelwork Fabrication and Erection Standard for Australia, which will be commencing shortly.

The COP, which specifies product conformity requirements, is also the foundation for conformity assessment and the ASI Compliance Scheme.

The auditing body Steelwork Compliance Australia (SCA) is in the process of being created and procedures and personnel are being organised.

Between now and the middle of the year the ASI will be scheduling a soft start to the compliance scheme, and will be engaging with and seeking feedback from a wide range of stakeholders, including engineers, fabricators, builders and specifiers.

This scheme is complimented by the ACRS third party steel certification for structural steel which has been successful over many years in providing compliance surety for reinforcing steels.

Find out more here.

ASI 2014 Young Designer/Detailer/Trades Person Award

The Australian Steel Institute (ASI) is currently calling for entries for the 2014 Queensland Steel Awards.
One of the awards on offer is the Young Designer/Detailer/Trades Person award.

The award is available to those Designers/Detailers and Trades People who satisfy the following criteria:

  • Under 25 years old at the time of the application.
  • Able to demonstrate skills around project management. (10 points)
  • Be dedicated to his or her trade/profession and show keen ambition to succeed. (10 points)
  • Be aware of environmental sustainability as applied to construction. (10 points)
  • Have worthwhile personal development and future aspirational plans (10 points)

Entries close on Friday 30 May and can be submitted on the awards section of the ASI website.  

Installation of Northern Europe’s largest gantry crane

Past AISD (Qld) member, John Magnussen, previously manager of PDC Brisbane office, now lives in Norway. He has sent in a time laps video from where he is currently working for Kvaener Stord, although John has qualified his submission by adding that “I had absolutely nothing to do with it!”

Find it here

It shows the wharf side erection of the massive 800 tonne crane being carried out around the clock and all kinds of weather. Thanks John for your contribution.

calendarPDF Compare
By Joe Biggs, JBD Steel Detailing

Life is hopefully just about to get a little easier…

Using your trusty Bluebeam Revu, this nifty little tool can check for pdf differences by overlaying one over the other…

In Bluebeam Revu open the pdf you wish to overlay with another version.

Then go to menu document > overlay pages

Locate the pdf you wish to overlay using the add button & nominate your settings.
The defaults (green/red) work just fine.

Choose ok & bingo. Green for the new stuff, red for the old. (see here)

Then save the overlayed file to an overlay folder for review.

This can be useful for checking the differences between two pdfs which can have large flow on impacts when it comes to design changes. More & more projects have a very small window of time to notify of changes (as small as 48hours). By using this overlay feature it is possible to quickly check documents as they come in to if we need to notify our clients of any changes via an NOC. All within the required timeframe.

Just for Laughs...



You just have to love the Irish

Paddy was waiting at the bus stop with his mate when a lorry went by loaded up with rolls of turf.

Paddy said,
"I gonna do that when I win lottery"

".... What ' s dat", says his mate.
"Send me lawn away to be cut " , says Paddy.

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