Date Saver

AISD Queensland
Steel Detailers Dinner
& Annual General Meeting

19th November 2014

AISD, Qld - Home
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New Appointment
National Steering Committee Chairperson appointed.

What is it, why use it and what does it do for us?

Steel Exellence Awards
The gala event wrap up and all winners of the evening

In This Issue

Australian Steel Convention
Introducing the New AISD National President
2014 National Detailers' Forum
Innovation in steel design and shop detailing processes saves Woolworths time and money at Meadowbrook 
Business Owners Meeting
Construction site visit to 480 Queen Street in Brisbane
Dispute resolution for small businesses
BuildingPoint - your new home for Tekla and much more
Galvanising -the role for detailers
Innovation - What's in a Name?
Selling Space in The Frame
Before BIM
Software Piracy Case in Queensland
AISD Member Profile | Lee Parker
Exposed Steel Combines Architecture and Engineering
AISD Queensland - Steel Detailers Dinner and Annual General Meeting
Australian Construction Industry Expands in July
When Is Your Business Most Vulnerable (Hint: It's Not During the Hard Times)
Australia's Glut of Engineers
Reaching up to the angels in LA | Wilshire Grand Center, Los Angeles USA 
Educating the Educated
FREE Web Presence for your Business
PDC in BRW’s Most Innovative Companies Top 50 List 2014
Workplace Ergonomics Create Efficiencies
ASI - Steel ExcellAustralian ence Award Winners
Just for Laughs...


Australian Steel Convention
Gold Coast, 14th - 16th September
By Clayton Roxborough

Martyn Weir presents on “Innovation
in processes for competitive advantage”.

This years’ Convention was held at the sumptuous Marriott Hotel on Queensland’s Gold Coast, with the format returned to the 3 day affair of old.

The ever-popular “Meet & Greet” function on Sunday night was sponsored by the Shed Group and proved to be the right mix of meeting new colleagues and greeting old friends from within the Australian Steel Construction scene. True to form, Steel Detailers were over represented in the last group to vacate the bar in the wee-small hours.

The plenary sessions ran all through Monday and again on Tuesday morning and included some very interesting and topical presentations from the likes of Brookfield Multiplex, Pacific Industrial Company, PDC and other market leaders in steel construction.

AISD representatives – Clayton Roxborough (Qld), Trevor Ritchie (Vic) & Kerry Lindemann (Qld) during a break in the plenary sessions.

The Gala Dinner on Monday night was an elegant affair offering fine wine and dinning to guests from around the country. The National Industry Awards were again the central focus of the evening and it was great to see Queensland firms among the winners in a variety of categories.

Room set-up and some of the attendees at the Gala Dinner.

Following the lunch break on Tuesday, industry sectors held their independent forums and meetings. This includes the AISD Steering Committee and the National Detailers Forum.
I’d like to thank Neil Creek of the ASI Shed Group for acting as secretariat for both our meetings.

After nearly ten years in the Chairman’s role I considered the time was right for me to stand down. The committee duly accepted nominations for the position from the group and subsequently, by unanimous vote, elected Chris Velovski (NSW) as our new Chair, and Chris has penned an introductory piece in this edition of the Eye for Detail as one of his first actions in the role.

I wish Chris every success as our National Chair and I will continue to work hard to support the Steering Committee and represent Queensland for the 2014-15 year.

Please refer to the National Forum article for more information on the event and discussion topics.

The Convention finished on a casual note with all industry groups reconvening for a few refreshments and to say our good-byes until next year.

For those business owners and managers who may be thinking about attending a Steel Convention, I would thoroughly recommend it as a means to meet peers, colleagues, suppliers & clients…. and to enjoy yourself in the process.

I heard a whisper that next years’ convention will again be hosted on the Gold Coast, so it’s especially favourable for our Queensland members to get along with minimum of inconvenience or cost.

Introducing the New
AISD National President
by Chris Velovski

As my first appointment to the role as the “Chairperson” for the National Steering committee, I would first like to thank Clayton Roxborough for all the efforts he has given to the Australian Institute of Steel Details (AISD) national steering committee, and the great job he has performed over the past years since its inception. I recognize he has the same burning passion and desire that I have for this group and the best interest for our profession.

A little about myself:

I started my career in 1988, with the largest Fabricator on the East Coast of Australia called “Allco Steel”. After Four year’s we established our own company called EDC Consultants Pty Ltd, in 1992.
Since commencing EDC, we have been involved with countless projects in the following disciplines Mining, Resources, Industrial, Commercial, Infrastructure, Health, Education etc…
At that period of time it was evident to us for the need in the market place for independent design house in the field of providing “Workshop Detail Drawings catering the need for Structural & Mechanical”. Since 1992 our office has expended and developed our services in Civil/Structural & Mechanical Engineering, Construction Design Modelling, Virtual Construction, Fabrication Coordination Services, Integrated Project Delivery Processes for the like of the EPC’s, Constructors and Fabricators.

I am the current President of the AISD (NSW) chapter (Australian Institute of Steel Details) and on the board of the AISD National Steering Committee, and now appointed chair person.
I have been actively involved in the industry for over 26 years and in many steering groups involving the ASI (Australian Steel Institute) over the years.

I was part of the steering group, which contributed in developing the National TAFE programs for “Steel Design Detailers/Modellers” with MSA (Manufacturing Skills Australia) and contributed towards National recognition programs.

I would also like to say “Thank You” to the National Steering Committee in the confidence they bestowed on me by voting for me and I will do my best to represent our industry and profession in the up most professional manner.

I have to give credit to the Tier-1 Design Houses and the persistence to all the other structural steel design modellers/detailers which have been are large driving force along with our vendors in pushing the IPD and BIM deliverable over the past 10-15 years; we are all starting to see the dividend in this method of delivery.

It is good to see that the consultants on large projects (some medium & small) are starting to adopt the IPD/BIM technology more and more in their projects. This is very much welcomed by our members, what sometime is rather frustrating is that IPD/BIM is not software name driven but a “Process & Delivery” and perhaps this could mean many different things to companies in the industry. (We can/may further touch on these deliverables in upcoming future newsletters)

What I have witnessed is that the consultants are starting to come on board with this delivery method and have started forming work groups to ensure this process is delivered in the market place in a manner/format, which would be great/beneficial to/for the industry, and by so we are all driving innovation in the same process.

What I find frustrating is that we, the “Construction Design Modellers, Detailers and Design Houses” are not being consulted or even been given any consideration in providing our input on these deliverables. Alternatively, what is required by the consultants (be it in this case the Architectural/Engineering) to deliver their model on behalf of the client to the “Fabrication/Construction Team” in the market place. However, it feels we are being dictated to by the consultants, which do not fully understand and appreciate the requirements for the manufacturing data needed to be delivered. The question needs to be asked if this process is to be delivered/dictated by the consultants, why are they not opening dialect with the “Australian Institute of Steel Detailers” National Steering Committee and seeking our industry leaders input on these deliverables.

Our members have a mammoth value proposition to offer the “Design & Construction” industry on how best to deliver projects. As we have been working with multiple fabrication companies along with multiple constructors and have taken on board many different techniques thru the thousands of projects undertaken as a collective. The design modellers/detailers need to be consulted early in the process to ensure the delivery is exercised correctly.

The theme at this years “ASI – Steel Convention 2014” was “Building Confidence” it was great to hear the industry representatives from companies like “Brookfield Multiplex (Richard Hodgett, PDC Consultants (Martyn Weir) and Pacific Industrial Company (PIC) (Peter Burns). All speaking the similar language of collaborations and early engagement and coordination being the driving force. In addition, that steel structures are more Economical friendly and Green Start friendly than the concrete structures being historically erected. I would encourage everyone who gets a moment to review the ASI ( website or perhaps our website AISD ( and follow the hyperlink to all the events that took place at this years’ Steel Convention and review their presentations.

I would like to conclude, the best way forward and to drive innovation/collaboration/unity in our industry is to break down the barriers and silos that have kept our industries from collaboratively talking or working towards better delivery methods. In addition, all parties in the (Design & Construction) industry to respect the chain of supply from “Bottom Up” and from “Top Down”. In my opinion, you will find that many of the future dealings will need the entire teams collaboratively working on a common goal to achieve the driving innovation and wealth we all possess in our offices. We do however need in our industry to put in place the following workflow or plan: “1. Concept (Why are we doing this?), 2. Strategy (What are we intending to do better, what are we willing to teach/educate, etc..?) and 3. Implementation Process (How will we deliver this process and message)”; as a collective and a “Common Goal Agenda”; otherwise we will always be undermined and be seen as unprofessional among our peers. I believe our members are seeking direction and leadership along with support and drive.

2014 National Detailers' Forum
16th September, Gold Coast, Queensland
By Clayton Roxborough

The 2014 National Steel Detailers’ Forum was held at the Marriott Hotel on Gold Coast, the venue for this years’ Australian Steel Convention.

Neil Creek, of the ASI Shed Group, acted as secretariat for our meeting and our thanks go to him and the staff at ASI for assisting in the organisation of the room and for providing lunch on the day.

After nearly ten years in the role of Chairman of the National Steering Committee, I considered the time was right to stand down and allow entice some new blood into the position. The committee duly accepted nominations for the position from the group and subsequently, by unanimous vote, elected Chris Velovski (NSW) as our new Chair. Chris has been a long-time stalwart for the AISD in NSW and has represented his state on the national committee since its inception. He has the support of all states in the committee and we wish Chris every success as our National Chair.

The attendee group at the forum included detailers from all state groups, except South Australia, and representatives from the building industry, software developers and vendors.

One of our guest speakers was Richard Hodgett (Brookfield Multiplex) to discuss the key issues they see for the early engagement of Steel Detailers. He shared his experiences on two recent steel projects, (50 Martin Place in Sydney and the Bega Hospital) including the challenges he faced in convincing his clients of the benefits of 3D modelling.

Brookfield Multiplex uses their expertise in Steel Construction to differentiate themselves from their competitors in the current market.

In related discussion, the point was raised that the IPD acronym is going the way of BIM, in so far as it means different things to different people. It was agreed that the AISD should exert some “ownership” of the IPD term and provide industry with a clear definition for what it means to Steel Detailers and Construction Modellers. In addition, we should do the same for the BIM term while we’re at it.

It was proposed that the initial release of these definitions would be ;
Building Information Modelling (BIM) is –

  • the technology and tools to allow the process of combining People and Technology
  • to deliver projects (assets) more efficiently and with greater levels of assurance than the traditional 2D or “lonely” 3D processes
  • digital representation of a facility’s physical & functional characteristics.

Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) is –

  • a collaborative alliance of people, systems, business structures and practices
  • what harnesses the talents and insights of all participants
  • how to optimize results, increase value, reduce waste & maximize efficiency
  • through-out all phases of design, fabrication, and construction.

It is the task of all detailing firms to promote these definitions to the broader industry and in particular, educate our clients to not only the meanings but to the many advantages they can deliver.

Other main topics of discussion at the forum included;

  • Galvanizing – there is a role for detailers in the process
  • Pirating – illegal software – and its cost to our detailing industry

Both of these topics are featured in other articles in this edition of the Eye for Detail.


Innovation in steel design and shop detailing processes saves Woolworths time and money at Meadowbrook 
By John Gilley

Innovation in steel design and shop detailing processes have saved Woolworths time and money at Meadowbrook, and won industry recognition for the SteelCAD - McVeigh Integrated Design team.

SteelCAD and the McVeigh design team have been recognised with the Australian Institute of Steel Detailers Award for 3D Model-based design and Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) for their work on Woolworths Meadowbrook project, a 6,500sqm Woolworths and 5,000sqm of attached specialty stores. 
Whilst the award is exciting, it is the innovation using IPD that really makes us want to talk about it.
The project was delivered with ADCO Constructions and saw our McVeigh Engineering team join up with SteelCAD Drafting to offer an innovative approach using an Integrated Project Delivery method that went on to make a significant reduction to the project timeline in construction.  

Our solution saw the team produce steel detailed shop drawings during the engineering phase rather than the conventional method of production during construction, creating greater certainty, steel supply chain efficiency, project site safety, and overall value for both Woolworths and ADCO with much less risk. This involved creating an entirely new process for transferring all information between engineer, detailer, architect, fabricator, builder, and client which worked well to bring the documentation together and working in a highly collaborative manner to ensure the designs and intent were properly developed in a streamlined method

Our collaborative solution allowed us, early in the design phase, to develop detailed steel quantity schedules enabling the contractor to get accurate steel supply and fabrication prices from subcontractors.  The accuracy of 3D modelling at this stage allows a contractor to save up to five percent in costs chiefly because the fabricator doesn’t have to interpret 2D drawings to quantify the project.  

IPD is a newly developed, collaborative process that brings together the workflows and systems of a project’s contractors, engineers, drafters and architects, along with the client stakeholders all of which are traditionally isolated disciplines that required individual handling. This collaborative approach on Woolworths Meadowbrook delivered efficiency, effectiveness and overall value to all phases of the project.
This is just one of several projects that McVeigh Consultants are undertaking with the SteelCAD team that are reducing design timeframes and pricing accuracy significantly. 
McVeigh Consultants were also shortlisted in the Steel Institute of Australia, Awards for Excellence in Steel, Queensland for the Woolworths Rothwell project.  

John Gilley is Senior Associate Structural Engineer for McVeigh Consultants. 

Pictured: Brock Buckley (right), Senior Structural Design Drafter for McVeigh Consultants accepting the framed certificate from award sponsor, Rob Lamb of Aveva Pty Ltd.

AISD (Qld Inc)Business Owners Meeting
By Phil Shanks

The recent AISD Business Owners Meeting was well attended by 15 company members and some members from as far as Toowoomba and the Sunshine Coast.

Guest Speaker
Trevor Murphy, director of fabrication firm M4STEEL, and chairman of the newly formed Queensland Steel Fabricators Forum spoke about the ASI lead industry forum the steel fabrication sector in south-east Queensland.

Over the last two years a need has been recognised  to establish a group to discuss issues affecting local fabrication.

This group focusses on overseas outsourcing of fabricated steel and the affects of this local fabrication from small to medium size businesses and detailers within the industry.
The aim is for the group to do what they can to influence government decisions based around compliance.

The ASI is working towards implementing a national structural steelwork compliance scheme to roll out progressively from mid year.

Clayton chaired the meeting and started off with an overview of the year so far.
The common thread with all who attended is that times are difficult.  
Although the past 18 months have been patchy and frustrating, it did appear that most businesses were keeping their head above water.

Agenda Items:
Changes to the AISD Company Membership application, criteria and code of ethics

Based on recent questionable membership applications, the need for the following changes to membership application forms was agreed upon:
Software certificate of currency
There is reference to the code of ethics
Compliance with the Steel Detailers Handbook as a requirement of membership
Company members must have a DWG office based in QLD
For new members – proof of trading for 2 years

Innovative practices and new opportunities
BIM and IPD are very topical at the moment and a number of AISD members have been pioneering in spreading the message. Those of us who understand it have been doing BIM for a very long time and reaping the benefits.  The aim is to keep pushing the message from the AISD as a whole and keep in the face of those who really are missing out on the benefits of some of these processes.

Steel Detailing Deliverables
What is “Industry Standard” these days?

Clayton put a couple of Detail DWGs? on the screen that came across his desk this month. Anyone that is a Detailer wouldn't have recognised these as Fabrication drawings and it seemed hard to believe that someone fabricated and erected from them.
It appears that some pretty poor quality documentation is being passed off in the industry and its being accepted.
It begs the question—Is this just a sign of the times or is this something that those of us who take pride in what we deliver need to take a good look at?

AISD - IPD / BIM recognition at 2014 Queensland Steel Awards
For many years now the AISD has delivered an award to an Engineer and or Architect for excellence in documentation and those awards were judged by Steel Detailers.
Entry numbers for this award have dwindled in recent times which has represented a need for a new design documentation award, focussing on digital collaborative processes rather than DWGs.
The AISD would like to thank the team at BDS and in particular, Tim Rachow who spear headed this topic and prepared the award judging material.

It is hoped hope that this new award will yield more entries than years gone by and in delivery at the ASI awards, maintain the focus on design quality as it affects us all.

Construction site visit to 480 Queen Street in Brisbane, a $500 million office tower in the heart of Brisbane
By Phil Shanks

A colleague and I were fortunate enough to be invited by the ASI to attend a site tour of the steel framed, 480 Queens Street project currently being constructed in Brisbane.

We were introduced to the site by Peter Burns from Steel Contractor Pacific Industrial Company (PIC). Peter gave those attending an introduction to the project and their involvement as the steel fabricator and then we were split up into three groups for a tour.
PIC had constructed up to about level 8 and it is about now where they would start getting into the typical floor plates and where, one would assume, they gain most of their erection acceleration.


Key Data - 480 Queens Street





  • Builder – Grocon
  • Thirty four storeys
  • Six Star Green Star Rated
  • 4000 Tonnes approx. Structural Steel
  • 70,000 sqm of Metal Deck
  • Concrete filled CHS columns up to 1118 mm diameter
  • Composite steel deck consisting mainly of 410 UB’s and 530UB’s and Fielders RF 55 decking

Prior to the fabrication tendering process, Grocon engaged Brisbane based detailing firm, Steelcad Drafting to provide a "Design Assist" service. In order to deliver this task, we had senior modelling staff embedded in the office of engineering design firm, Aurecon, for a number of months during the early stages of design development. Being part of this process and attending weekly design meetings was a great opportunity to see many of our proposals for design augmentation adopted.

The building is made up of steel pipes filled with concrete and floor plates in a bearer / joist arrangement - a pretty clean and efficient looking design.

In the later part of the visit we were pretty much left to our own devices to wander around the floors and ask questions of the Grocon and PIC representatives. The tour was held in the early evening so not much work was being conducted when we attended, and unfortunately no pictures were allowed.

I would encourage all AISD members to attend these types of events as they come up as it gives us all an appreciation of the scale of the steelwork projects we model and detail.

Dispute resolution for small businesses

In July, the Minister for Small Business, the Hon. Bruce Billson MP launched a new online dispute resolution information and referral tool for small businesses.
This online tool aims to assist small businesses quickly and easily find the information they need to resolve a business dispute, and identify the most appropriate low-cost dispute resolution service.

Dispute Support also provides information on understanding and managing disputes and tips to help avoid disputes in the future.

Dispute Support was developed by the Australian Small Business Commissioner (ASBC) in conjunction with representatives from state and territory governments, including state Small Business Commissioners and may provide real support to your business should a dispute arise.

For more information and to download the tool visit the
ASBC Website.

BuildingPoint | Paul McLeodBuildingPoint - your new home for Tekla and much more
By Paul McLeod
, Building Point

Established as Australasia’s distributors for Tekla Structures, the industry leading steel detailing software, Pacific Computing’s story began eighteen years ago.

It began as an offshoot to one of the world’s largest Steel Detailing businesses. By hand picking highly skilled industry professionals, the team at Pacific Computing has brought a wealth of industry knowledge and in turn provided a service that was more than just software support.

A new chapter began for Pacific Computing in September when it became part of BuildingPoint Australia.

BuildingPoint Australia is a new global distribution channel established by Trimble to provide architects, structural professionals, MEP trades, general contractors, construction managers and building owners access to best of breed, specialist tools.

Where Trimble is the technology provider, BuildingPoint is your team on the ground who will work with you to recommend the right solution for your business and provide the best ongoing support and training so you can make the most of your Trimble technology.

Using technology and industry expertise from the BuildingPoint team, all those involved in the Design, Build and Operate process of a building will be able to share information across teams and processes, leading to better visibility, more collaboration and less rework. This change opens opportunities for BuildingPoint customers, and in particular Steel Detailers, as it will allow them to interact with other areas in construction and build a stronger construction process.

With the building construction market tougher than ever having a competitive edge and avoiding rework and extra cost is everything. It is BuildingPoint Australia’s vision to help customers gain this competitive edge through technology.

To find out more about BuildingPoint –

To find out about Tekla for steel detailers -

Galvanising - the role for detailers
By Clayton Roxborough

The existing "Design for Galvanising" wall chart that we all know so well is to be phased out and replaced by a suite of documentation that will clearly articulate the needs of the Galvanising industry to a range of interfacing sectors in the steel supply chain.
The suite of documentation may include hard-copy, digital media & on-line delivery mechanisms.
Interfacing sectors include building designers, engineers, architects, builders and steel detailers.
The Galvanizer Association of Australia ( commenced the update of their technical information on the venting and draining of steel items for the hot dip galvanizing process in October 2013 following discussions on how best to show fabricators, detailers, engineers and architects the right ways to vent their steel items.

Based on member’s feedback, the GAA Technical Services Committee (TSC) had many discussions to gain consensus on the various venting and draining rules, recommendations and other information we needed to provide to the industry and subsequently engaged  AISD member company, Steelcad Drafting, to develop a series of technical drawings, notes, images, rendered 3D views and possibly animations, that will assist GAA in the production of clear and succinct documentation of a professional nature and appearance.

The GAA is considering the creation of customised documentation for each sector to ensure the information is relevant and addresses the work practices for each group. To this end, Steelcad is to prepare the template for the Detailing industry document with GAA to use the images, drawings & animations to do likewise for other sectors.

The end product should be of a sufficiently technical nature whilst remaining easy to read and understood.

To help communicate the plans for the new guide to the broader industry, AISD (Qld) Chairman, Clayton Roxborough, delivered a presentation on the guide to the Galvanizing industry National Conference in Brisbane in October.

Among man other topics discussed, was the need for an updated Wall Chart for Australian Detailers. A first draft was presented at the conference and was well received by the delegates. The AISD will be seeking sign-off to release the chart nationally, early in 2015.


AISD Qld Chairman, Clayton Roxborough, speaking at the National Conference.

By standardising and simplifying the requirements for detailing, the AISD is looking to encourage its members to adopt the inclusion of Vent & Drain holes as part of their standard deliverables.

First draft of the new Galvanizing industry Wall Chart for Australian Detailers.

Following sign-off by the National Steering Committee, copies of the new wall chart will be distributed to all members of the AISD in 2015.

Innovation - What's in a Name?

The construction industry doesn’t talk about ‘Research and Development’ much any more.

Perhaps the constant reminders that we spend noticeably less on R & D than most other sectors have made us altogether too depressed to talk about it, never mind do anything.

Instead we’ve resorted to the more comforting and certainly less confronting notion of ‘innovation.’

I suspect the currency the word ‘innovation’ has gained in the last few years reflects the discomfiture too many people and organisations in this industry, and others, feel when faced with the stark reality of R & D spending by our major international trading partners. We are regularly outspent by Japan and many of the Europeans, and increasingly (again) the US. And it shows, I think, whenever we see some firm or other win a project or a part of it, at what industry gossip tells us is too low a price.

There are two issues involved here. The first is the unwillingness of an organisation to concede that one of its competitors may have won the job by being cleverer, by genuinely learning and applying a better way of doing things. The second, the flip side of the first, is that it is easy to blame losing on having gone in at “about the ‘right’ price.”

The notion that there is some ‘right’ price or range for construction projects defies their very nature. Each is unique. Each should embody and reflect a clearly defined understanding of client need, expressed through well crafted design and construction. The response clients are increasingly looking for is one expressed not through drawings or specifications, but with concise statements of the functions which a solution will deliver.

They want answers, not monuments.

Successful and profitable construction is increasingly not about materials and labour. It’s about having the learning, experience and skill to help the prospective client understand and articulate real need, and having the knowledge to meet the need better than anyone else.

The sea changes in role of the now disbanded public works agencies around Australia are a current and vivid example of the point. The old departments of state designed and constructed for tied government clients, employing considerable numbers of designers and constructors. Now the most highly prized skills in what remains of those agencies are those which assist the client develop needs analyses and preliminary funding proposals.

Peter Drucker in his book Post-capitalist Society captures the paradigm change succinctly:
“Knowledge is the only meaningful resource today. The traditional factors of production – land, labour, capital – have not disappeared, but they have become secondary. They can be obtained, and obtained easily, providing there is knowledge,” he wrote.

Research and development, particularly research, has come to be perceived as somehow inappropriate for the construction industry. Innovation, with its connotation of almost accidental discovery of something new which may be useful, is rather easier to accommodate.

Creaking along with the old skills, old knowledge, old approaches, won’t cut the mustard for much longer. We can see that in the ownership of the largest constructors in Australia, which are often either foreign-controlled or getting out of the game. At the specialist contractor end of the market, the same realisation that the financial and intellectual capital base needs to be substantial just to survive, never mind prosper, seems only just to be dawning.

The capital problem is easy fixed – get big, go niche, or get out. Only the foolish client or head contractor will take a risk with a weak or over-stretched balance sheet, or financial management skills which don’t match the size and complexity of the project.

The intellectual or knowledge base is much harder to deal with. It requires making the time to reflect on what might be rather than what has been, dissatisfaction with the present, curiosity, and determination to change. Above all else, it requires the insight and patience to realise that knowledge at the edge, real breakthrough learning, won’t come by accident.

That requires research and the application of research to produce tangible, practical products or processes. And that in turn calls for time and money.

Innovation in the construction industry has come to suggest accidental breakthrough, which is preposterous. It is and can be no substitute for building enterprise and industry cultures which recognise and reward sustained commitment to gaining new knowledge, to genuinely find new and valuable ways to meet client needs.

Research and development might make us feel uncomfortable, but at least it throws down an honest challenge.

Peter Barda

Aveva Bocad

By David Mitchell (3D BIM, New Technology)

Selling Space in the Frame: The Age of the Services Contractor

Creating certainty in the construction process is now directly impacting on the roles of the contractor and sub-contractor within a build. Technology is focusing the mind of the trades and services from doing something efficiently to creating greater productivity and thus positioning themselves to be involved in the design process much earlier. As a result we appear to be on the cusp of a shift in the status of who drives the design – should it be the services contractor?

Path to Prefabrication
The initial formal signs of change in the services sector of construction in the US date back to early 2002 and are defined by the research conducted by the Mechanical Contracting Education and Research Foundation. Their industry analysis of the opportunities and threats to members culminated in the publication of the report entitled “Five Key Trends for the Future of the Mechanical Contracting Industry”, published in March 2005.

It was within this research that the question was asked of the mechanical contractors industry “why does it seem like I am doing the work of the General Contractor without the pay?”. The research focused clearly on the emerging technologies and the opportunities they presented to the trades in relation to developing closer relationships with the design process in order to improve productivity and reduce costs.

The report establishes a timeline of industry change where the mechanical and electrical contractors have a real opportunity to lead project design by 2020. It may however be much earlier than predicted given the current pace of prefabrication and the development of the “frame” of services that are built off site, something which is changing the entire nature of subcontracting services.

The report also clearly advocates a move towards reverse tendering, something that Mitchell Brandtman canvasses as an innovative procurement technique and a direct outcome of setting the cost strategy at the concept and design phases. The result is an executable file that becomes the project’s living cost plan and provides all the elements to set a firm pricing schedule for the project. In non-competitive markets, reverse tendering reduces risk, expedites and simplifies the tender process by placing the focus on rates rather than the uncertainty that can manifest through tender or auction.

Future Form – Permanent Modular Construction
Much more recently industry organisations are focusing attention on how quickly prefabrication is changing and we are already moving towards permanent modular construction as a viable build option in large scale commercial projects.

In the US the Modular Building Institute, who represent more than 250 companies operating in 15 countries, are championing the development of permanent structures offsite in a safe environment that are being delivered to site, integrated with less waste and greater quality control. Some industry commentators are citing that building lifespans of more than 50 years are achievable.

Whilst prefabrication is clearly not a new concept, product improvement and increased demand have brought it back into the spotlight. Currently the key saving is time; however improvements in technology and large scale manufacturing will also lead to cost reductions.
When McGraw Hill released its “SmartMarket Report: Prefabrication and Modularization” in 2011, it specifically recognised the re-emergence of prefabrication and modularized components and how BIM technology was enabling their greater integration. Of the 800 architecture, engineering and contracting (AEC) professionals surveyed, more than two thirds reported significant productivity gains, including:

  • 66% reporting that project schedules are decreased – 35% by four weeks or more
  • 65% reporting that project budgets are decreased – 41% by 6% or more
  • 77% reporting that construction site waste is decreased – 44% by 5% or more

Prefabrication and modularization not only has the ability to enable trends, such as BIM, but it also becomes more prominent because of these technologies. By bringing multiple innovative technologies and processes together it improves productivity in the industry by implementing different systems to achieve the desired outcomes, rather than simply speeding up the same myopic process which will not achieve true productivity gains in the long term.

The  highly acclaimed T30 Hotel in China is an example of this and continues to steal headlines for its success in modular construction. The building was erected in just 15 days with over 90% of construction taking place in manufacturing sites, streamlining processes that removed impractical and tedious tasks and resulted in impressive eco-credentials.
You can check it out on Youtube
Whilst it may be some time before Australia embraces this level of engineering in prefabrication , Mitchell Brandtman is working closely with a number of the key players in the modular and prefabricated industry to develop new products.

Expanding the Scope and Blurring the Boundaries for Subcontracts
The trend toward prefabrication of building components has the potential to blur or change the traditional subcontract boundaries entirely here in Australia. BIM is already enabling prefabrication of services racks in corridors and risers. These racks are being fabricated by the mechanical services subcontractor who is allowing the space for electrical, hydraulic and fire services to be installed by those subcontractors in the mechanical subcontractor’s workshop. The other services subcontractors are then charged for the benefit that has been created for them.

In the US it’s a slightly different experience where the mechanical subcontractor is using his own plumbing and electrical staff to complete the work that was traditionally done by other subcontractors. In effect US mechanical subcontractors have expanded their traditional scope to include multi services within building trunk zones and this trend has reduced the scope of the electrical, fire and hydraulic packages.

It will be interesting to see if the US approach becomes the norm in Australia. At a time when our balance of trade figures are already heavily skewed by imported consumer goods in Australia, utilising local innovation and technology can produce a highly valued product that will be more cost-effective and adaptive to our needs than one mass produced off-shore and sent by ship.

What was life like BeforeBIM?  
And what can this teach us about life AfterBIM?

Steelcad operations manager Philip Shanks has been invited to help answer these questions at the next talkBIM industry session appropriately titled BeforeBIM.
talkBIM in a non-for profit organisation supported by Deakin University to promote BIM and educate both students and industry about the process advantages and technology changes.

Deakin BIM researcher Charmaine Ferguson and Melbourne BIM identity & exponent Matt Rumbelow joined forces at the start of 2014 to present a series of free BIM events with the aim of uniting students, academics and industry in a relaxed environment showcasing local talent and projects across the built environment. talkBIM is Deakin Universities way of embracing the BIM movement and implementing the new technologies that accompany this process change.

The first seminar, ‘BIM Without Borders’ ran in January with Charmaine and Matt joined by Warrnambool ex-pat and international BIM software developer Jon Mirtschin. The focus was on Worldly BIM and presenters shared their experiences of BIM practice from the USA, London, China, Vietnam, Denmark and South Africa and Australia.  Jon Mirtschin wrapped up the evening outlining some of the features of the newly released IFC4 and various tools which utilise the standard for information and geometry exchange.

The second event “BuiltBIM” was held in March and attracted 65 attendees, many being students with a thirst for BIM knowledge (and beers). All attendees were amongst the first in the world to receive the first edition of The B1Mmail.

Charmaine showcased the use of BIM by local architects Third Ecology and was joined by industry experts including John Lucchetti (Deakin alumni) from Wood and Grieve Engineers, and Nick O’Brien (Deakin alumni) and Josh Kates from Sefaira.

Matt demonstrated the how the use of laser scanning and models created from point cloud data BIM can be augmented and integrated throughout the design and construction process.
The May session was titled “BackyardBIM”, with over 50 attendees were present to hear from local BIM exponents Dean Wearne & Katherine Voyage from National firm GHD talk about their use of Revit and Autodesk BIM solutions on a local community project.

The highlight of the evening was the presentation from Geelong local and now international retailing success story Cotton:ON who have embraced BIM to ensure efficient and coordinated opening of stores as far away as South Africa, Hong Kong and Brazil.

In July talkBIM held an evening entited “LearnedBIM” and the attendees were treated to a presentation from such “BIMthinkers” such as Jennifer Macdonald, a BIM researcher & lecturer from the University of Technology, construction lawyer Ilsa Kuiper from BTI Consulting Pty Ltd, and buildingSMART Australasia secretary Wayne Eastley. Wayne highlighted the opportunity that Australia has to revolutionise the construction segment through OpenBIM and his efforts to educate the industry.

The BeforeBIM session on November 19th in Melbourne will look at the ways BIM has changed for better (and worse) todays construction industry and how segments of the industry have pioneered, embraced, or ignored the opportunities.

Over the last 20-30 years, Philip Shanks has been a key part of the change towards the “virtual building” age we are now experiencing. Much has changed but many things are still the same. Are we any better off with technology? It is a question many  ask  when we see some of the apparent chaos caused by modern technology or perhaps better put – the misuse of technology.

The aim of this presentation is to highlight key milestones of change in the history of steel detailing and to focus on some of the practices being used today – both good and bad. Philip maintains there is a clear need to review workflows and processes within the design sector at large to enable projects to be delivered cost effectively and to allow design to flow more fluidly from concept to construct.

BeforeBIM will be the sixth and final event for this year, the proceeding events being BIM without Boarders, Built BIM, Backyard BIM and the 24 hour BIMbattle.
Attendance to this session is free and registration is available online via the website

More information (and recordings from most sessions) are also available at the website

Charmaine Ferguson   Matt Rumbelow

Software PiracySoftware Piracy Case in Queensland

A Queensland Steel Fabrication company has been forced to pay damages for using unlicensed software. In August this year, The Software Alliance (BSA) settled a case with Wulguru Steel for the illegal use of design software products Autodesk and AutoCAD.

Wulguru was using a pirated non-genuine’ copy of the two products, such as those downloadable from the internet for free or for a discount. In addition to paying $17,500 in damages, Wulguru is required to purchase legitimate software licenses for both products.

BSA Australia committee chair Clayton Noble commented that the case again highlights to businesses that it is "not worth the risk" of using unlicensed software.

Noble says as well as the risk of legal action and reputational damage, using non-genuine software can open a business up to security risks. "One in three copies of non-genuine software available from the internet contains malware," says Noble.

"If you use that kind of software, you don’t know what you are getting."

Noble says malware can open systems up to financial threats, data threats and identity theft risks. "It’s a big risk and not worth it," he says.

(by Kirsten Robb)

Tim RachowAISD Member Profile | Lee Parker
By Clayton Roxborough

The membership profile for our 2014 Spring Edition of the Eye for Detail features Lee Parker, the owner of Brisbane based detailing firm – Draftology.

I caught up with Lee last month in his Spring Hill office for his thoughts on our industry and a reflection of his experiences in Steel Construction around the world.

Hi Lee, can we start by getting some back ground so our readers know a bit more about you? (Introduce yourself, age, status, family, history etc. The personal stuff, if you like.)
Hi Clayton, I am 42, married with 2 boys. Originally from the North West of England, I came to Australia for a 12 month holiday in 1998 and liked the place so much that I never left! I love the outdoor lifestyle that Australia has to offer and in my spare time I enjoy scuba diving, boating, camping etc.

So, what about your detailing experiences. What’s the professional story so far? (Tell us how you got into detailing, who you've worked for and for how long etc. The professional stuff )

I left school in 1988 and didn’t really have a plan. I applied for a boilermaker apprenticeship at a local construction company but in the interview they offered me a technical apprenticeship instead. The first year consisted of attending college 4 days per week and a training workshop for 1 day. Once this year was up I joined the drawing office and undertook all tasks from bolt and material listing to checking and connection design. This was in the drawing board years which I thoroughly enjoyed. I carried on with my education by day release gaining my BTEC HNC (similar to associate diploma) but before I could continue on to my degree the company that I worked for went into receivership and so I took a role as a contract drafter. In ’94 I got a call from a guy that I worked with previously and he told me that he was working on StruCad for a local fabricator and they were looking for another drafter. I got that job and worked there until I left to come to Australia. Once here I contacted the AceCad office in Perth to see if they had any contact details for a company in Melbourne that I could do some short term work for. I worked for Computer Graphics in Altona for a few months and once my year was up I was offered sponsorship to work for AceCad in a training and support role. I did this until I started Draftology in 2003.

Is there anything about the early days of your career that you miss now?
I think that back in the day the timelines and programs seemed to be more realistic which meant that the consultants documentation was complete before we started. RFIs were fewer and the consultants had a real good handle on the job. Most queries could be quickly sorted out on the phone with a minimum amount of hassle. These days we are forced to work off ‘prelim’ or ‘tender ‘ drawings and it is an expectation that RFIs form part of the design process.

Can you tell us some more about your business, and your current role at Draftology?
I started in 2003 as a sole trader when my first son was born mostly so I could work from home and not have to travel with work so much. I soon became so busy that I had to employ someone and so we moved the office into Spring Hill, Brisbane to be closer to my main client. Draftology employs 4 people at the moment and I am the managing director. My duties include most things including estimating and drafting.

Has there been a defining project or period for you professionally?
There are 2 defining periods in my professional life that stand out to me. The first would be my apprenticeship, this introduced me to an industry that I had little understanding of and gave me a good grounding in workshop practices and structural design. The second period would be when I stepped away from drafting to take a training and support role for AceCad Australia, this allowed me to take the time to really get to understand the nuts and bolts of the program and also allowed me to travel the country and meet other drafters and share ideas.
As far as projects go there have been lots that I am proud of but the one that I am most fond of is The Grand Awning Structure in Chinatown, Fortitude Valley. This is because it is not a typical structure with curved, tapered trapezoidal columns and beams. There was lots of problem solving with that one to get it modelled in StruCad and provide the fabricator with fully developed templates for profiling. It went without a hitch and makes me smile every time that I pass it. We entered that into the AceCad International drawing competition and took away the best special project award for that year, which was nice.

Can you define the most satisfying aspects of your work?
I like working as part of the project team, being involved in the project and forging good working relationships with builders, fabricators and panel contractors. I enjoy the diversity of the work that we do at Draftology which keeps us all on our toes. One day you could be detailing a nice square tilt panel shed and the next it could be a hotel refurbishment or a motorway gantry.

How would you compare your experiences as a detailer in the UK to Australian projects? (Is one better than the other and what are the UK design drawings like to work with?)
The first place that I worked in the UK was a true ‘one stop shop’ they had in house engineers, drawing office, workshop, riggers, cladders and ground workers. This meant that everyone was pulling in the same direction and problems were solved easily.
The engineering documents in the UK generally don’t provide end connections but give the end reactions on a stick diagram and we could design the connections to suit the workshop. For instance, we had a beam line on the shop floor so would detail bolt on fittings wherever possible to minimise welding and fabrication. Of course I worked in house for fabricators in the UK so this style suited us. In Australia as a sub-contractor it is easier to have the connections provided then there are no grey areas on how each different fabricator wants to manufacture.

How long have you been a company member of the AISD?
I have been a member for about 2 years.

What was the primary motivation for you to join?
My primary motivation was to meet up with other drafters and share ideas on what the industry is expecting now and into the future as we work for several clients they all want something different. I also think that because our industry is spread over lots of different business models that the AISD gives a voice not only to big corporations but small businesses like mine and projects a professional image for our members.

Can we ask what software package(s) have you used and which of these is your preference?
Like I said earlier, I went straight from the board to StruCad so I am probably one of the few drafters out there that hasn’t used AutoCad. After the demise of StruCad we went to Bocad and are very happy with the changeover. StruCad was faster in a lot of areas, especially large simple jobs but I much prefer Bocad for modelling complex structures and the 2D editing side is much better.

How do you imagine our industry will look in the future?
That’s a difficult question. When I was serving my apprenticeship one of my mentors told me that the industry had no future as CAD software would see the end the traditional drawing office. He was correct in a sense as I am more productive on my own with a 3d package as what a section of 5 people were when we were ‘back on the board’. In the future I hope to see more BIM style projects and the steel detailers to be involved in more ‘early engagement’ contracts working alongside the main consultants rather than squeezed in at the end of the building program.

Do you think detailers are given the recognition they deserve for all the "non-detailing" work they do?
No, not at all. It frustrates me that deliverables that we are expected to provide are increasing but the price and program remains the same or is lower than previous years. We have to be so careful to record all correspondence as we are often the easy target if something doesn’t go to plan on site with the drawing office having to prove their innocence rather than builders chasing the paper trail to find out what actually caused any issue.

In your opinion, what are the main challenges facing our industry?

I think that the main challenge at the moment is offshore drafting offices forcing prices down. I worry that drafters that are heading toward retirement age are weighing up their options and leaving the industry early and taking all their knowledge and expertise with them. It worries me to think that the low prices and offshore competition also affects whether companies take on trainees in the future which means that no new blood is coming in to replace the outgoing.

 Thanks again to Lee for sharing his time & thoughts with us at the Eye for Detail.
Clayton Roxborough, Chairman, AISD (Qld) Inc.

To all our members, if you or someone you work with have a story to tell, please don’t keep it a secret. Contact us at the AISD to discuss sharing your experiences and thoughts with your industry colleagues.

Exposed Steel Combines Architecture and Engineering

Architecturally Exposed Structural Steel (AESS) sits firmly on the boundary between architecture and engineering.

The material requires the highest level of technical knowledge from the architect and the highest level of design acumen from the engineer.

The steel needs to be designed to be structurally sufficient but, given that it is exposed to view, is also a significant part of the architectural display. Design, detailing and finish requirements are typically of a far higher standard than the concealed alternative.

In skilled hands, it is the ideal material for exposed features such as trusses, canopies, unique support systems, storefront facades and much more.

The new glass-and-steel entry pavilion at the mixed-use Brookfield Place (formerly World Financial Centre) in New York is an elegant example of AESS. Featuring a pair of 53-foot tall funnel-shaped steel columns that support the structure, it was designed by Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects with Thornton Tomasetti serving as the structural engineer.

Brookfield Place Winter Garden

The complex geometry and changes to New York City Building Code created several project challenges. Newly enacted and more stringent seismic requirements had an impact on the fabrication of the structural steel.

The steel used is also covered by intumescent paint which increases visibility of imperfections. The tight tolerances also required particular quality control and an advanced system of dimensional control during erection.

Designed to accommodate an estimated 100,000 pedestrians daily, the pavilion is linked to the underground passageway from the World Trade Centre and the Fulton Street transportation hubs. Because the pavilion sits atop a new underground passageway, existing train tunnel relieving platform and a former pedestrian bridge pile cap, Thornton Tomasetti’s engineers had to focus on just two points of contact for the columns underground. This was integral to the design and placement of the steel columns.

At One 57, one of Manhattan’s tallest residential buildings, AESS has been used to create undulating canopies which extend organically from the glass curtain wall.

Typically, a canopy of this size would requirecables or rods to anchor the structures to the side of the building. Instead, a 15-foot backspan extends into the building, which allows for an unsupported cantilever. These backspans are not hidden, and instead are backlit and polished, providing symmetry to the aesthetic of both the interior and exterior.

One 57 - Canopies

On a completely different scale is the Music City Centre in Nashville. The $415-million project boasts a grand entryway fabricated using arched barrel steel joists, wave roof and many structural elements that remain exposed in its finished state.

A collaboration between architects Bell/Clark and TVS design with Ross Bryan Associates as structural engineers, the challenge involved selecting the best expansion joint solution that would accommodate the building’s exterior features that resembles the rolling curves of an acoustic guitar. Forming the curves of the “guitar” is a 14-acre, vegetation-covered rolling roof that is the largest of its kind in the Southeast that had to remain watertight to protect the occupied space below.

The use of steel joist over the lobby wall areas enables the desired curve lines to be followed effectively. In addition, open web steel joist are an economical solution for a special profile roof situation.

The entire project shows off the design possibilities of steel construction, while putting a spotlight on the engineering of “special profile” steel joists for dramatic aesthetic impact and cost savings.

Justin McGar

Tier Two Contactors to Hold Construction Prices Back
AISD Queensland - Steel Detailers Dinner and Annual General Meeting
Diana Plaza Hotel, Wednesday 19th November 2014.

All members are invited to attend our industry’s most important meeting of the year, and financial members are encouraged to make use of the opportunity to play their part in guiding the AISD (Qld) Inc.’s future by nominating for a position on the management committee.

Past attendees have collectively praised this opportunity to meet fellow detailers and share their thoughts and concerns with a growing peer group. So please come along and share in discussions on where the future of our industry is heading, how issues may affect us or our colleagues and take stock on the events of the last twelve months.

The Diana Plaza Hotel
1 2 Annerley Rd, Woolloongabba

The Diana Plaza Hotel is conveniently located in Woolloongabba, within the vibrant Southbank precinct, directly opposite the Mater Children’s Hospital and just a short stroll to the Brisbane Convention Centre, South Bank Parklands and the legendary “Gabba” Cricket Ground.
The dinner is free to all members and includes pre-dinner drinks and hot savouries.

An agenda and speakers program will be distributed by email flyer closer to the date.

As this is a catered event we need to confirm numbers by the 12th of November so please RSVP when the event flyer lands in your email inbox.

Australian Construction Industry Expands in July

As the commercial sector rebounded, the construction industry in Australia has expanded for the second consecutive month.

Published by Australian Industry Group in conjunction with Housing Industry Association, the Performance of Construction Index (Australian PCI®) edged up 0.8 points to 52.6 – the second month in the row the index has registered above the 50.0 mark separating improving conditions from deteriorating conditions.

Three of the four main sectors expanded as the index for commercial building surged 11.6 points to 61.2, apartment building (51.9) returned to expansion and housing (53.2) continued to expand, albeit at a modest pace.

Encouragingly, new orders rose in three out of four sectors and both employment and selling prices rose, indicating pressure may finally be easing on the sector’s workforce and profit margins.

Only the engineering sector (47.2) recorded deteriorating conditions.
Australian Industry Group Director of Public Policy Peter Burn welcomed the latest figures, saying the strengthening in activity, new orders, employment and selling prices were encouraging developments and adding that even the receding mining sector would free up capacity for infrastructure investment.

“In July, momentum in these sub-sectors ensured the overall construction sector remained in positive territory despite the ongoing slow-down in engineering construction as investment in mining-related projects fades,” Burn said.

“While house building has been strong for some time and apartment building is at healthy levels, the broadening of growth to include commercial construction is a welcome addition to the mix.”

Housing Industry Association Chief Economist Harley Dale agrees, saying the second consecutive expansion of the index represented a ‘tick in the box’ for the construction industry, strength within which would flow through to the broader economy and labour force.

Andrew Heaton

When Is Your Business Most Vulnerable (Hint: It's Not During the Hard Times)
By Les McKeown

A learned helplessness takes over during hard times. It's when you're in recovery that you should nurture creativity and risk-taking.

Business can be tough. Sometimes for prolonged periods of time.

A down economy, sluggish growth, crippling regulation can all hold business growth back for months, quarters, even years (maybe you've noticed)--and that's before factoring in rapid technological change, a gridlocked political environment, and what's that other thing...? Oh yes, brutal competition.

Prolonged political and economic stagnation means that for many businesses, hiring has been low or nonexistent. I've seen businesses operate under tough conditions for seven, eight years with substantially the same people who worked for them back when things were good.

So, over the past few months, as some industries begin to get some traction, albeit meager and inconsistent, it's been interesting to observe the degree to which businesses exhibit different RROs (response rates to opportunity).

OK, so I made that abbreviation up, but it's shorthand for something very real, which is this: As recovery grows, albeit haltingly, and your market begins to return, where will it leave your business?

The Advantages of Younger Companies
The interesting thing I've noticed in these early days of recovery is that younger businesses, particularly those that only started in recent years, are responding faster and with more creativity and innovation than those which have been around for some time--even when those older businesses are market leaders.

You might think that's natural--that it's about smaller, more nimble businesses being disruptive and stealing a march on larger, more unwieldy competitors, and in part, that's true. But there is also something deeper going on.

What I see in many of those businesses that have been under the economic cudgel for some years is that there has grown up a sense of
learned helplessness. In these companies, many of their best people are lethargic, unwilling to experiment, and wary of taking even controlled risks.

Let me be clear, this is not necessarily about talent or ability. It's about conditioning--about being told over and over (albeit for good reason) that there's no budget, no market, no demand, no additional resources, no new hires, no place for innovation; it's about a prolonged (and again, needed) emphasis on productivity above all else; it's about working for a long time in a barren, parched landscape--one that can give little nurture to creativity and risk-taking.

And so, after operating in such an environment for a long time, once the first springs of new water, fresh life appear, what happens? In those companies with a pervading sense of learned helplessness, the answer is, very little. Everyone is wary, dubious, nervous. No one wants to be first to take advantage of the new opportunities that are arriving, small and fragile as they are. Everyone waits, a little dully, for permission. And every day, they lose market share to other, less reticent competitors.

Maybe you've done a sterling job in recent years of battening down the hatches to survive a truly dreadful economic storm. You've secured employment for a base level of good people and have ruthlessly managed the business to protect those jobs and your customer base.
If so, you should be rightfully proud. But take a look around. Maybe it's time to reopen the hatches and let your people come blinking back on to the deck.

calendarAustralia's Glut of Engineers

With the peak of the mining boom passing, Australia now has a glut of engineers, according to a new report.

In its latest Skills Indicator report, human relations firm Clarius says the nation has shifted from experiencing a shortfall of engineering professionals of around 4,100 two years ago to a glut of around 4,000 today. To make matters worse, Clarius says a many of those who do have work are being asked to cut back hours and work overtime only where necessary.

The Clarius report says that while Australia typically has around 300 to 400 major construction projects on the go at one time, the past 12 months has seen an average decrease of 45 per cent of projects cross all states – with many having either been cancelled or indefinitely put on hold.

“The decline has been both swift and significant.”

The latest report contrasts with the most recent estimates from the Australian Bureau of Statistics which put the number of people employed either full-time or part-time in heavy and civil engineering construction during the three months to February at 87,200 – the highest level in around 30 years of ABS figures.

The apparent discrepancy between that data and the Clarius estimates no doubt reflects the strong volume of work going through the resource pipeline in recent times (hence the strong ABS numbers) compared with the limited number of new projects starting up.

Published on 13 May 2014
Andrew Heaton

Reaching up to the angels in LA
Wilshire Grand Center, Los Angeles USA

Currently being detailed by AISD (Qld) member BDS VirCon, this 73-storey hotel is being built in the heart of Los Angeles for Korean Air and is destined to be the tallest building in the US western states with a clever steel braced design to address potential seismic activity in the earthquake-prone region.

The amazing structure will be the city’s tallest at just over 335 metres (above grade) and will have 900 guest rooms, double-decker elevators and a rooftop pool with ocean views.

The project will be highlighted by a 900-room luxury hotel above 37,000sqm of office space and more than 4000sqm of retail area. An 1100-stall parking garage will occupy seven levels below grade.

The tower will employ a lateral system with a concrete core shear wall and use a series of steel outrigger columns and braces to help keep building drift in check. The concrete core will be 1.2 metres thick at its base tapering to 760mm thick at the top floor supported by a structural steel brace frame.

A representative with the project’s prime steel contractor, Los Angeles-based Schuff Steel Company, said due to the unique irregular design of the tower, the lower outrigger truss system is one of the most critical parts of the building.

“This is a three storey brace system between levels 28 and 31. The north and south braces are 40 Nippon Steel buckling restrained braces (BRBs) with four at 10 grid locations each weighting approximately 16.33 tonnes as well as 18 three storey conventional W14x665 braces adjacent to the BRBs,” he said.

“Each of the BRB braces connects to a large 70mm gusset plate that is welded to a 10-metre tall embedment at the core wall.

“The embedment is approximately four tonnes and we plan on using the electroslag welding process on many of the joints in the field including the BRB gusset plates to the embedment, approximately three metre long continuous welds.

“Due to the large vertical weld and critical nature of this joint the electroslag weld is a perfect application. This weld process will be performed in one pass which limits the overheating of the joint or discontinuities in the weld.“

Because the tower is being built in an active seismic zone, the team has undertaken a performance-based design with a peer review committee of university professors and practising engineer hired by the city to review the design.

The Wilshire Grand project has been designed for two earthquake performance levels in accordance with the LA Tall Buildings Structural Design Council guidelines used by the Building Department taking into consideration local seismicity to resist:
• Minor (frequent) earthquakes (with a 43 year return period) with little or no damage.
• Extremely rare (with a 2475 year return period) major earthquakes with a low probability of collapse.

Taking local seismicity consisting of 29 major faults into consideration is crucial when it comes to the lateral system of the structure which is amazingly slender according to the project’s structural engineers.
In the transverse building direction the core wall is only nine metres wide yet almost 305 metres tall. To reduce the overturning forces on the core wall and to stiffen the building against seismic and wind drift, buckling restrained braced frames were added at the lower office level, six hotel levels and the uppermost floors at the top of the building.
Schuff also participated in a design assist coordination effort. This included constructability review, value engineering and BIM Modelling.

“The design team worked with the peer review panel along with Mitsui Nippon Steel on the design approach and analysis,”
The representative said. “We have had over 25 design assist meetings just on the lower outrigger.”
He said the project design has been released in phases but that hasn’t held up the schedule.
“The critical path milestones for the material were coordinated with the design team in sequence with the construction,” he said.
“The final design follows a similar logic. With this we have been able to minimise the change of rework or waste. Still, there have been several changes during the submittal process, however we have a change procedure which has streamlined the managing of that.
“All items have either been documented through an Architectural Supplement Instruction or Requests for Information (RFIs).
“So far we have done an excellent job in managing this through the coordinated effort involving BDS VirCon, Turner Construction and ourselves.”

ASI steel detailer member, BDS VirCon is collaborating with the Schuff Steel team in a design assist role to develop project outcomes for some of the more complex elements of the structure.

These include the roof parapets, sail structure and spire that all sit atop the towering steelwork building. BDS refers all RFIs and Document Change Notices for each steel member directly into the 3D model with their Virtual Construction software interface that provides easy impact assessment and decision making for the entire project team.

Schuff Steel is working very closely with the detailing model issued weekly by BDS VirCon. This model enables them to closely monitor progress, ensure fabrication and erection suitability and develop accurate lifting engineering studies and outcomes which BDS in turn incorporates into the working model.

The project schedule requires over 30,000 hours of modelling and detailing spanning just over twelve months.

The project uses approximately 16,300 steel tonnes including 504 box columns weighing about 5900 tonnes.

The steelwork itself involves approximately 300,000 shop hours split between Schuff Steel’s Phoenix and Eloy facilities in Arizona and about 125,000 hours onsite.

The project has limited storage onsite so Just in Time Delivery is carefully planned by Schuff field staff. Each piece is typically erected the same day.

The project is slated for completion in 2017.

Educating the Educated in Steel Detailing

Earlier this month I delivered an hour long presentation to third year Engineering student at QUT in a lecture room similar to the image below.

This presentation has been delivered by Clayton each year, however this year I offered my time to deliver it.
The AISD is invited to deliver a presentation to Engineering students by professor Mahen Mahendran with the aim to address the following:

  • The role of a steel Detailer
  • What the AISD is all about
  • What the industry expects from designers
  • The pitfalls associated with poor design
  • The benefits across the supply chain as a result of quality design material
  • A brief touch on the history of Detailing - where we have come from to get to this technical age

I decided to then direct my focus into the technological age, because lets face it - thats the world we live in. I figured after a session of discussing roles and responsibilities, do's and dont's, it was fitting to take a look at some of the integrated practices which many Steel Detailers find themselves being involved in today.
Unfortunately, as happens so often with these technical presentations, technology in terms of showing some videos failed. I did manage to get the message across with the powerpoint still images and an explanation to accompany those images.
The students were interested when images such as this came up on the screen:

An image such as this shows the linkage between the design deliverable and the final build item. The power of technology has enabled Steel Detailers to really express themselves and show the industry at large the benefits to the whole supply chain of what we have to offer. Steel Detailers don't just draw objects, we have a foot in all three camps:

  • Design
  • Manufacturing
  • Construction

Our deliverable is what gets built, its the only deliverable which can be trusted in terms of accuracy.
I only hope that some of the students took some of this on board and understand that design is more than punching numbers into a computer. Design in its basic form is all about communication, the more effective communication the better the outcome.

FREE Web Presence for your Business
By Rebecca McLeod, One Tree Web Solutions

Many small businesses who receive much of their work via word of mouth don’t feel the need for a web presence.  But think of that 1 job you completed for that 1 great client who, some years down the track, wants you to take on another project.  All they remember is your first name / last name or business name and maybe where you are located. 
Will they be able to find you via a quick Google search? Possibly not.

That’s where Google My Business comes in.  Google My Business is Google+ | Google’s own social media platform.

After just 2 years Google+ has become the second-largest social media site in the world.

4 Benefits of a Google+ Page
Focus on geographical location and business service areas
Business pages are verified as official businesses (thus bringing credibility)
Google backing allows your Google+ page to rank well for basic keyword searches specific to your business (or individual) name.

How does it work?
Let’s take a quick look at a Google Search on my business: One Tree Web Solutions.
The section on the right comes from Google+. You will see my website information is on the left, but if I didn’t have a website, that elusive old client who is looking for me can at least give me a call via the information on my Google+ page.

How do you get one?
It’s a little cumbersome to set up as you will need a Google account as well as a Google+ personal account as you will need to set up a Google account (free) and a personal Google+ accountfree to set up and no more difficult than setting up a LinkedIn or Facebook page.

  1. Go to
  2. Create your Google account (if you don’t already have one) – note the option to use your current email address rather than creating a new @gmail address.
  3. Check for the verification email and click on the link
  4. Either go ahead and create a public profile for your “personal” Google+ page
  5. Now click on the little blue head in the top right hand corner and click “View Profile”.
  6. This will take you to your personal Google + profile (for you as a person). Now you need to create your business Google+ page
  7. On the left hand menu (under Profile), click on Pages
  8. Click Get your page
  9. Go ahead and be guided by Google+ through the links to create your page.

If it gets confusing, there are plenty of online tutorials to help you out, or simply send me an email.

PDC in BRW’s Most Innovative Companies Top 50 List 2014

PDC included in the BRW Top 50 Most Innovative Companies List 2014 and No 1 in the Engineering space!

PDC’s innovative thinking and developments with Building Information Modelling (BIM) is leading the industry into new territory.

At PDC, BIM is about adding, validating and using the intelligence in models in order to deliver efficiencies in construction, infrastructure and asset management. To compliment this, BIM adds efficient processes, workflows and data sets to the 3D models to add further dimensions beyond the 3D environment.

The two implemented innovations PDC entered into the BRW Most Innovative Companies List 2014 are:

BIM Flow
PDC considered the capability of building in an automated workflow engine into iConstruct software, the proprietary BIM tool, to schedule and run through each of the required process steps. 

An overall streamlined validation process allowing for jobs to be finished ahead of schedule and under budget.

PDC has implemented the BIM flow across the Perth Childrens Hospital and the INPEX Ichthys LNG Project.

Review Track
PDC’s Review Track provides a leading edge design review tool that supports our PDC Integrated Project Design approach with our clients and offers a unique point of difference. ReviewTrack now ensures all model review comments and snapshots are centralised with easy interactive access to review these comments by either Data Browser and or Model Viewer tools.

PDC now provide multi person, multi discipline synchronised reviews from anywhere in the world to any or all models on the project at once.

Read more here: BRW Innovator Top 50 List 2014

PDC project improvements here: Engineering Evolved

Workplace Ergonomics Create Efficiencies

Increasing staff productivity is a frequent discussion point with CEOs and business leaders when discussing their office space. Creating an ergonomic workplace can support this objective.

Ergonomics ensure there is a good fit between the workers and what they interact with in their environment. Ergonomics is an important aspect of the workplace as it supports workers to maintain better health, increasing their satisfaction, which in turn leads to increased productivity.

By designing a workplace that allows for good posture, less exertion, fewer motions and improved heights and reaches, the workstation becomes more efficient. Poor ergonomics leads to frustrated and fatigued workers that don’t perform their best work.

Employees notice when a company has focused effort on ensuring their health and safety is a priority. If an employee does not experience fatigue and discomfort during their workday, it can reduce turnover, decrease absenteeism, improve morale and increase employee involvement.

Ergonomic office chairs have been a focal point for years now. They are comfortable, stylish and are not necessarily expensive. Investment in a chair that is used 36.5 hours a week is a much better investment in your team health than a new coffee machine (not that workers don’t love those!). A good quality chair should include:

A comfortable cushion: One of the most basic requirements is a comfortable place to sit.

Breathable fabric is ideal too. This offers greater comfort, especially in the warmer months.

Arm rests: If you have an office chair with armrests, the armrests should be adjustable. They should allow the user’s arms to rest comfortably and shoulders to be relaxed. The elbows and lower arms should rest lightly, and the forearm should not be on the armrest while typing
Adjustable seat height: Ideally, you want to be able to adjust your seat so that your thighs are parallel to the floor and your feet are flat on the floor. You also want to have your arms at the height of the desk (or the part of the desk containing your keyboard or mouse).

Adjustable back rest height: You should be able to adjust your chair’s back up and down and the angle as well. Generally, you want the angle to be pretty far forward to keep your posture up.

The ability to swivel and/or roll around: A chair with wheels and the ability to swivel is a necessary feature. When you need to reach for items on your desk, you can put strain on your body, so widening the area you can easily reach is important in protecting your body from injury.

Healthy employees are an organisation’s most valuable asset. Creating and fostering a workplace environment that supports ergonomic design will lead to better human performance.

Ruth Newman

Australian Steel Institute | Steel Excellence Award Winners

Each year, this is our chance to reward exemplary performance in design, detailing, construction, fabrication and the whole steel supply chain.

The design teams, architects, builders and engineers are the decision makers in the steel chain and by their ideas and innovation they feed our industry. However, these teams include the fabricators, detailers, coaters and distributors who worked together to make it happen. In this regard we see an award winning project as being for the whole design and supply chain team and our award certificates and AV at the awards nights reflect that. 

The 2014 ASI Queensland awards night was held at the Convention Centre in Southbank.

As in previous years, the first industry award of the night is presented by the AISD. Our award has always given recognition to design consultants who are judged to deliver excellent documentation and services to the steel construction industry. While keeping quality in front of mind, we also need to remain in touch with the changing nature of design delivery, so this year the AISD changed the focus of our documentation award.
The delivery of design information to detailers using 3D Building Information models (or BIM) is a process option that is certainly gaining momentum in the local Steel Construction market. The AISD have been vocal supporters of this process for quite some time now, so it’s exciting to witness the growing awareness by designers & builders of the merits of early engagement and the advantages that Australian Steel Detailers have to offer.

By integrating the delivery of workshop drawings early in the project, steel detailers are adding significant value to the whole supply chain, there-by, making structural steel a more sought after material of choice.
This year, we recognised this innovative practice by offering a new award for Integrated Project Delivery, or IPD, for short.

This award acknowledges all participants in the IPD team, the builder, the design consultant and the detailer.
The judging for this award was conducted by an independent panel drawn from the membership of the AISD and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the directors of Hempsall Steel Detailers & from JBD for their efforts in judging the entries and deciding on our winner.
The Judging criteria for the award included:

  • The extent to which detailers were included in the design process
  • Technology integration and the accuracy of modelling
  • Time saved during the documentation program and advances in the construction schedule.
  • Communication improvement & RFI resolution
  • And the benefits delivered  to the project by the IPD process

The winner of the inaugural Integrated Project Delivery Award was the Meadowbrook Retail Development | ADCO Constructions, McVeigh Consulting and Steelcad Drafting

The remainder of the awards to industry were presented by the ASI with entries nominated in four categories - with the winners being:

  1. Buildings - Large Projects - "Global Change Institute"
  2. Buildings - Small Projects - "Brezac Constructions Fabrication Facility"
  3. Steel Clad Structures - "St Peters Lutheran College Performing Arts Centre"
  4. Engineering Projects - "Crude Ore Bin Refurbishment"

Pictured: Winners of the “Large Project Category” Joe Biggs (right), Managing Director, JBD accepting the framed certificate with ASI Chairman – Don MacDonald (left) and project designers.

The ASI Steel Awards are held biannually and for events like this they require judges.
The judging panel this year was:

  • Architect - Malcolm Middleton (Dept of Housing and Public Works)
  • Engineer - Robert West (Bonacci Group)
  • Steel Detailer - Phil Shanks (Steelcad Drafting)
  • Steel Distributor - Gavin Krupa (Southern Qld Steel)
  • Fabricator - Stephen Moss (Casa Engineering)

Perhaps one of the more rewarding sections of the event was when the student awards were presented. The UNI students are really enthusiastic about the work they are involved in and look forward to a bright future as Engineers designing steel framed buildings.
It also goes without saying that the evening was a social highlight of the year for the steel construction industry, providing guests with an excellent dining experience with fine food & wine along with lashings of entertainment and networking opportunities.

Pictured: Tim Rachow, Project manager for BDS and AISD Qld Committee member.

We invite you to view all the awards, both State and National, on the ASI website

You can also view these through the e-reader facility accessible on that web page as well as short video presentations on each of the National Award winners. 

We encourage you to view the impressive designs and see how your efforts as steel design and supply chain members were recognised.

Congratulations to all those who won.

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