How does steel fabrication work?
All steel components are manufactured in the controlled environment of a fabrication factory, where consistent structural elements with assured quality can be created to meet the specific requirements of each project. In this environment, steel parts can be easily standardised, tested and certified. Any waste material produced during the fabrication phase, e.g. off-cuts, swarfe, can be recycled and used again in the steelmaking process.Off-site manufacture is more efficient, faster, leaner and safer than site construction. It also yields high quality products with fewer defects that require less ‘snagging’ on site, leading to savings in both time and money.Being factory based, steel production and fabrication requires skilled, settled workers. There is little need or desire for an itinerant workforce, and as such it provides stable employment. Compared to working on-site, the fabrication factory is a far safer environment for workers; and productivity and quality are not subject to the elements to the same degree as site-based construction.The steel supply chainThe United Kingdom is the world’s leader in steel construction both commercially, technically, and in terms of quality. From humble beginnings over 200 years ago, the industry has gone from strength to strength achieving a current global turnover of £3,000 million and providing employment for over 100,000 people.The industry has made dramatic improvements in technology, productivity and efficiency, helping it to maintain strong exports of steelwork and related products and services. In the UK market, 95% and 70% of all single-storey industrial buildings and multi-storey non-residential construction respectively (by floor area) are framed in steel.The steel construction industry operates through an efficient integrated supply chain. There is an extensive choice of steelwork contractors available to specifiers and buyers in terms of size, expertise and capabilities, thus ensuring a competitive tender list.The British Constructional Steelwork Association (BCSA) is the national organisation for the steelwork contractors in the UK and Ireland. Its Member companies undertake the design, fabrication and erection of steelwork for all forms of construction in building and civil engineering. BCSA operates a number a number of schemes to ensure the competency and quality of its members and the products and services they supply. These include the BCSA membership assessment requirements, the Register of Qualified Steelwork Contractors for Bridgeworks (RQSC), the Steel Construction Certification Scheme (SCCS), CE Marking, and the Steel Construction Sustainability Charter (SCSC).Structural steelwork is an engineered product utilising the most modern CAD/CAM products, ensuring a good and accurate fit. 3D and virtual reality models can greatly assist the professional staff in the quality and planning of the product design. BCSA members promote an early involvement in the design process to clearly define the design criteria and give the most cost and speed efficient quality designs over the whole life of the structure.
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