Structural steel can be found almost everywhere. Bridges, skyscrapers, parking garages, and even residential buildings make use of structural steel. Steel is an uncommonly hardy material with unmatched pound-for-pound load bearing capacity, but quality assurance is still a vital part of structural steel fabrication.
The Goals of Quality Assurance
Quality assurance aims to confirm that the steel used is of the highest quality and that the process is executed with attention to detail. Many of the natural benefits of steel can be rendered useless if refinement and fabrication are done in a sloppy or hasty manner. So what are some of the things that a quality assurance inspector looks for when assessing the quality of a structural steel fabrication job?
1. Check for the proper qualifications and performance of the welder
Structural steel fabrication must be performed by a qualified and licensed welder. Improper technique can negatively effect the overall strength and lifespan of a steel structure. A quality assurance inspector can assess the work of your welders to ensure that it meets all required specifications.
2. Check for proper functioning of the welding and fabricating equipment
Qualified welding operators are a necessity, but if the equipment is improperly calibrated or otherwise defective, then quality can suffer greatly. However, a quality assurance inspector can make sure your tools are in order.
3. Assess the quality of the material being used
Not all steel is created equal and it's important to use the correct grade for your project. Different types of steel have different carbon levels which will effect things like how easy it is to weld or cut and how much tensile strength it has. A quality assurance inspector can confirm that the actual alloy composition of the steel being used matches what's required in your specifications.
4. Confirm that the measurements of steel parts match specifications
Structural steel fabrications are designed down to the millimeter, and these measurements must be spot on in order to ensure the longevity and safety of a structure. A quality assurance inspector can double check to confirm that the measurements are exactly as stated in the design specifications.
When used correctly, steel is a powerful and sustainable material, but it's important that everything is executed according to the highest standards. Minute details must be accounted for and it's best practice to check everything twice, which is exactly what a good quality assurance inspector will do for you.