Quality Assurance

Concepts for improving and maintaining quality in the constructed project stress the participation of the design professional in the project team consisting of the owner, design professional, and general contractor. While the structural engineer plays a varying role in the major phases of a project—that is, conceptual, preliminary, and final design; bidding; and construction—his or her participation is vital to achieving the appropriate level of quality.

Those activities of the structural engineer that have the greatest impact on quality are materials selection, determination of workmanship quality levels, quality control (QC) requirements, preparation of clear and complete contract documents, and review of the contractor’s work. One aspect of the last item that is particularly important in steel construction is the review and approval of the fabricator’s shop drawings. Because the fabricator’s engineers design connections to meet the criteria provided by the design professional, the review and approval process must assure that connection designs and details are compatible with the intent and requirements of the basic design.
(‘‘Quality in the Constructed Project,’’ American Society of Civil Engineers.)

Steel construction may be classified into three board categories: wall-bearing, skeleton, and long-span framing. Depending on the needs of the building, one or more of these categories may be incorporated.
In addition to the main building elements—floors, roofs, walls—the structural system must include bracing members that provide lateral support for main members as well as for other bracing members, resistance to lateral loads on the building, redundant load paths, and stiffness to the structure limit deflections. An economical and safe design properly integrates these systems into a completed structure.