Connector 2017 summer edition

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18 Streamlined Pre-Con Techniques 26 Low Level Fall Protection 40 Convention Highlights


High Rise


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c ntents


FEATURES Management


Streamlined Connections A smart pre-construction process ramps up efficiency, turnaround By Lucy Perry

In the Field


The 6 Foot Drop


32 Cover Story

Protecting ironworkers from falls at low levels By Tracy Bennett

Choke Points and Limited Laydown

Special Focus

By TIna Cauller

Big Box Retail and High Rise Office Share Common Challenges Among the winning Projects of the Year completed in 2016 were two very different jobs — a low-rise big box retail space and a skyscraper. On the cover: Peterson Beckner Industries was recognized for the steel crown of 609 Main in Houston, Texas, a geometrically complex HSS framing.

2017 Convention Highlights from 45th Convention in Myrtle Beach, S.C. ONLINE HIGHLIGHTS QQIronworker Training Now Available Coast to Coast QQAttendees Rate Convention as Highly Relevant QQProtecting Workers from Heat Illness QQUnderstanding How Fall Distance Impacts Fall Protection

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DEPARTMENTS 8 10 14 44

Perspective Association News Product Focus: Lifting Equipment Business Operations 46 Topping Out SEAA Mission Statement The Steel Erectors Association of America (SEAA) is dedicated to advancing the common interests and needs of all engaged in building with steel. The Association’s objectives in achieving this goal include the promotion of safety, education and training programs for steel erector trades, development and promotion of standards and cooperation with others in activities which impact the commercial construction business.

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Membership in Steel Erectors Association of America provides Safety, Education, and Productivity benefits for its members. As a trade association representing Steel Erectors, Fabricators, General Contractors, and Vendors, businesses with complementary interests gain invaluable opportunities to learn from each other.

SEAA is the only national trade association representing the interests of steel erectors, fabricators, and related service providers. Connector reaches both small and large contractors working in union and open labor markets.

Your Industry No other national association represents the unique interests of all steel erectors and fabricators. Members are experts in construction of commercial buildings, arenas, bridges, and highway structures. Network with other industry professionals at the Anuual Covention, golf tournaments, member events and training classes.

Improve Safety and Productivity Members have access to custom Ironworker Craft Training Curriculum. Studies show 24% of businesses experience lower productivity due to the lack of skilled ironworkers and welders. A better trained workforce delivers lower accidents rates, higher productivity, and increased profits.

Accredited Credentials at Reduced Cost SEAA’s NCCER sponsorship means your company can provide industry-recognized credentials to your employees with the benefit of SEAA adminstrative support and at a lower cost to members than going direct through NCCER.

Competitive Advantage SEAA’s U.S. Department of Labor-approved Ironworker Apprenticeship Program allows members to create formal training that meets standards recognized by Federal and State governments. Pariticipation allows merit shop contractors to utilize government approved apprenticeship rates on Davis Bacon Wage Projects.

Influence Industry Standards SEAA strategic partnerships with industry groups provides your company with industry represnetation with American Institute of Steel Construction, Steel Joist Institute, Steel Deck Institute, National Institute of Steel Detailing, and others.

Join by calling the SEAA office 336-294-8880 or visit Discover why a SEAA Membership is a good investment for your business.


Steel Erectors Association of America Piedmont Leaf Lofts 401 E. 4th Street, #204 Winston-Salem, NC 27101-4171 336-294-8880 OFFICERS & EXECUTIVE STAFF Josh Cilley, President David Schulz, VP, Industry Representative Carrie Sopuch-Gulajan, VP, Associate Representative Geoffrey Kress, Treasurer Chris Legnon, Secretary and Media Committee Chairman Tom Underhill, Executive Director PUBLISHING PARTNER Chris Harrison, Publisher Phone 660-287-7660 Tracy Bennett, Managing Editor Phone 816-536-7903 Eileen Kwiatkowski, Art Director MEDIA ADVISORY COMMITTEE Chris Legnon, Fabricators, Cooper Steel Jim Simonson, Fabricators, Steel Service Josh Cilley, Erectors, American Steel & Precast Erectors and Buckner Steel Erection Glen Pisani, Erectors, MAS Building & Bridge Bryan McClure, Safety, MSC Safety Solutions Ed Valencia, Safety, Peterson Beckner Industries Connector™ is published quarterly by the Steel Erectors Association of America, 401 E. 4th Street, #204, Winston-Salem, NC 27101-4171. Copyright 2017 by the Steel Erectors Association of America. No material may be reprinted without permission from the Executive Director. While the information and recommendations contained in this publication have been compiled from sources believed to be reliable, the Steel Erectors Association of America, its affiliates, employees, contributors, writers, editors, designers, photographers, and media advisory committee, makes no guarantee as to, and assumes no responsibility for, the correctness, sufficiency or completeness of such information or recommendations and cannot be held responsible for the outcome of any action or decision based on the information contained in this publication or claims made by advertisers. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without prior written permission of the Publisher. Permission is only deemed valid if approval is in writing.

Project of the Year 2017 NATIONAL AWARDS PROGRAM Sponsored by

Steel Erectors Association of America

CALL FOR NOMINATIONS The Steel Erectors Association of America (SEAA) is soliciting nominations for the 2017 Project of the Year (POY) Award. The Project of the Year Award is presented to a project that highlights a major accomplishment members have made over the past year. There are (4) Class categories.

• Class I: Erection Contract of up to $500K • Class II: Erection Contract of $500K to $1 Mil

• Class III: Erection Contract of $1 Mil to $2.5 Mil • Class IV: Erection Contract of $2.5 Mil and above

SEAA will announce the 2017 winners at their 46th Annual Convention & Trade Show, set for April 25-27, 2018 in Greensboro, NC. Visit to download the program and nomination forms. The competition is open from January 1, 2017 through December 31, 2017. Nominations must be postmarked by 3/1/18 to be eligible.

MAIL NOMINATIONS TO: SEAA POY Awards Program Piedmont Leaf Lofts 401 E. 4th St., Suite 204 Winston-Salem, NC 27101


By Tom Underhill

Professional Networking is the Heart of the Association


ndividuals from more than 30 states convened in Myrtle Beach, S.C., for the 2017 SEAA National Convention and Trade Show. Registration was strong with steady year-over-year attendance of about 300 industry professionals. This year, the Trade Show featured nine brand new exhibitors and outdoor displays of equipment, available for hands-on demos. In post-convention surveys, 56% of respondents said live equipment demos is something they would like to see more of in the future. Education sessions received high marks from attendees. More than 85% of survey respondents felt topics presented were relevant to their jobs. The convention committee, led by Carrie Sopuch-Gulujan, began initial plans for 2018 event during the July Board of Directors meeting. Input from members on topics or speakers is welcome. In 2018, the 46th National Convention and Trade Show will be at the luxurious Grandover Resort, located on 1,500 acres near Greensboro, N.C. The facility features two 18-hole championship golf courses, clay tennis courts, day spa, and indoor and outdoor swimming pools. Nearby vineyards, breweries, dynamic live music scene, and historic attractions, including the Guilford Courthouse National Military Park and International Civil Rights Museum, round out the recreational attractions of the area. Piedmont Triad International Airport in Greensboro is serviced by Allegiant, American, Continental, Delta, Frontier, United, and U.S. Airways, with daily one-stop service from more than 200 cities. Make plans to join us April 25-27, 2018.

Representing interests of erectors The Ironworker Craft Training & Apprenticeship programs continue to attract interest in SEAA. At least half of the new members who have joined in the last 12 months did so specifically because of this member benefit. It has also garnered attention from the media, with articles and coverage in dozens of construction trade publications and business magazines, including a special section called Steel Today in Engineering News Record. As such, we recently launched a new logo giving this program its own brand identity. Current SEAA/NCCER training units Tom Underhill is the Executive Director of the Steel Erectors Association of America. Contact him at 8 | THE STEEL ERECTORS ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA

and assessment sites are encouraged to display the logo on their websites or in their marketing materials. For information on using the logo, contact the SEAA office. SEAA also continues to lobby for the interests of steel erectors. We have supported OSHA’s Stand Down to Prevent Falls in Construction since its inception, and recently expanded our partnership with OSHA to support Safe + Sound Week, held June 12-18. SEAA joined other national organizations, including National Safety Council, the American Industrial Hygiene Association, the American Society of Safety Engineers, and the National Institute for Occupational Safety raise awareness of the value of workplace safety and health programs. Likewise, we continue to contribute the steel erectors’ viewpoint to the American Institute of Steel Construction through committee representation and being a collaborative interested party in expanding the use of building with steel. The theme of safety carried through at a recent meeting SEAA board members had with the Steel Erectors Safety Association of Colorado. SESAC is a group of Colorado-based steel erection firms that are both union and non-union. They employ an estimated 700 employees and together work about 1.4 million hours per year. The purpose of our meeting was to continue our long-term relationship and to update joint industry initiatives. In March, SEAA also participated in the NASCC Conference, which offered good exposure and resulted in several inquiries. Steel Day is Sept. 15, which promotes steel construction and provides educational opportunities. The Annual Education Fundraiser Golf Tournament takes place Oct. 20 at the Lonnie Poole Golf Course in Raleigh, N.C. Registration is now open. Visit the Events page at

Final congratulatory notes In addition to the companies that received Project of the Year recognition, SEAA congratulates Charlie Johnson, recipient of the William Davis Service Award. This award is not given every year. As SEAA’s highest honor, it is reserved for individuals who have given a career of service to the association and the steel erection industry. See page XX for more about Charlie Johnson, and 2017 Persons of the Year Duke Perry and Dave Brown Sr. SEAA would not exist without the efforts of these and many dedicated volunteers, who are the lifeblood of the organization. We thank you for your service.

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■■Winning Steel Erection Projects


EAA announces the winners of its annual Project of the Year for steel erection contracts topped out in 2016. Five companies in four contract level categories were honored at the 2017 Annual ConEd Emmons Steel Erectors, Inc. vention and Awards Gala in Myrtle Beach, S.C. Entries are judged by an independent panel of experts representing a broad knowledge of structural design. The winning projects demonstrate the range and complexity of steel construction in the United States. Two of the projects were for government installations with extremely tight tolerances and high-level security clearances, while the others were more traditional high-rise and big-box construction with congested job sites and tight project S.L. Shaw Company schedules.

Peterson Beckner Industries

Top Secret Construction The Class I winner, for erection contracts valued at up to $500,000, was awarded to Ed Emmons Steel Erectors Inc., Pensacola, Fla., for Elgin Air Force Base, Variable Height Tower in Okaloosa County, Fla. The variable height tower is a testing facility constructed on a range in a remote area of the base.

High Rise Hat Dance Peterson Beckner Industries, Houston, Texas, was awarded the Class II prize, for erection contracts valued between $500,000 and $1 million, for their work at 609 Main Crown, Houston, Texas. The 48-story office building is the 10th tallest building in Texas.

Big Box Obstacles The Class III Winner, S.L. Shaw Company, Bakersfield, Calif., was recognized for the largest IKEA retail store in the United States. The company was named the Class III winner for erection contracts between $1 million to $2.5 million.

Mission to Mars Bringing in the Class IV win for erection contracts over $2.5 million is S&R Enterprises, LLC, Harrisburg, Pa., which spent three years modifying NASA’s Vehicle Assembly Building, high bay No. 3, for the Space Launch System at Cape Canaveral, Fla. This historic project will allow for NASA’s new SLS Rocket and Orion spacecraft programs to reach space for the first time since the last space shuttle mission. 10 | THE STEEL ERECTORS ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA

Mid Cities Erectors S&R Enterprises. LLC

Class II Honorable Mention Mid Cities Erectors, Fort Worth, Texas, received Honorable Mention for the Kubota North American Headquarters in Grapevine, Texas, which involved complex sequencing of tilt-up and steel erection.

■■California Erector

Receives Training Grant

The Education Committee awarded Rackley Company, a structural steel erector and metal building erector based in Northern California, with its Craft Training & Education Grant. Funded by the annual golf tournament, boom lift ball drop, and other fundraisers, the grant supports expansion of the SEAA/NCCER Ironworker Craft Training & Apprenticeship Program. Open to new participants in the program, the grant valued at $4500, offsets startup costs for company’s seeking to implement Ironworker Craft Training.

Events & Activities

■■Charlie Johnson Honored with

Steel Day

In recognition for his service to the steel construction industry, SEAA has named Charlie Johnson the recipient of the William Davis Service Award. The association’s highest honor, it is given in memory of William Davis, who held board and committee positions with SEAA in the 1980s and 1990s.

Sept. 15, 2017 steelday/

SEAA 4th Quarter Board Meeting

William Davis Service Award

Oct. 19, 2017 Raleigh, N.C.

Education Fundraiser Golf Tournament Oct. 20, 2017 Lonnie Poole Golf Course, Raleigh, N.C.

2017 Project of the Year Submissions For jobs that top out by Dec. 31, 2017 Due March 1, 2018 project_of_the_year See page 7 for more info.

46th National Convention & Trade Show April 25-27, 2018 Grandover Resort, Greensboro, N.C.

■■Future Leaders Selected During its April Board of Directors Meeting held in Myrtle Beach, S.C., SEAA elected David Schulz of Schulz Iron Works Inc., Raleigh, N.C., as President Elect. Currently a member of the Executive Committee, he will take office as President in 2018. All other officers will complete their two-year term in 2018. They are: •  Sitting President: Josh Cilley, American Steel and Precast Erectors and Buckner Companies •  Vice President, Associate: Carrie Gulajan, Construction Insurance Agency Inc. •  Treasurer: Geoff Kress, Gardner-Watson Decking Inc. •  Secretary: Chris Legnon, Cooper Steel •  Immediate Past President: Steve Burkholder, S&R Enterprises LLC

Board members confirmed for the 20172019 term are:

Johnson, retired Vice President and General Manager of Steel Performance Inc., Greensboro, N.C., has held officer and board member positions with the association, including President, Vice President, Treasurer, and Long Range Planning Committee Chairman. He joined Steel Performance in 1995 after a long career in the Navy. Johnson was recognized for his commitment to the health and long-term growth of the association. He notably served as President for an extended period during a critical transition for the association. During that time he spearheaded efforts to hire an independent, full-time executive director to oversee daily operations of the association. As the association sought to expand beyond a regional organization, he also promoted “road shows” to introduce erectors across the country to the benefits of SEAA membership.

■■Suppliers Recognized for Service SEAA announces that two individuals have received the 2017 Person of the Year award. They are Duke Perry, General Manager of Bluearc Stud Welding, Braselton, Ga., and Dave Brown, Sr., Regional Sales Manager of the Southeast Region for United Rentals. Both individuals represent suppliers to the industry—a manufacturer of weld studs, stud welding equipment and accessories, and a lifting equipment rental company—an indication of the value steel erectors and fabricators place on their relationships with product and service providers. For the first time, the 12 | THE STEEL ERECTORS ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA

•  Bob Beckner, Peterson Beckner Industries Inc., has been a member of SEAA since 1993 and has served as a past president. •  Dave Brown, United Rentals, is serving in his second term with the board. •  Ed Valencia, Peterson Beckner Industries Inc., has served multiple terms on the board and is currently the Chairman of the Safety Committee. •  Bryan McClure, MSC Safety Solutions, is a new addition to the board, and has been involved with the association since the early 1990s. •  Jack Metcalf, National Institute of Steel Detailing, is a long-time member, having served on the board for more than five terms. •  Jim Simonson, Steel Service Corp., returns to the board after previously filling an open position. •  Ben Wadlington, Bracken Construction Co. Inc., joins the board for the first time, and has been a member of the association for many years.

SEAA Board of Directors vote ended in a tie, the reason for two awards. Duke Perry of Bluearc Stud Welding, is a second generation welding expert. He advises manufacturing and production of weld studs for the construction industry and leads sales and marketing for the product line. His company has been a member of SEAA since 2010, and he has served multiple terms on the SEAA Board of Directors. Dave Brown, Sr., of United Rentals, has worked in equipment rental for many years, and United Rentals has been a member of SEAA for nearly two decades. Brown is currently serving his second term on the Board of Directors. Known by his friends as “Big” Dave, for his big ideas, big heart, and boisterous personality, Brown doesn’t hesitate to offer an opinion and often outsidethe-box thinking.

Connector | SUMMER EDITION August 2017 | 13



elehandlers, cranes and boom lifts displayed outside the exhibit tent provided hands-on operation opportunities during the 2017 Tradeshow held in Myrtle Beach, S.C., in conjunction with the SEAA National Convention in April. Lifting equipment included Magni RTH5.35S and RTH5.39S telehandlers, an

Ken Dawson, Raleigh Branch Manager for Superior Cranes, had a chance to operate the Altec AC45-127S during the 2017 SEAA Trade Show. “I was impressed,” he said. “I’ve never really cared for running a boom truck, but this one changed my mind. It seemed as though [the manufacturer] finally asked for an operator’s opinion on how to make a boom truck run more like a crane. For instance, the glide swing is a great addition. A couple other features I found helpful were the outrigger controls mounted on the back of the crane instead of the side, and the remote switch on the front bumper. The front entry into the cab is a nice addition also.”

Altec AC45-127S boom truck, and a JLG 660 SJ telescopic boom lift. Magni is a relative newcomer to the U.S. market, which features an extensive range with rotating cab designs. In addition to demos, Altec’s 45-ton crane was used to facilitate NCCER crane operator practical testing, a certification that is available as part of the SEAA/NCCER Craft Training program. Meanwhile, JLG’s 60-foot boom lift was essential to the Boom Lift Ball Drop, a fundraiser for SEAA’s education and training programs. 14 | THE STEEL ERECTORS ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA

■■JLG Telescopic Boom Lift The 660SJ, one of two new boom lifts introduced by JLG Industries Inc. in March, features unrestricted capacity of 750 lbs. This is a 50% increase over previous generations, allowing operators to bring more tools and material to the work area. The restricted capacity through the full lifting range is 550 lbs. Other improvements include faster lift and boom speeds, and ability to operate multiple functions for increased productivity. A reduced transport weight of 26,650 lbs. allows for multiple transport configurations. With a properly equipped truck, two units can be moved at one time without an overweight permit. Other reductions to total cost of ownership include extended wire rope and sheave replacement intervals of 7,000 hours, from 8 to 12 years. Optional JLG SkyPowersystem improves fuel economy and saves time, while providing additional power for hand tools and accessories. The new 660SJ includes the JLG SkyGuard enhanced control panel protection system as standard equipment. When activated by approximately 50 lbs. of force, SkyGuard stops all functions in use, temporarily reversing the unit to decrease chances of operators getting caught between objects.

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Connector | SUMMER EDITION August 2017 | 15

■■Altec AC45-127S The Altec AC45-127S is a 45-ton telescopic-boom truck-mounted crane with maximum boom length of 127 ft. In March, Altec unveiled an offsettable telescopic jib, designed to increase flexibility on this particular crane model. The new two-stage

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telescoping jib, introduced at ConExpo, can be used at a length of 31 or 55 ft., at offsets of 0°, 15°, or 30°. Maximum jib capacity on the 31-ft. length is 10,000 lbs. Maximum capacity on the 55-ft. length is 8,200 lbs. Altec offers load charts for both mid- and full-span outrigger positions, increasing setup flexibility in tight working conditions. A dual-entry cab comes standard on the AC45127S to increase visibility and reduce neck strain and associated fatigue. LMAP (Load Moment & Area Protection) System provides rated capacity limiter and operator defined audible alarm set points for boom angle, length and rotational position.

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■■Magni Telehandlers Paramount Equipment, LLC, Union, N.J., exclusive importer and master distributor for Magni telehandlers in the U.S. market, is building a dealer network throughout the country. To introduce the Italian-made telehander line to steel erectors, Paramount facilitated the displays of two models from U.S. dealers. ML Cranes and Equipment, Charlotte, N.C., showed the RTH5.35S, and Blue Hat Crane Rental, of Kansas City, Kan. showed the RTH5.39S. Magni announced its introduction to the U.S. market in late 2015, and began bringing its full product line over the course of 2016. The S Range features rotating booms and telescopic stabilizers. It includes five models ranging from 11,000 lbs. to 13,000 lbs., and maximum lifting heights from 78’8� to 131’4�. The two models displayed at the SEAA Tradeshow fall in the middle of the product line. A wide range of attachments, including winches, work platforms, hooks, tire-handling clamps, buckets, forks, a jib with a winch, cable reels, cylinder handlers, handlers for mining-truck wheel hubs, and concrete buckets, allow a single telehandler do many kinds of work. The RTH 5.35S and RTH5.39S both have a maximum lifting capacity of 24,251 lbs. The RTH5.35S, displayed by ML Cranes & Equipment, has a 114-ft. lifting height, and a maximum reach of approximately 85 feet. The RTH5.39S, displayed by Blue Hat Crane Rental, has a 127-ft. lifting height and maximum reach of about 85 feet. Capacity at maximum lift height is the same for both models— 5,071 lbs. They come equipped with a Mercedes 231 hp engine and a hydrostatic transmission. Their travel speed is 24 mph, and both have a load-sensing hydraulic circuit. Magni also offers traditional fixed-body telehandlers (HTH Series) with maximum capacities from 22,000 lbs. to 99,000 lbs. The Smart Range rotating telehandler line utilizes pivoting stabilizers, and includes four 11,000-lb. capacity models with lifting heights up to 82 feet. Similar in reach and capacity is the Smart S Range, which features telescopic stabilizers.


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By Lucy Perry

Streamlined Connections A smart pre-construction process ramps up efficiency, turnaround

Logistics and staging, from shop to field, play a key role in the pre-construction planning process for Steel Service Corp., a Jackson, Miss., fabricator. “We keep it as efficient as we can to keep it as cost-effective as we can, as a team,” says Jim Simonson, executive vice president and COO.

erect their fabricated components in the field. “We keep it as efficient as we can to keep it as cost-effective as we can, as a team,” he says. Smooth, sequenced deliveries of the materials needed—and only when needed—make fabrication operations more cost-effective, too. So does adopting quality-control processes into the pre-construction fabrication process. For example, with an integrated barcoding system, Steel Service can track materials as they leave the plant and as they arrive at the site, and mark rigging weights onto each piece to speed up work on the jobsite.

Sequenced success


wo of the major influencers in steel erection today are speed and efficiency. Customers demand quick turnaround, productivity, and safety, and the steel industry answers with pre-construction fabrication processes that are as efficient and cost-effective as possible. Modular designs in the shop, created with 3D software programs, require fewer live connections in the field. And quality-control practices, such as barcoding components, guarantee smooth field operations. “There’s a movement towards controlled fabrication/modularization, where work is

Lucy Perry operates WordSkills Editorial Services in Kansas City, Mo. With 35 years of writing and editing experience, she has spent 20 years following the North American construction industry. She can be reached at

done more in the shop. In a controlled environment, components in the field are installed as fast as possible,” says Jason Hoover, eastern regional business manager and industry outreach executive for SidePlate Systems, a Mission Viejo, Calif.-based designer of custom steel connections. “That’s the model we’ve adopted.” That controlled environment not only increases productivity, but makes for a quicker turnaround, adds Hoover. Getting all concerned entities involved in a project early on also shortens turnaround time, ensuring the transition from shop to field is glitch-free. “We hold early coordination meetings between the erector and fabricator so they know early on how they can make the process as efficient as possible,” explains Jim Simonson, executive vice president and COO of Steel Service, a Jackson, Miss., which hires erectors to assemble and


The barcode comes out with the shipping mark, the job number, and the weight of the piece, so when the rigger gets ready to hook it to the crane, he knows how much weight he’s dealing with. Steel Service’s team creates and shares the shipping piece list so the erector can check off pieces on the shipping ticket to make sure he has everything he needs. In the sequenced logistics model that Steel Service follows, multiple truckloads to make up each sequence. How the loads get staged out and fed to the jobsite; making sure all the safety aspects are met to make it more efficient; ensuring that perimeter safety holes are pre-drilled; recognizing that lifelines or

In the shop, Steel Service uses barcodes so all its pieces have the shipping mark, the job number, and weight. In the field with a Steel Service-provided shipping piece list, the erector can check off pieces on the shipping ticket, and the rigger knows how much weight he’s dealing with when he hooks a component to the crane.

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stanchion attachments are needed and if required, holes are provided, are all part of the quality control process. Any lifting devices needed for columns are planned for as well. “We pre-drill holes for the lifting pins, which involves coordination, along with how we are going to deal with any double connections at the column web,” explains Simonson. In recent years, he has seen a trend in the steel industry in the use of 3D design and construction models. A detailer can build a structure in a computer program electronically before the shop physically fabricates the parts and pieces. “The result is a higher degree of efficiency as errors are reduced, because if it all fits in the model it fits in the field,” he continues. In turn some erectors, such as Steel Service, have access to the 3D models at the jobsite on the computer where they can change the color of the members in the model to reflect production. They can plan crane logistics by interposing the crane layout into that model so it shows set-up, obstructions, the sequence, etc. Those models are getting more sophisticated in appearance and function, says Simonson.

Efficiency in the Moment In high-seismic areas where building drift must be controlled via moment connection, stiffening a frame with heavier beams won’t always limit connection performance. SidePlate Systems has successfully developed a specialized connection that has increased efficiency by eliminating the need for a complete joint penetration weld (CJP) on moment connections in the field. When SidePlate entered the market in January 1995, the entire connection could be built in the shop for certain configurations, but a CJP or full-pen weld was needed in the field, which was labor intensive. Because the connection was mostly used in high-seismic areas, fabricators liked having the quality control in the shop, says Hoover. After changing the configuration in 2009 so a full piece could be made in the shop, in 2013 SidePlate came out with a version that simply bolts in the field. “We’re refining that process with an eye toward the erector and fabricator,” says Hoover. “They still have the joint built in shop, but in the field they now simply drop it in place.” It’s cheaper and easier to run a bolt gun, and because the beam sits on the connection without having to be hung by an erector, it goes up faster and is safer, he says. “That in turn reduces general conditions, meaning less time someone can get hurt on the job, and they can move onto the next one,” he adds. SidePlate’s connection design operation is just another example of efficiency at its best in the steel erection industry.

In the field, SidePlate Systems connections are simply dropped into place and bolted, eliminating the welding process altogether. A cheaper and more efficient method, the beam sits on the connection without having to be hung by an erector. That, in turn, creates a safer work environment and reduces time on the job, says Jason Hoover, SidePlate’s eastern regional business manager and industry outreach executive.


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Not only does it heighten the level of sophistication, the streamlined relaying of info speeds up the time it takes to get steel details from a drawing to the field, says Chris Legnon, vice president of preconstruction for Cooper Steel, a Nashville, Tenn., steel fabricator and erector. “It saves time from the start of the fabrication process by having detail data in a file that our machines can read,” says Legnon. “We would have spent three or four days producing that data for the machine to use when we made the parts and pieces, 10 years ago.” A Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) file is integrated from the 3D model. “Since it’s generated straight from the 3D model, it streamlines quality control and reduces field fixes,” says Legnon. Modeling the steel detailing software can then generate files for machines that are in the shop, feeding the machine instructions on all the cuts and holes—all the info the machine needs to do to that piece, he continues. Like many other fabricators, Cooper Steel relies on 3D modeling, as well as building information modeling software, such as SDS/2 Detailing (Software Defined Storage)

and Tekla Structures. “Ten to 15 years ago, we were having to input all that by hand,” says Legnon. “Now the steel detailer can generate the CNC data for the entire job. It’s a pretty good To simplify the fabrication process, steel connection designer SidePlate advancement.” Systems transfers electronic files of connection parts and related data to the With these advanced shop. The biggest benefit is the fabricator does not have to manually transfer software programs, team information from drawings to computer models. The result is a streamlined members are also able to fabrication operation. take that as-built information from the field and feed it back to the model to make sure there are Technology vs. speed no conflicts regarding where the contractor All this sophisticated technology canputs the anchor bolts, and the info is relayed not beat turnaround pace, though, he says. back. “It’s getting pretty sophisticated with “Things go faster in the field because they’re some entities,” says Steel Service’s Simonson. pushing more into the shop where there’s a On the custom design side, SidePlate’s controlled environment.” The Number One team stays involved with both fabricator and contribution fabricators can make to help erector, transferring electronic files of con- erectors is to continue this level of quality nection parts and related data to both the control, says Hoover: “If the steel pieces are shop and the field. The biggest benefit, says fabricated correctly and all the holes align, Hoover, is neither fabricator nor erector has etc., the building will go together quickly with to manually transfer information from draw- minimal extra effort required in the field. ings to computer models, which streamlines Moreso than squeezing every dollar out, speed the process even more. seems to be the big driver these days.”


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Connector | SUMMER EDITION August 2017 | 23


By Tracy Bennett

The 6 Foot Drop Protecting ironworkers from falls at low levels


n 2013, more than 14,000 injuries and 51 fatalities occurred to workers who fell less than six feet to a lower level. The construction industry accounts for about 20 percent of those. This data comes from new coding which the Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (SOII) and the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) began collecting in 2011, according to an August 2016 article published by Sean M. Smith of the Bureau of Labor Statistics. “A common misconception regarding fall protection is that the closer you are to the ground, the safer that you are. This is simply not true,” said Kevin Muldoon, Product Manager of Lifeline Systems for Mazzella Companies, Cleveland, Ohio. Much attention has been given to preventing falls from greater height, especially in the steel erection industry, which is required to tie off above 15 feet. General construction requirements are for 6 feet and higher. But according to safety experts, many steel erectors, general contractors, and site owners are now employing 100 percent tie off policies, no matter the work height. “The common argument for not tying off below 15 feet is that the worker will hit the Tracy Bennett, Managing Editor of Connector, operates Mighty Mo Media Partners LLC, a public relations and marketing firm for the construction industry. She has more than 20 years of experience as a trade magazine editor. Contact her at editor@

ground. That may be true, but at least the Ironworker will not hit the ground head first,” said Bryan McClure, CPLP, Consultant, MSC Safety Solutions, Westminster, Colo. “The first fatality that I had to complete an accident investigation on was an Ironworker that was working from a ladder at 10 feet and fell head first to the ground below.” Another common excuse for not using fall protection when working at low levels is that it is cumbersome and slows the worker down, says Ed Valencia, Director of Safety & Training, Peterson Beckner Industries, Houston, Texas. “You can overcome this with pre-planning the systems to be used. Pre-planning can start in the pre-construction phase, and sometimes even prior to being awarded projects,” said Valencia, who encourages safety managers, engineers, project managers and superintendents to actively engage in these discussions. Often pre-planning might include the use of other fall MSC Safety Solutions recreated a prevention methods, such as low-level fall for the purposes of an scaffolds, scissor lifts, and ladaccident investigation. ders, which may also increase productivity in a given application. If using personal fall protection Valencia says raised HLL lines with hazard communications. So, maybe Job Safety retractable lanyards or vertical retractables Analysis (JSA) isn’t so commonplace after all,” might be part of the solution. poses Muldoon. Assuming you won’t get hurt “In 2015 the two most commonly cited because you are only working at a height of OSHA violations were 1) fall protection and 2) two or three feet, or that after a fall you’ll be


able to get right up without injury is flawed thinking, says Muldoon. “The problem with this line of thinking is that you are willing to accept that a hazard risk is okay and that if a fall or accident does occur, that everything will be fine. In reality, this couldn’t be further from the truth. If a hazard is not identified, and then controlled or eliminated, then it is still a hazard…period,” he said. Connector asked these safety and fall protection experts to address the hazards and how to overcome objections to employing low-level fall protection on a steel erection job site. Ed Valencia of Peterson Beckner Industries is chairman of SEAA’s Safety Committee. He was an ironworker by trade, but has worked in safety for more than 25 years. Bryan McClure also ED VALENCIA got his start as an ironworker, but has also worked as foreman, superintendent, craft instructor, and training manager. He is a Certified Professional in Learning & Performance and has won several craft instructor and training awards. Some of the infor- BRYAN MCCLURE mation for this article comes from a presentation he made at SEAA’s 2017 Convention in Myrtle Beach, titled “A Fresh Approach to Fall Protection.” Kevin Muldoon spent more than 20 years working in sales and operations for a manufacturer of powered access equipment, helping contractors work safely and productively at elevation. He is now involved in develKEVIN MULDOON opment of lifeline systems, which includes market research, generating product requirements, and determining specifications. How is the provision for low level fall protection different than when working at heights above 15 feet? Valencia: They both have different hazards. Low level has the height issue that an

employee could fall and hit the lower level. Higher levels need to have a rescue plan. Both scenarios need a “Qualified Person” to plan and design the systems to be used for each area. McClure: Low level fall protection differs from fall protection installed on clear spans

How do you calculate fall distance? McClure: First, the length of the lanyard (L) must add in the distance to the person’s feet or the distance to an anchor point above the head. Second, add the height (H) of the worker. Third, consider deceleration (D), which the amount of pull out experienced by shock absorber. Typically this is 42”, 48”, 54”, and 60”. The whole formula is L+H+D=Fall Distance.

“The common argument for not tying off below 15 feet is that the worker will hit the ground. That may be true, but at least the ironworker will not hit the ground head first.”

How do you overcome objections from Ironworkers? Valencia: You have to show them that the system will make it easier for them to get from point A to B. Ironworkers should be part of the process of the selection of your systems. Open discussions and follow up with employees −­Bryan McClure, CPLP, Consultant, MSC Safety Solutions, after you try different equipment. Westminster, Colo. Find out what worked and didn’t; take their ideas seriously as they are the ones that use the equipment all day. Train the employees how to use the sysbecause the pre-planning for the low level fall tems and why the company has the policies protection sometimes has to start very early during the detail process of the building. The in place. When all else fails have a consistent erector may need holes drilled in columns or employee discipline program. the flange of beams to install their systems. McClure: Selecting the right equipment is In addition to project management and safety a big factor in ironworkers tying off all the being involved in the detail process, the esti- time. If it is comfortable to wear and user mator may need to be involved as well, to friendly they will be more apt to use it. Addiestimate the cost of installing the systems. tionally, the culture of the company that the On multi story buildings low level fall pro- Ironworker works at or was “raised” in plays tection planning is a must. The average floor a major factor in the use of fall protection height for multi-story buildings is 12-15 feet. as well. When fall protection is pre-planned and At those heights, the fall protection must be planned and installed in a way that will well thought out it will increase the productivelevate the horizontal life lines for the iron- ity of the Ironworker. Elevated horizontal life worker thus reducing their fall distance. lines give the Ironworker a natural handrail to The majority of steel erectors whom I hold onto as they traverse the beams enabling encounter are focusing on getting their iron- them to move quicker from point A to point workers to tie off 100 percent of the time, but B. Elevated HLL also enable the Ironworker they are missing an important next step— to walk the top flange of very narrow wobbly making sure that their ironworkers do not beams that they would not have attempted contact the next lower level or any object to walk across untied. below them if they fall. You must calculate the theoretical fall dis- How do you demonstrate that the cost of tance and then compare that number to the the 100 percent tie off policies is worth it distance between floors. If your theoretical for employers? fall distance is greater than your distance Valencia: Some employers believe fall between floors then you need to find an alter- protection slows the work down and costs native method of fall arrest or do some drop money. But the reality in the big picture is if testing on your system to get your actual fall you eliminate these falls and injuries, your distances. company will be more profitable from lower


New Data on Fall Height Table 2. Fatal occupational injuries and nonfatal occupational injuries involving falls to a lower level, Beginning in 2011, data collected by the Survey private wage and salary workers, 2013 of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (SOII) and the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) Ratio of days will gather new information on falls, both Injuries away from work Median days Fatal injuries Event requiring days fatal and non-fatal. Falls to a lower level are injuries to away from work away from work subcategorized by where the fall occurred, fatal injuries such as from a collapsing structure or equipFalls to lower level 47,120 21 423 111.4 ment or through a surface or opening and Other falls to lower level(1) 36,130 20 322 112.2 the structure the worker fell from, such as Other falls to lower level less than 6 feet 14,280 17 51 280.0 a ladder. In addition, the fall height is now Other falls to lower level 6 to 10 feet 2,310 60 31 74.5 reported in five-foot increments. A recent article by Sean Smith of the U.S. Other falls to lower level 11 to 15 feet 520 60 59 8.8 Bureau of Labor Statistics, focused on falls to Other falls to lower level 16 to 20 feet 540 180 39 13.8 a lower level, which accounts for 76.7 perOther falls to lower level 21 to 25 feet 130 100 34 3.8 cent of injuries and 78.2 percent of fatalities. Other falls to lower level 26 to 30 feet 60 17 17 3.5 He reports: “In this subset of injuries due to Other falls to lower level more than 30 feet — — 50 — falls, there were 280.0 days-away-from-work Notes: injuries for every fatal injury when the fall was (1) This category includes all falls to a lower level other than falls from a collapsing structure or equipment and falls through a from less than 6 feet. (See table 2.)” surface or existing opening. Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Read the full article, Injuries from falls to Chart appeared in August 2016 Monthly Labor Review article published by BLS and written by Sean M. Smith, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. lower levels, 2013, at It appeared in the August 2016 Monthly Labor Review, found under the Publications tab. Lifeline). If an erector is using these in a Hori- and installing fall protection systems, a qualizontal configuration they must make sure that fied person has the knowledge and expertise it is a leading-edge type retractable. to calculate end loads, fall clearances, and EMR, insurance costs, avoiding project shutdetermine the required quantity and location down. It also saves your reputation, which What about training? of tie off points, etc. This might include Safety makes you more marketable. Muldoon: Fortunately, the compliance in Managers, Engineers, Project Managers and Muldoon: Today, Lifelines Systems are fall protection is increasing and reaching the Superintendents. In some cases, you many engineered rather than “home-made.” These board rooms of many corporate executives— need an additional third party to review and systems are site and job specific and are con- in part, because enforcement of mandatory analyze the system. Good resources include sidered “custom.” Many managers tasked training in fall protection started on May safety consulting companies or vendors that with the purchase of Lifeline Systems think 17, 2017. Therefore, if employers are not supply fall protection systems. When a comthat these custom solutions may seem costly, providing training on fall protection to their pany designates an employee as a Qualified but what they don’t take into consideration employees that are working at height, they Person, that individual must be very knowlis that over time, these systems can be used can be cited for it. edgeable about fall protection design and again and again, job after job. McClure: Employers are responsible for installation, in order to eliminate risk of failure. The true cost of a workplace accident goes each employee being trained by a compewell beyond the costs of a workplace fatality. tent person who is knowledgeable of OSHA Parting thoughts? Workplace falls are estimated to cost $70 BIL- regulations governing personal fall arrest Muldoon: Safety is an investment in keepLION dollars—including everything from lost systems, has the ability to recognize fall haz- ing your people safe. The cost of a custom wages, workers compensation, low employee ards, knows how to inspect the equipment, is fall protection system should not be considmorale, and work force shortages. Employ- knowledgeable in rescue procedures, and is ered an expense, but should be looked at as ers must train workers on all height-related skilled in installation and removal techniques. an investment that, over time, keeps your hazards, the dangers posed by working at employees safe. heights, and how to remain safe on the job. Who is considered a Qualified Person and Remember that safety is your responsiwhat is their role? bility. Keeping yourself informed in safety at What products are appropriate for low level Valencia: OSHA 29 CFR 1926.32(m) defines heights is really part of your job. fall protection? a qualified person as an individual “who, by McClure: The foundation of a good fall proMuldoon: Many products on the market possession of a recognized degree, certificate tection program is to 1) plan, 2) provide the today allow for a greater range of motion so or professional standing, or who by extensive equipment, and 3) training your workers. You the employee does not feel restricted while knowledge, training and experience, has suc- wouldn’t send your crews to erect a building performing his or her job. cessfully demonstrated his ability to solve or without drawings, so why would you entrust McClure: The best product to use for low resolve problems relating to the subject mat- your crew to “design” a fall protection system level fall protection is an SRL (Self Retracting ter, the work, or the project.” When designing without a plan?


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CHOKE POINTS and IKEA, Burbank, Calif. Class III ($1 million to $2.5 million) Erector: S.L. Shaw Company Structural Engineer: KJWW Fabricator: Sun Steel Detailer: Ben Finnoe Design GC: VCC USA Architect: Greenberg-Farrow Contract Value: $2.4 million Tons of Steel Erected: 3,300

LIMITED LAYDOWN Big Box Retail and High Rise Office Share Common Challenges

609 Main 'Crown,' Houston, Texas Class II ($500,000 to $1 million) Erector: Peterson Beckner Industries Structural Engineer: Cardno Haynes Whaley Fabricator: United Structures of America Detailer: G.W. Slade Consultants Inc. GC: D.E. Harvey Builders Architect: Picard Chilton Contract Value: $663,000 Tons of Steel Erected: 410

Kubota HQ, Grapevine, Texas Class II (Honorable Mention) Erector: Mid Cities Erectors Structural Engineer: AG&E Associates, PLLC Fabricator: MMW Fabrication Ltd. Detailer: Poerr & Associates GC: Hill & Wilkinson General Contractors Architect: Corgan Contract Value: $719,000 Tons of Steel Erected: 890

To make up for time lost to exceptionally wet weather, S.L. Shaw pre-assembled all the joists.


wo very different steel erection projects, one a low-rise big box retail space, the other a skyscraper, shared common challenges. Overcoming tight access to the site and limited laydown areas required highly coordinated logistics on both projects. At the 2017 SEAA National Convention, S.L. Shaw Company was awarded Class III Project of the Year for its work on the IKEA store in Burbank, Calif., while the Class II Project of the Year went to Peterson Beckner Industries for its contribution to one of Houston’s newest, most ambitious skyscrapers.

■■IKEA construction by S. L. Shaw Company almost as difficult as assembly of one of the retailer’s bookshelves Swedish furniture and housewares giant IKEA expanded into North America in 1985 and opened its first California store in Burbank in 1990. After outgrowing that space, the company recently unveiled a record-setting Tina Cauller is a graphic designer and freelance writer with 30 years of experience reporting for trade and technical publications in building construction and real estate markets. She can be reached at


replacement – a new facility nearly twice the size of the original store and the largest IKEA store in the Americas. The massive threelevel structure occupies 22 acres and houses 483,900 square feet of retail space with parking for 1,700 vehicles. The multi-level store includes a spacious showroom with 50 room settings and 600-seat restaurant, a self-serve warehouse, and convenient loading areas. S.L. Shaw Company, Bakersfield, Calif., garnered SEAA’s Class III Project of the Year

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A single entrance and egress forced all traffic from all trades to channel through a chokepoint and to navigate an obstacle course of bolts, trenches, and injection wells. Multiple cranes, long picks, and a tricky jobsite layout all contributed to the project’s significant challenges. S.L. Shaw employed 3D Lift Plan to pre-plan many of the crane lifts. During Sequence B, the steel erector started infilling material for the roof of the warehouse, which was as tall as the two stories of the retail space, below.

Award for its outstanding performance in construction of the new IKEA facility under challenging conditions. The Class III category is for erection contracts valued from $1 million to $2.5 million. Planning was crucial on this large-scale project to meet the demanding target date for completion. The site had a single entrance and egress, which forced all traffic into and out of the work area to be channeled through a chokepoint barely wide enough to accommodate the 300-, 100-, and 35-ton cranes S.L. Shaw deployed. Workers bringing in the steel had to squeeze through while navigating an obstacle course of bolts and trenches, as well as numerous injection wells being used to remediate toxic industrial waste. An old welding facility had polluted the northwest quadrant of the site with hexavalent chromium back in the 1940s, so workers were required to keep all exposed skin covered while working to protect them from potential exposure to toxins. And, since the team shared the cramped workspace with other trades, shakeout and laydown space was at a premium. Project supervisor Jose Ramirez recalls, “This was the most challenging job of my life. Thirty trucks a day were coming in with concrete. It was a challenge to coordinate the work and logistics to fit so much traffic, move the cranes into position, and avoid the wells. I’d go home at night and couldn’t stop thinking about the next day.” He joked, “I’m really 18, but now I look like I’m 40.” Some of the most labor intensive work involved placing and welding stairways. Ironworkers celebrate safe project completion: 36,000 man hours in 8 months and just one cut finger to bandage.

Connector | SUMMER EDITION August 2017 | 35

The design of the massive building, supported by 3,300 tons of steel and joists, posed another challenge. The steel structure was erected on a large podium atop the parking garage and loading area made of precast double Ts which, before the concrete pour, would not support conventional booms and lifts. In addition, the concrete remained as the finished floor for the store, so great care had to be taken not to damage the polished surface. According to Ramirez, “When possible, we used spider-lifts, the only lift light enough for the pre-cast. We had to position the cranes for any conventional lifts outside the building’s huge footprint. This made for some long-distance picks, which we planned using 3D Lift Plan software.” Steel erection commenced in December, and Mother Nature raised the level of difficulty by delivering the wettest winter in 100 years of Los Angeles’ recorded history. To make up for lost time, S.L. Shaw pre-assembled all the joists as complete bays and connected them at height. S.L. Shaw pre-assembled all the joists and flew them in complete bays rather than flying them in singles and assembling them at height. “This innovation saved a lot of time,” noted Ramirez. “We also saved time by installing safety cable before flying beams.” The length of the picks made placing air conditioning units by crane impossible, so they were lifted by helicopter instead. Ramirez noted, “The trickiest crane pick was placing the frame for the store’s 50,000-lb. sign situated near the highway on a windy day. We used 3D Lift Plan to plan the lift and it worked like a charm.” The S.L. Shaw team faced another challenge−anchor bolts typically put down by the concrete trades were absent. More than 95% of the anchor bolts had to be surveyed prior to placement and field-welded into place by the erectors. Over the course of the project, welders laid down approximately 5,200 linear feet of quality welds. Some of the most labor-intensive steel work was done on the stairways, with workers fighting against flooding rains that submerged lower stairways.

The project’s successful completion required intensive planning, coordination and strict attention to safety. Safety Coordinator Kurt Hettinger is rightfully proud of their record. “We worked safely for more than eight months, a total of 36,000 man hours, with just one cut finger to bandage.” After eight months of construction from start to finish, S.L. Shaw topped out on June 23, 2016. Finish work completed without a hitch, and the largest IKEA in the USA opened in February 2017.

The steel crown of 609 Main at Texas involved a steep sloping roof line, skewed leaning columns, and geometrically complex HSS framing, making steel erection especially challenging.

■■Peterson Beckner Industries crowns new jewel in Houston’s skyline There is a new star bejeweling Houston’s downtown−a 48-story, 1,050,000-squarefoot office tower at 609 Main Street, at the corner of Main and Texas Streets. At the top of the concrete structure is a crown made of steel, for which Peterson Beckner Industries, Houston, Texas, was recognized with the SEAA Class II Project of the Year Award for erection contracts valued between $500,000 and $1 million. The next-generation skyscraper features north and south façades that extend skyward to create a 60’ cantilevered crown, creating a dramatic signature for what is currently the 10th tallest building in Texas. The east and west façades are both slightly recessed and accented by computer-controlled LED illumination that gives the tower an unmistakable presence in the city’s nighttime skyline.


As one of the judges explained, "This project was unique in that the base level for the steel was 50 stories in the air. The complex geometry of the crown, together with the building footprint taking up the entire city block, eliminating any material laydown area at the ground, made this an especially challenging project.” According to Bob Beckner, President of Peterson Beckner Industries (PBI), “This was an extremely challenging project and a thorough site-specific erection plan played a big part in its success.” In the absence of a laydown area, a designated steel unloading area allowed for a single truck to be parked and unloaded adjacent to an active roadway and metro rail. Structure sequencing and steel deliveries were subject to detailed planning to avoiddelivery

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of pieces that were not immediately needed. Concrete and mechanical work was performed concurrently with steel erection at the roof level, and space for both material and equipment was very limited. Consequently, columns, heavy girders, and assemblies were hoisted and erected directly from the truck. It took three months for PBI to complete the erection of the crown, in part because of the large size of the pieces and difficult logistics required to maneuver them through the downtown area with just a single lane available for closure. The structure was designed with a steep sloping roof line, skewed leaning columns, and geometrically complex HSS framing. The building’s glass envelope extended to the top of the crown, The crown’s wide-flange bracing and heavy columns PBI’s extensive experience, solid pre-planning, and uncompromising safety and girders required carefully planned critical lifts by culture were all essential to the success of this project, which began 650 thus the plumbing and alignment two tower cranes working at near-maximum capacity. feet in the air. of the steel structure was critical. Beckner pointed out, “We tried to break the erection into 100-ton 650 feet in the air and extended another zero injuries. It was difficult work and they sequences, since there was not much space 100 feet up,” Beckner noted. “That created made it look easy.” for work to be done. In addition, Houston is a highly challenging work environment Ed Valencia, PBI Director of Safety & Trainin a hurricane zone, which added to the com- because starting at that level doesn’t allow ing stated, “The Houston heat and lightning plexity of the connections.” With a focused workers any time to acclimate to collaborative effort, PBI and the fabricator the extreme height as construction developed connections and pre-assemblies progresses. It is a testament to our that fostered safe and timely erection of the team’s many years of experience, steel. solid pre-planning on the front end, “It’s important to understand that our work and uncompromising safety culture began at the top of the concrete structure that the project was completed with

■■Class II Honorable Mention Mid Cities recognized for Kubota North American HQ In the Class II Project of the Year Award category, Mid Cities Erectors, Fort Worth, Texas received Honorable Mention for their role in constructing Kubota Tractor Corporation’s new North American headquarters. The campus is located in Grapevine, Texas. "The erection of extremely tall tilt-up panels, the complex sequencing of the tilt-up and steel erection, and a remarkably tight site made this project difficult,” said a judge. The $50 million headquarters facility comprises a three-level, 135,000-square-foot tilt wall office building that houses 550 employees, a 68,000-square-foot research and development facility, and Kubota Tractor's new headquarters facility is one of the tallest tilt-wall construction projects in the United States. a three-level, 102,669-square-foot parking garage that accommodates 312 cars. The wooded site, chosen for its natural beauty, offered meager room for construction activities. According to Senior Estimator James Whitley, “The multi-level office building’s unique angular design included a triangular staircase that bisected the structure and a wing-shaped roof with vertical windows between the two sides. The project was unusual in that it involved 86 tilt wall panels, which were exceptionally tall and heavy. The tallest panel was nearly 83 feet tall and the heaviest weighed 160,000 lbs. We worked in close cooperation with engineers to create a plan for bracing and erection of the panels, which were too tall for regular pipe bracing. We put up the lower level and then braced between the upper and lower panels, which were stacked horizontally. We don’t normally see panels this large stacked on top of one another, but thanks to thorough planning and cooperation between all members of a great team, erection went off without a hitch.” 38 | THE STEEL ERECTORS ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA

Because of the extreme heights involved, PBI Steel created a detailed fall protection and rescue plan to assure safety throughout the project.

were also serious hazards to be considered, and were a part of the daily discussions and planning.” The structure’s braced wall consisted of wide-flange bracing and uncommonly heavy columns and girders that required carefully measured and planned critical lifts weighing 25 kips at 110’ radius. The critical lifts were hoisted over the roadway to an elevation of 750’. There was no room to land anything other than on the top floor, a limited space which was shrunk even further by the offloading of other materials in use by the general contractor. While space was more of a problem than weight, the two tower cranes worked at near-maximum capacity, causing some functional challenges. To prevent overheating under the heavy loads, the tower cranes were paused multiple times in mid-lift to allow drum motors to cool to within operating limits. This demanding project required PBI to deliver a flawless performance at every stage of construction from planning to completion. Work on 609 Main began in 2014, and the building officially opened in May 2017. Recognized as one of the city’s most ambitious skyscrapers in recent history, it now stands as a stunning modern addition to the Houston skyline, one in which the city’s residents and the PBI team take rightful pride.

Connector | SUMMER EDITION August 2017 | 39


Highlights from 45th Convention in Myrtle Beach, S.C. Practical Examiners from Schulz Ironworks, Safe Day Inc., and Educational Services Unlmited conducted assessments for the SEAA/ NCCER crane operator, rigger, and signalperson certifications. Thanks to Altec Cranes and Magni Telehandlers for supplying equipment.

Past SEAA Presidents are recognized.

Boom Lift Ball Drop raises money for the Education Committee.


More than 50 exhibitors, including 9 new ones, displayed products and services integral to steel erection businesses.

See more photos of the convention: nc/albums/

Award winners were recognized during Gala.

Education sessions included presentations on fall protection, craft labor shortages, and Projects of the Year.

Fishing and golf excursions offer time for networking.

Connector | SUMMER EDITION August 2017 | 41

SPECIAL FOCUS: Convention Great food, music, and dancing takes center stage at annual Gala.

About 300 industry professionals from more than 30 states attended 2017 meeting.



5 Reasons Why Millennials are Great for the Construction Industry


uch has been written about millennials and how they differ from previous generations in their approach to work – and careers in general. Indeed, we see millennials often unfairly saddled with the dubious reputation for being entitled, disloyal, self-centered or optimistic go-getters, but it turns out that they are actually not that different from their older work colleagues. In fact, in our recent study “Millennials in Construction: Learning to Engage a New Workforce,” we found that millennials are indeed very dedicated and loyal to their companies and want to do more than just punch a clock and take home a paycheck. They are looking to add value, make an impact and find meaning in what they are doing. Company leaders can leverage these realities by ensuring that their young talent has a clear sense of purpose and an understanding of their roles within the larger plan. According to our findings, when the company’s vision is inspiring and clearly communicated, millennials are 25% more likely to stay longer with the company compared to those who don’t understand the company’s vision and direction. Not unlike other generations that enter the workplace, millennials have new perspectives to share, new ideas about getting things done, and new ways of tackling problems. The following five areas highlight why this new generation is like a breath of fresh air for the construction industry: Loyalty and dedication. The majority of our survey participants want to stay more than five years with their This article is reprinted from FMI Corporation, The blog originally appeared in March 2017. FMI is a management consulting and investment banking firm dedicated exclusively to engineering and construction, infrastructure, and the built environment. FMI serves all sectors of the engineering and construction, infrastructure and built environment industries. 44 | THE STEEL ERECTORS ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA

company, as opposed to jumping ship in the near term. Given good opportunities for career advancement, support for education, a collaborative culture, and competitive pay and benefits, this group of workers will go above and beyond to drive organizational success. Innovative thinking. In an industry that is changing dramatically through emerging technologies and new delivery systems, millennials welcome the opportunity to provide input and new ideas that promote corporate innovation. As one survey participant stated, “I’m free to be creative and try new things.” Progressive companies like DPR Construction, for example, encourage employees to use a special website to submit ideas for improvements, which can be related to software, tools or company protocols among other things. Tech-savviness with a personal touch. It is true that many millennials adopt new technologies and gravitate toward digital media more easily compared to their older colleagues. However, when it comes to learning new skills at work, our research showed that 86% of respondents favored face-to-face feedback rather than a digital setting. This mix of tech-savviness, combined with a need for personal interaction, can help companies drive change across multiple generations while infusing the industry with a fresh new perspective. Balance. Millennials are looking for a healthy worklife “integration.” This can be difficult to attain in the construction industry, which often requires long hours, remote work or challenging work conditions. However, if employers want to recruit and retain star talent they will need to reconsider some of their traditional corporate policies and practices and find new ways to create a healthy work-life blend for their young employees. Collaboration and communication. Many millennials grew up with parents, teachers and counselors who were their best friends and role models. As such, they are excellent team players and care about the company’s success – not just their own jobs. The timing for this kind of mindset is perfect: new virtual design and construction tools and integrated project delivery methods will all require higher levels of collaboration within and among project teams. Having these young people focused on a common purpose, effective processes, excellent communication, and solid relationships will help transform the industry over time.

Connector | SUMMER EDITION August 2017 | 45


Survey Says

The Steel Alliance against Counterfeiting (SAAC), which was formed in 2015 and is made up of the world's 18 leading suppliers of steel products, is working to drive awareness and identify solutions to the growing problem of counterfeit steel. In May, the Steel Erectors Association of America asked members for feedback on this topic. Of those that responded, 45.2% represented Fabricators, 41.9% represented erectors, and 12.9% represented general contractors.


Has your company experienced an incident of counterfeit steel products in fabrication and/or construction?




Should stricter controls be put in place to limit the import of steel products from world regions known to produce counterfeit steel products?



Meet New Members B&B Crane Service LLC is a full service crane and rigging company serving the southeastern United States. Its crane fleet includes carry decks, boom trucks, RT cranes, truck cranes, AT cranes, and lattice boom crawlers. Building Envelope Systems, Plainville, Mass., provides metal panel, metal stairs and rails, and structural steel design/build services. City Steel Deck Inc., Waterford, Mich., provides steel decking and stud installation. The company works directly with erectors, general contractors, and subcontractors to deliver roof and floor decks, and studs. Fresno Fab Tech Inc. as been providing Central California structural steel fabrication services since 1988. Industries include industrial, commercial, education, and healthcare. Lewis Truck Lines is a family owned trucking company that has been in business since 1935. With 48 state authority, the company specializes in 48’ and 53’ flatbeds, single drop decks, double drop decks, intermodal transportation, and 53’ dry van trailers.

Pendergraft Erection Services LLC, Leavenworth, Kan., is AISC-certified, and works alongside some of the largest general contractors in the Midwest. Since opening in 2001, PES has continued to grow each year; expanding in employee size, revenue size, and region. Pinnacle Precast & Steel Erectors Inc., Manchester, N.H., provides hollow core, architectural and structural precast services, as well as steel erection of commercial buildings, parking garages, arenas, hospitals, and more. Tway Lifting Products is a full service rigging manufacturer and distributor of lifting and handling equipment based in Indianapolis, Ind. The company serves construction, mining, automotive, utility infrastructure and steel production industries.

Miller Electric Manufacturing Co., based in Appleton, Wis., builds advanced, solution-focused welding products for manufacturing, fabrication, construction, and other industries. Its products include welders, safety gear, welding accessories, and consumable welding supplies. We asked Joe Ryan, Marketing Segment Manager, about his work habits and a little bit about the company culture. Q: Who do you root for? A: Being located in Appleton, Wis., most of us are Green Bay Packer Fans.

Steel Stats

14.2 Billion

According to a report published in June 2017, IBISWorld expects steel framing industry revenue to jump 6.0% in 2017 to $14.2 billion. Accordingly, sustained growth in downstream markets and continued investment in infrastructure will boost industry revenue, and stable macroeconomic conditions will result in less reactionary growth. Source:




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