By: Tim Heston
Cohen Seglias Partner Jason Copley is quoted in the Fabricator article, “Fabricators Tap into the Potential of Steel Construction” highlighting the American Institute of Steel Construction’s 2019 Steel Convention. Jason gave insight to the potential growth and strong practices of steel construction in Pennsylvania.
By: Tim Heston, Senior Editor
Thousands in the steel construction industry, including a healthy dose of structural steel fabricators, arrived in St. Louis, Mo., April 3-5 to attend NASCC: The Steel Conference (once known as the North American Steel Construction Conference), organized by the American Institute of Steel Construction.
It’s a unique sector for fabricator, one full of potentially transformative technology like building information modeling (BIM) and augmented and mixed-reality communication. But it’s also a sector full of scheduling and complicated communication hurdles between fabricators, detailers, erectors, and engineer of record.
Despite the challenges, structural fabricators at the conference reported positive business conditions. According to AISC’s latest “Business Barometer” survey, fabricators reported that, despite material pricing challenges from tariffs, 2018 was fairly robust year and the first half of 2019 is looking healthy, though some predict challenges during the last half of the year. As Tabitha Stine, Vice President of Market Development at AISC, wrote in her conference preview, “While the next few months are expected to be good, in the second half of 2019 is not.”
It’s common for detailers, erectors, and fabricators to hold project kickoff meetings to discuss the drawings and prevent issues in the shop and on-site — but, of course, communication mishaps still occur.
That said, NASCC attendee Jason Copley, a Philadelphia-based partner at the law firm Cohen Seglias Pallas Greenhall & Furman PC, described one project near his office that could be a model for good communication in the construction business.
“Pennsylvania Hospital is in the middle of a $3 billion project that uses a unique system. They started by getting a team of contractors involved in the design stage. Those contractors were awarded the projects and were promised a certain percentage of the profit, provided they complete the project under budget. So there was no conventional bidding process. And as they’re building the project, all the contractors work together as a team, because the profit that’s left will depend on the success of the whole project. Everyone has the same goal, which is to maintain the project’s profitability. It’s taking away the adversarial nature of a typical construction project and turning it into a collaborative process.”
This approach isn’t a technological marvel in software or machinery, but its potential for cost and time savings could be just as great.