Who Benefits From the Design-Detailing Process?

The design-detailing process developed here at Anatomic Iron Steel Detailing has a number of benefits for several people involved in the project. We developed this method as a way of reducing the project construction time and cost while enhancing the overall quality and service we provided. After years of using this process, we’ve determined how it provides benefits to the project owner, engineer, general contractor, and fabricator. Here are the different ways the design-detailing benefits each of these four.

The Project Owner

Our process benefits the project owner by reducing the amount of time it takes to complete the project. Traditionally, the detailing process would not begin until after the fabricator has been awarded the contract. This meant the process of digging through the design drawings and creating all the required RFIs to complete the detailing would start at this point, with the inherent subsequent delays in then getting them answered. In the design-detailing process, detailing begins when the design is at 40%. It’s finished by the time the fabricator receives the contract, eliminating this time consuming RFI process and subsequently cutting a significant amount of time off the project. The building is completed and occupied sooner, allowing the owner to begin generating revenue from the building. There are less delays, less problems, and less extra costs from design revisions after the steel has been awarded.

The Engineer

In the design-detailing process, the engineer holds both the steel design  and the steel detailing contracts. This allows them to more efficiently communicate with the detailer since there are no middle men for RFIs and other questions to go through. Most issues can be resolved during the design stage, as the detailer is able to model the steel and find conflicts and any constructability issues, and work directly with the engineer to resolve these issues before fabrication starts. The result is when the IFC drawings are released and steel construction begins, there are very few questions or steel design issues to work out, the project is much cleaner, and the GC, fabricator and engineer do not get tied up in a time consuming RFI process. Lastly, the engineer generates a margin on the detailing thus increasing their revenue and profit on the project. 

The General Contractor 

For the general contractor, RFIs can be a nightmare. They can take days or even weeks to be resolved and often lead to more costs. The design-detailing process removes much of this stress since the majority of steel RFIs will be dealt with before the GC even starts on the project. This eliminates overhead costs and shortens the construction time, lowering their operating costs as well. The GC will also receive more accurate steel quotes with lower risk premiums since the fabricators can be provided with a bill of materials and the steel model and will know exactly what materials are needed.

The Fabricator

In the traditional detailing process, the fabricator was often in the middle of the communication chain, relaying information back and forth from the detailer to the engineer through the general contractor. In our design-detailing process, this chain of communication doesn’t exist. The detailer and engineer communicate directly, so the fabricator doesn’t have to handle any of the RFIs or the associated problems. Since the detailing is already done at the time of award of the steel fabricator, they can start fabrication within about a week of receiving the contract instead of starting the detailing themselves and waiting five weeks or more for the first approval package of drawings. This shorter time frame means the fabricator focuses on doing what they make money at, which is fabricating steel thus increasing their profitability and reducing delays that come up due to RFIs. 

The fabricator also benefits at bid time because the GC can supply them with a completed steel model and bill of materials for the project. The fabricator can make more precise bids with exact material requirements, and also study the project in 3d to plan erection sequencing and project schedules. This will reduce risk premiums on the project and allow fabricators to be more competitive.


Overall, the design-detailing process is the most profitable and effective method to complete steel construction projects. Since developing the process in 2010, we’ve completed over 40 projects using this method and have witnessed first hand the benefits to everyone involved. For your next project, consider partnering with Anatomic Iron Steel Detailing and take advantage of these benefits yourself.