JHDS LLC - Structural Steel Fabricators Passes QMC Initial Audit   9/16

Our client JHDS had their very first QMC audit for the AISC Building Certification Program. We are pleased to announce they passed their audit with no Corrective Action Requests.

For almost 10 years, JHDS has been quickly growing its reputation as the go-to structural steel fabricator in the tri-state area. JHDS currently serves New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania, but can perform work outside these areas upon request. 

“We never fail to meet or exceed our clients’ expectations for quality, price, and punctuality. We complete all jobs in accordance with your specifications and all required codes. We have consistently surpassed our clients’ expectations for price, quality, and delivery.” (www.jhdsllc.com)

Jorge Jr. at JHDS says, "Wanted to take the time to thank all of you at Atema for being so prompt and for all your help. From the looks of things, we have received 0 CARS during the audit!”

by Dan Hoffman

How to choose a Consultant (Or the case for deep consultants)   8/30

If you are thinking of hiring a consultant, here are some things to consider.

First, consider whether you need a consultant at all. It is entirely possible that you do not need a consultant. Consider all of your resources and whether the manpower and time needed to achieve your goals are within your means.

If you do decide you need a consultant, research a few of them, and start at their websites. Does the consultant have a website that has more than just a phone number? Some companies have a website with phone and email, but no physical address. This isn't definitively a bad thing, but it also does nothing to show the depth that an office location and staff roster can. 

"One-man-bands" have flooded the consultant industry in recent years. There is nothing inherently wrong with an expert in a particular field putting his knowledge to work, mind you. Working out of one's home office can keep costs low and pricing more agreeable to fabricators.  However, when considering the metal fabrication industry, there is demand for expertise that a larger staff is better equipped to accommodate. 

Larger companies in particular might need CWIs who know how to create and review WPSs and determine if they are applicable to AWS welding codes like D1.1 or D1.5. Or they might need engineers who know how to establish a fracture critical program and answer questions on how their company might do bridgework. The demand for the creation of a quality system and that system's subsequent consultation audit may pose a problem. How can a "One-man-band" write a manual and then perform an internal audit on the manual's implementation? There are no checks and balances! A deeper company can offer someone to write a manual and implement the system, and then can offer a different person (a new set of eyes) to audit. The auditor might see things the author did not.

A consulting company in structural steel with depth would have the staff and resources to accommodate these needs.

Lastly, you should consider what "stripes" the consultant boasts. Does the consultant have a degree from a mining a school? Or do they have accolades of the industry? Does the consultant have only a 10-20 year-old graduate degree? Or do they have industry certifications with professional development, continuing education, and recertification requirements? For steel fabrication consulting, Certified Weld Inspectors, Certified Weld Engineers, and Certified Manufacturing Engineers (to name a few) all require the regeneration of knowledge in the industry to get recertified. Depth in consulting should include stripes like this, and should be more than one person.

So when choosing a consultant, it's less about how deep you want to go, but more about how deep want the consultant to go.

by Terry Logan

McGregor Industries Passes QMC Annual Audit   8/26

Our client McGregor Industries had their QMC annual audit for the AISC Erector Certification Program. We are pleased to announce they passed their audit with no Corrective Action Requests.

McGregor Industries "fabricates and installs the miscellaneous metal components for buildings, artistic projects, and anything requiring the cutting, bending, welding, and finishing of metal. Miscellaneous metal work generally includes stairways, railings, and other miscellaneous metal work not associated to the structural steel component of a building. McGregor’s ability to fabricate and install miscellaneous metal to tight tolerances sets it apart from our competition.

Most recently, McGregor has begun to set itself apart in the fabrication and installation of." (www.mcgregorindustries.com)

Grace at McGregor writes, "Thank you so much for all of your help, Anna!" Way to go, Anna! AndCongratulations to McGregor Industries.

by Paul Proczko

RCC Fabricators Inc. Achieves AISC Certification Bridge Conversion   8/08

RCC Fabricators Inc. is one of the first companies Atema has assisted for AISC Certification Conversion for Bridge Fabricators. Mike Mauris, Atema Quality Systems Specialist, worked closely with RCC Fabricators Project Manager Jeff Smilek to update their currently certified system to comply with the AISC Certification Program for Steel Bridge Fabricators. Atema also conducted AASHTO/AWS D1.5 Bridge Welding Code training for the RCC Fabricator staff specific to Fracture Critical Welds.

AISC granted RCC Fabricators an upgrade from Simple Bridge to Intermediate Bridge Certification with Fracture Critical Endorsement.

Congratulations to RCC Fabricators!

From http://www.rccfabricators.com:

"RCC Fabricators, Inc. is a large scale structural steel fabricator and erector and the designer/manufacturer of custom rail equipment. Our steel is used in buildings, railings, stairs, walkways and sign structures for both public agencies and private institutions. We maintain a diverse client list and take pride in providing customer satisfaction through quality workmanship and service...

...Located on 16 acres in Southampton, NJ, our 53,000 SF facility contains seven overhead cranes with a lifting capacity of 80 tons in each of two large bays. Our welders are qualified to AWS D1.5, with certifications including FCAW, SAW, MIG and TIG processes. We possess a variety of welding and fabrication equipment including MIG and TIG welders, sub-arc units, pipe benders, a 300 ton press brake and both large and small iron workers. We also have an array of cutting capabilities, from oxy-fuel and plasma cutting to plate shearing. Our experience in a wide variety of fabrication work, a highly trained workforce and a fully equipped, modern facility enables us to maintain the highest level of workmanship toward achieving the desired outcome tailored to each client’s specific needs."

Dynamic Structures Inc. Achieves New AISC Certification Conversion   8/01

by Pavi Proczko

Dynamic Structures Inc. is one of the first companies Atema has assisted for AISC Certification Conversion for Bridge Fabricators. Mike Mauris, Atema Quality Systems Specialist, worked closely with Dynamic's Vice President of Quality Assurance and Systems Ursula Rajtar to update their currently certified system to comply with the AISC Certification Program for Steel Bridge Fabricators.

AISC granted Dynamic Structures Simple Bridge Certification, Paint Endorsement, and Fracture Critical Endorsement.

Dynamic Structures Inc. is location in Port Coquitlam, British Columbia. Their history in structural steel fabrication dates back to 1926. They specialize in fabricating steel for amusement park rides, telescope observatory enclosures, and other complex bridge and building structures. (Wikipedia)

"Dynamic Structures is the premier provider of dynamic, complex structures utilized for industry, government, academia and entertainment. Based on our years of unique experience, we assist our clients to find safe, creative and cost effective solutions for the most challenging demands. Dynamic has earned a reputation for pushing the envelope of practical creativity." (Dynamic Structures webpage)

Congratulations Ursula and everyone at Dynamic Structures, Inc!

Mike Mauris gave special thanks for this project.

"Thanks as always to our entire team, but I want to thank [Pavi Proczko, Corporate Services Manager of Atema] especially for working the final hour and cementing the final documents for presentation to our client for documentation turnaround!!!!!! You went the extra mile bro!"

My pleasure Mike!

New AISC Program Requirements to be Released   7/11

UPDATE 12 August 2014

"Previous program requirements including Certified Structural Steel Erector and Advanced Certified Steel Erector Checklists will not be used to evaluate participant. Furthermore, the previous categories of Certified Steel Erector and Advanced Certified Steel Erector are no longer valid for participants applying after October 1, 2014 and for continuing participants for certificates expiring in November 2015 or later."  

- PROPOSED AISC Certification Program Requirements for Structural Steel Erection

According a Modern Steel Construction web article posted on July 1, 2014, AISC is preparing to release new program requirements for the Certification Program for Structural Steel Fabricators and the Certification Program for Structural Steel Erectors on August 1, 2014. New applicant companies and currently certified companies will be affected.


New program requirements for Building Fabricator Certification will still reference the AISC Standard for Steel Building Structures – 2006. As of September 1, 2014, all new applicants to the Building Fabricator Certification Program must meet the new program requirements. Currently certified companies must meet the new requirements by August 1, 2015.


New program requirements for Erector Certification will reference the new AISC Standard for Structural Steel Erectors – 2013. The requirements for the Erector certification program are moving away from the Certified Erector and Advanced Certified Erector Checklist format. New applicants to the Erector Certification Program must meet the new program requirements starting September 1, 2014. 

Current participants of the Erector program will receive a gap analysis during their next annual QMC audit starting August 1, 2014, to ease the transition. The conversion process to the new Erector Program requirements and the new Standard for Structural Steel Erectors – 2013 is mandatory and will begin August 1, 2015. Conversion will be completed by August 1, 2016.

Many current participants of the Erector program that achieved certification with Atema’s assistance already have many elements of the new standard in place in their erector programs. Many of the new requirements will look familiar.

The table below shows the timeline for compliance to the new program requirements.

For more information check the Modern Steel Construction website.

Contact Atema and check our AISC Certification page to see how we can assist your certification efforts.

Jon Edwards, PE and the Young Engineers   6/13

by Pavi Proczko

Atema Inc. Technical Director Jon Edwards worked with local Springfield, IL 5th graders in a youth engineering competition.

The task was to build a Rube Goldberg Machine that draws a 3" line, using 10 or more steps. According to Wikipedia, "A Rube Goldberg machine...is a deliberately over-engineered or overdone machine that performs a very simple task in a very complicated fashion, usually including a chain reaction. The expression is named after American cartoonist and inventor Rube Goldberg."

In addition to building this "Rube Goldberg" contraption, the each student in class had to keep a journal of professional engineers' presentations on energy, work, machines, etc. Finally they had to write a paper on the Panama Canal.

In February 2014, Jon's group of kids from Dubois Elementary in Springfield placed 2nd out of 14 in their area. With such a high ranking, they were invited to the Central Illinois finals in Champaign, IL, during the Engineering Open House.

The event took place in March. Contestants included fifth grades from Springfield, Champaign-Urbana, Decatur and Peoria. You can see a series of pictures below of the contraption Jon's young engineers created for the competition.

The students are from a school known to have many problems - lots of kids bussed in from poor neighborhoods, according to Edwards, who also judged the Central, IL finals. He beamed with pride, writing "We came in second...Dubois Elementary in Springfield has primarily low income families, so it was great to see these kids excited about something educational."

Shear Connectors and Headed Anchors   6/03

By Jim Callahan

Imagine the architect and subcontractor on a project are in disagreement about the required stud size for the project (who'd've thought...). If their disagreement is regarding Shear Connectors vs. Headed Anchors they may be having a more basic communication problem: it's possible haven't defined exactly what they mean by shear connectors and headed anchors. 

To facilitate composite action between the concrete and attached structural steel (beams and columns), the type of stud used is generally called a shear connector. Shear connectors are typically only available in 3/4“ or 7/8” diameters. Headed anchors, available up to 5/8” diameter, are generally used to connect concrete to all other steel surfaces such as embedded plates, frames, and curbing. 

The stud sizes available for this naming convention are common among popular stud manufacturers like Nelson Stud Welding, Fastenal, and Stud Welding Associates (another one here). Owners and their design representatives commonly use the term “shear studs” to mean EITHER shear connectors or headed anchors as defined above. Knowledge of which studs are specified for which situations is essential. 

An example of this nomenclature problem is illustrated in the joist world by this Table, which names all studs of various diameters sheer studs. This clearly goes against Manufacturer naming conventions. Table 103.5-1 from the Standard Specifications for Composite Steel Joists is reproduced for your convenience here.

Owners are generally more concerned with shear connectors, but use of the term shear stud can create confusion. When in doubt, RFI - be certain of the requirement before ordering or evaluating subcontracting proposals.

Wrapping It Up   12/20

The cards have been sent, the gifts have been purchased and we’re counting down the days to 2014. This is a natural time of year for reflection and as 2013 comes to a close, we’d like to offer you Talk Quality’s year-end wrap up.

In August, we posted a great blog about Bolt Handling and Storage. If you've been wondering about how to ensure your suppliers are top notch, then this is the blog for you.

As the year comes to a close, you may be thinking about cleaning out your files. We definitely are! Make sure to check out our blog on Record Retention pitfalls for some tips that will keep you from non-conformances at your next audit.

If training is your goal for the New Year but you’re not quite ready to bite the bullet, our blog on Periodic Training might help you decide.

Finally, we gave some helpful tip on the new Mock Girder Requirements and posted three handy steps on putting together your application for AISC certification.

These are all pointers for you coming directly from the field. Real life experiences from our project managers, staff, colleagues and clients. In the season of giving our goal is to give as much information from the steel construction industry as we can! 

Before we wish you a happy holiday, we want to offer just one more tip. If you are thinking about getting AISC Certified for the new year, start now! There is currently a 120-150 day lead time for certification after you apply. Getting together your documentation will always take longer than you think; a PQR for bridge certification can sometimes take up to a month to complete. Start planning, asking questions and don’t forget you can call on us if you need assistance!

We want to hear your quality successes from 2013! Share with us on Facebook or Twitter; tell us your stories, your tips and leave us suggestions for more Talk Quality topics in 2014.

From all of us at Atema, I want to wish you a Happy Holiday season and, no matter how you define success, a successful 2014! 

Dan Hoffman
Director of Operations
Atema Inc. 

Survival Guide - Tradeshows   10/03

Going to a tradeshow is not unlike going to your first day of high school. Lots of people (kids) from different companies (schools) coming together in one gigantic new space, all trying to network (make friends) and get to know each other.

If you are a naturally outgoing and extroverted person, this might be a piece of cake for you. If you aren't, this might be your worst nightmare. Either way, we present you with some survival tips for getting through a tradeshow. With FabTech coming up in November (in our hometown of Chicago!), this is the perfect time to put these into practice!

  • Sit down at lunch with someone you don’t know. Ask them where they are from and play “5 degrees of separation”. You never know who you might know in common and that could open the door for future opportunities!
  • If you are exhibiting, make eye contact with every person you can, in a non-threating, non-judgmental way. Attending tradeshows makes people skittish; if they feel pressured, they may not stay to chat. Smile and be sure to really listen to what they are looking for. That may be the difference between a new client and a lost one. 
  • If an exhibitor’s services catch your eye but aren't quite what you need, talk to them anyway. You never know what other services they provide that they aren't directly marketing.
  • Take advantage of apps on your phone that can help you capture people’s information and make sure to follow through right away. With an app like Evernote, you can set a reminder so that when you return to your hotel in the evening, you can send your new contact more info on your company or just a note to say you enjoyed meeting them. You meet hundreds of people at a tradeshow. Keep yourself fresh in their mind. 
  • For FabTech specifically, go to the Robotic Arc Welding Contest or the Welding Wars Competition. Everyone likes a little competition and cheering for or against the same team is an instant ice breaker.
  • Lastly, bring an extra bag for all the stuff you pick up! You can’t leave a tradeshow without a mountain of freebies, giveaways and information. Bring an extra bag to keep it separate in your luggage so you can easily sort through when you return to the office
If you’re attending FabTech 2013 in Chicago, send us a Tweet or visit us on Facebook and let us know!