Given the opportunity, I went down to a job sight in AZ to work as an erector on a project of five buildings. I arrived about half way through the whole process, finishing the sheeting on the second full building. I was immediately impressed by how smoothly everything went. The buildings had been delivered some months before and had sat on the sight in neat little stacks until we got to them, and the rest of that day and most of the next was spent sorting through the red iron, looking for tags, and pulling the pieces over to the slab where they would be put up. This building was big, and designed for a crane. This meant we were only able to assemble one section of the end wall on the ground before we started standing up the red iron.
We would hang them from the fork lift, pull them up, and set them down on the anchor bolts. It was nice to see such a large change after spending the better part of a day just laying out the parts so they would be more accessible when we needed them.
The girts we put up with some scissor lifts, and everything seemed to be going smoothly again. None of the girts had slots for the rods, which
I found out that is how they are supposed to be delivered. They bolted to the ridged frames just fine, but when it came time to put in the rods we realized there was simply no place for them to go where the crane stubs where. The builder called the fabricator and It was interesting to see how such a big problem could be solved so simply, effectively, and quickly.
Of the whole process my favorite part was putting together the roof. For the most part we had connected the large rafters on the ground, but once they were in the air they still needed to be tensioned, and the purlins had to be attached and tightened down. The roof probably took a little more than a day of work, but it was exhilarating to be so high (30’ eve height). Crawling around on the I beams to was easily the most fun I had on my whole trip.
The crew of the builder I was working with was a little sad to see me go I think, but I had gone down to observe firsthand the full process of erecting a building, and I had seen it all. Truth to tell, Steel Building Boot Camp in AZ went really well. The crew I worked with was more of a unit that most I’ve seen- they were more than the sum of their parts, and as individuals they were all good men. It would be a tough thing to put together a more effective, or hard working crew.
My name is Jonny (the intern). The Builder who as so gracious to have me down to work his crew is Chet Wilkins of Sentry Builders LLC in San Tan Valley, near Phoenix AZ. Chet’s number is 602-743-4159 I am sure Chet would be willing to travel.