Clayton Roxborough
ACMA Chairman

Chairman’s message

Training and Technology

Welcome to the first Eye for Detail e-magazine for 2024. It’s been a busy quarter for construction modellers across Australia and the ACMA has been busy too, working away for our members. We’re excited to share some of the plans and developments that have been happening behind the scenes since Christmas.

One of the guiding objectives of this association is to support the professional development of our members. Construction modelling skills underpin the success of the profession by directly influencing productivity, innovation and competitiveness within the sector. In today’s competitive environment a highly-skilled drawing office team is capable of not only preparing 3D models, 2D drawings and other deliverables for the steel fabrication industry, but also implementing new technologies and optimising workflows and production processes, which are crucial for maintaining high-quality output and meeting demanding schedules.

In Australia, the tertiary education sector offers a wide array of options for drafters to develop their skills catering to the diverse needs of the broader industry, but there is no training program on offer for entry level candidates wanting to specialise in Steel Detailing.

The ACMA has been working towards filling this gap in the landscape by providing Australian drafting businesses with a Steel Detailer training course for entry level cadets.

Cadetships, combined with mentoring, provide hands-on experience and knowledge transfer from seasoned professionals to new employees, fostering a culture of continuous learning and skills development within the construction modelling industry.

The ACMA is developing a customised training program, designed in collaboration with industry partners, to ensure that the skills taught are directly applicable to current industry challenges and technologies. This will not involve traditional ‘classroom-based’ learning but rather an online course complemented by on-the-job training.

Please have a look at the Detailer Training article in this edition of the Eye for Detail to learn how this project is progressing and let us have your feedback and thoughts on this important initiative.

Since the first computer appeared in a drawing office in the 1980’s, technology has been the driving force in the transformation of the drafting industry, revolutionising traditional methods and paving the way for increased efficiency and productivity.

The advent of 3D modelling came hot on the heels of the initial thrust of 2D CAD and motivated by the materials processing and manufacturing industries, steel detailing was a focus of software development globally. Since the first decade of this century, most steel detailing firms, certainly in this country, have made the transition from 2D CAD to now using 3D modelling software to create all their contract deliverables.

Consequently, the future of construction modelling is inextricably linked to the development of 3D software and innovations in the material processing field.

The Steel Detailer operates between two sectors that are developing incredibly quickly and have specialised fields of science and technology working to further improve efficiencies.

While this environment provides for some promising technical opportunities, it is also riven with commercial challenges in a business marketplace that is clearly struggling to keep up.

Back in 2021, I penned an article voicing my concerns about the move by 3D modelling software provider, Tekla, to change their licencing agreements from perpetual to subscription.

This article, my Tekla Tantrum, struck a chord with many similarly affected small business owners and prompted much discussion not only within the ACMA but also in Steel Detailing representative organisations around the world. In this edition of the e-magazine I share some thoughts on the behaviour and performance of the Tekla product and brand that have come to pass. Please read my Tekla Tantrum Two, and perhaps share your own thoughts and experiences on the topic.

Technology has transformed the suite of Steel Detailing processes and deliverables.

At the other end of the spectrum, technology innovation in the material processing sector has led to significant transformations in fabrication through the integration of digital technologies such as plasma cutting, beamlines, and robotic welding, fundamentally altering how Steel Detailer deliverables are produced and distributed.

The ACMA has prepared an industry White Paper on the topic of NC and DXF data files, and who is responsible for their integrity. This White Paper is available on the ACMA website, and we are keen to have your thoughts on this subject.

As businesses adopt and embed digital technology into daily operations, the cyber security landscape continues to expand, becoming more complex. In this edition of the Eye for Detail, we have an informative article to assist ACMA company members in the quest to defend themselves from malicious actors who would seek to do them harm. Check out Cyber safety in Small Business for more on this topic.

I hope you will find this edition of the Eye for Detail an interesting read and may even prompt you to let us know your thoughts on some of the topics discussed. And a big thank you to all the ACMA members who contributed articles to the magazine.

Clayton Roxborough | Chairman
Australian Construction Modellers Association

Phil Shanks
Steelcad Drafting
ACMA member – Queensland

ACMA Steel Detailer Training Update!

In September of 2023, after about 12 months of planning for the course content with the training company, a pilot course was run on Steel Detailing (Construction Modelling). There were 8 students, and the course was delivered over 7 consecutive weeks.

On completion of the delivery of the course, a survey was sent to all students and an assessment was conducted on the quality of the training. It was decided that this direction of the training was not what the ACMA had in mind and the ACMA have decided to embark on developing a Steel Detailing (Construction Modelling) training course with the help of Paul McLeod of TecKon services.

Paul McLeod comes with decades of experience in Steel Detailing and training. He has put together a personal biography of his experience in the industry and we’ve included it in this edition of the Eye for Detail to share his background with ACMA members.

The plan is to develop 15 training modules in total with the help of TecKon. A budget for the costs for developing the training material has been determined, with the ACMA self-funding the first 5 modules. The ACMA will be seeking sponsorship from industry to help support the costs for the remaining 10 modules.

The ACMA has set up a subcommittee from members of the ACMA board to manage the training content and steer TecKon in a direction aligned with the ambitions of the ACMA board. Those subcommittee members are:

  • Phil Shanks
  • Damian Watson
  • Simon Schmitt

A marketing strategy to seek sponsorship from industry has been developed, with the marketing document currently under review by the ACMA board.

The training material will be delivered online, and the aim is to have an assessment at the end of each module, which will be used to gauge the competency of the student and enable them to proceed into the remaining course modules.

The training content will be Detailing software agnostic, as this course will not be a software training exercise. The aim of the course delivery is to provide Steel Detailer training fundamentals, which teach the student the basics of the construction industry and the roles and responsibilities of the participants in the supply chain. As the modules progress, so too will the knowledge delivery, as it will start to expand more into the detail of what it is to be a Steel Detailer (Construction modeller)

For years the ACMA have been looking for appropriate training for our member’s cadets and there is nothing on the market which delivers the level of detail specifically tailored to our profession. Some training courses have come and gone, and they mostly only touch lightly on what a cadet Steel Detailer requires to help form their complex skill set, and this is why the ACMA have decided to take this on.

The course content will be managed by the ACMA board, it will be owned by the ACMA, which means that we can develop it over time and update the content as the industry evolves. The design of the course modules that the ACMA has agreed to, is of a design which will allow a smooth update to the website platform.

The ACMA do not intend on becoming a registered RTO, as the board members do not have the capacity to participate in this level of delivery. ACMA board is made up of business owners and managers who are each committed in delivering the best outcomes for our members with the free time they have available. This is a voluntary contribution of time and effort for the board members involved.

The fee structure for the course delivery have not yet been fully determined. Right now, the ACMA is working hard to develop the first 5 modules and start work on attracting industry sponsors to help with the creation of the total of 15 modules.

This is the largest undertaking by the ACMA board since the development of the Second Edition of the Australian Steel Detailers’ handbook, and this book will form the backbone of the training content. A copy of this book can be purchased from the ASI website here.

Further updates on the Steel Detailing (construction modelling) course will come in future Newsletter releases, so watch this space.

Phil Shanks

Tekla Training Guru – Paul McLeod

For this edition of the Eye for Detail, we introduce Paul McLeod. Based in Brisbane, Paul is the Managing Director of Tekcon Services.

The ACMA has done a lot of work in the Steel Detailer training space in recent years, and as Paul Mcleod has been heavily involved in most of it, we thought it a good idea to share his extensive background with the membership.

Paul McLeod – ACMA Member Profile

In 1991, fresh out of Queensland University of Technology (QUT) with an Associate Diploma in Mechanical Engineering, I embarked on my professional journey at BDS Steel Detailers in Brisbane. Although my initial aspiration was to become a mechanical draftsman in the Automotive industry, particularly in motorsport, the limited opportunities in Brisbane led me to explore other avenues.

While perusing job options after university, I stumbled on a short-term drafting position with BDS Steel Detailers, despite being unfamiliar with the role of a Steel Detailer at the time. Driven by the need for financial stability (cash in my pocket), I accepted the 6-week job offer.

Little did I anticipate that this temporary stint would evolve into a career spanning over 33 years, with 25 of those years dedicated to the very company where I began. During the formative years of my career at BDS, I honed my skills as a Steel Detailer under the guidance of some of the industry’s finest professionals, arguably among the best in Australia, if not the world.

Some of the BDS ‘brains trust’ (Brad Backer, Kerry Lindemann near side blue shirts, Peter Hempsall far side blue shirt

When I joined the workforce, drafting was primarily done on drawing boards, with remnants of traditional methods such as ink and tracing paper still prevalent, although pencil and paper dominated.

Shortly after I commenced with BDS, the company decided to transition to a 2D CAD system. Consequently, AutoCAD was introduced, and owing to my familiarity with the software from my university days, I was among the first to adopt it.

Over the following years, we undertook the task of training the remaining staff in AutoCAD.

Given BDS’s widespread presence across Brisbane, Melbourne, Singapore, and the USA, and boasting a workforce of approximately 70+ detailers catering to both metric and imperial markets, this undertaking presented significant challenges. However, it also provided me with valuable experience in training, skills that proved beneficial in the years ahead.

Towards the end of 1995, with technology starting to become more prevalent in our industry, it was time to look for better ways. BDS embarked on exploring the potential of new 3D CAD systems available in the market. After careful consideration, they opted for a system then known as Xsteel, now known as Tekla Structures.

Because of my involvement in the successful implementation of AutoCAD, I underwent training on Xsteel in early 1996. Subsequently, we initiated the rollout process in the office, introducing the software to small groups of 4 or 5 individuals at a time.

BDS pioneered the use of Xsteel in Australia, becoming the early adopters of the software. Recognizing an opportunity to become the software’s reseller, they decided to seize this business prospect. The decision was motivated by the observation that Xsteel required extensive customization to suit the local market, and given BDS’s firsthand experience utilizing the software on live projects, they believed they were well positioned to undertake this customization work.

In 1996, BDS Management established a new entity named CSC Australasia. I transitioned to this company, assuming the role of a Technical Support Consultant and trainer for the Xsteel software. Alongside delivering support and training to Xsteel clients, I concurrently managed the BDS Xsteel system, overseeing the setup of numerous projects throughout the years.

For the subsequent decade, I held this position, a period marked by our rebranding as Pacific Computing and the rebranding of Xsteel to Tekla Structures. As our team expanded to include additional technical support personnel and trainers, I was promoted into a Technical Support management position. Throughout these years, we played a pivotal role in assisting numerous steel detailing companies transition into this innovative 3D modeling technology.

The Pacific Computing team from 1999, Wayne Scott, Nathan Roobottom, Wayne Morrison, Paul McLeod, Tony Marshall

Following a management buyout of the company and a subsequent restructuring in 2007, I assumed the role of General Manager at Pacific Computing. This opportunity provided me with valuable insights into the holistic operations of a business and the essential skills required to effectively manage staff.

Throughout my time working with the Tekla Structures software, I cultivated a strong rapport with the Tekla software company and its personnel, spanning from grassroots software developers to senior management, including the CEO, Risto Räty. A shared passion for golf further solidified our connections; during conferences, we often arranged our “business meetings” to coincide with rounds of golf. These relationships remain as strong today as they have ever been.

Tekla team on my first trip to Tekla HQ in 1996. Ragnar Wessman, yellow shirt (the inventor of Xsteel/Tekla Software and now Director of Product Architecture for Trimble); Paul McLeod (jeans, white shoes); Jari Patenen, back row black shirt (now Manager Software Deployment for Trimble); Teemu Heikkonen, pink shirt (now Chief Software Architect for Trimble)

In 2010, Tekla was acquired by Trimble, a prominent US-based technology company specializing in the geospatial sector, boasting over 4000 employees at the time. Following this acquisition, Trimble embarked on a series of acquisitions of various software packages within the construction sector. Subsequently, Trimble made the strategic decision to consolidate these products under a single umbrella entity, establishing a new franchise business named BuildingPoint.

Risto Räty (former CEO Tekla Structures) and Paul McLeod, 2010

In late 2014, BuildingPoint acquired Pacific Computing, and I transitioned to this new venture for a brief period. However, I eventually decided to return to a more hands-on role. Thus, I founded Tekcon Services, to operate as a freelance consultant specializing in Tekla Structures software. My focus shifted back to assisting clients in maximizing the potential of their Tekla software, providing comprehensive training and consulting services in all aspects of Tekla Structures and detailing.

As of today, I serve more than 150 clients across Australia and even a few overseas.

Each day presents fresh challenges as I strive to address my clients’ issues and enhance their proficiency with the software they utilize. I derive great satisfaction from helping my clients’ overcome challenges and unlocking the full capabilities of their software tools.

More recently, I’ve been collaborating with Australian Steel Institute (ASI) and ACMA to devise a program aimed at drawing new talent to our industry.

Our efforts began with the development of a comprehensive 3-part webinar series explaining the role of a Steel Detailer or Construction Modeler. This webinar series is now accessible through the ASI’s E-Learning Portal here.

In the years ahead, I hope to play a role in bringing fresh talent to our industry, assisting the ACMA in developing training tailored to the needs of a Construction Modeller, and to nurture the next generation of Construction Modellers (Steel Detailers), a profession that I have found to be immensely rewarding, if not at times, somewhat challenging.

Clayton Roxborough
Steelcad Drafting
ACMA member – Queensland

Another Tekla Tantrum

Back in 2021, I penned an article voicing my concerns about the move by 3D modelling software provider, Tekla, to change their licencing agreements from perpetual to subscription. I received multiple responses to that article, indicating that I am not alone in my sense of outrage against the world’s No.1 steel detailing software developer. Steel Detailing industry representative bodies from across the globe, from east to west, from Asia to the United States, were fielding similar feedback from their members. Many well-established companies had made serious investments in purchasing perpetual licences from Tekla only to have the book value of their licences swept away by a corporate decision to change the software firms licencing arrangements.

Some have accepted the reality of the corporate world and swallowed a trade-off with Tekla, swapping perpetual licenses for subscriptions with some kind of sweetener. Swapping real value for a hypothetical discount on some arbitrary measure of cost of subscription. Curiously enough, the annual cost of subscriptions under this “deal” might be similar to the previous annual cost of maintenance for their perpetual licences, but these deals have a sunset. Maybe 3 years, 5 years, maybe more, but sooner or later there will be a reckoning.

It will be very interesting to see how this transpires. Will those who settled for the “deals” end up better off, or will it be the brave souls who’ve held out, who’ve clung onto their perpetual licences, be the winners in the end? Only time will tell on that score.

In the meantime, all the world’s Tekla users are still having to put up with the usual churn of software mush we’ve come to expect from Tekla. The internet is riddled with the angst of construction modellers and steel detailers struggling to come to grips with the Tekla behemoth.

Firstly, on the commercial front, whether you’re subscription or perpetual, Tekla demand payment for all licences by the beginning of the calendar year. This is an annual fee paid 12 months in advance. At the time of payment, we have still no indication of what will be in the new version, what changes have been made, or what improvements have been added, if any!

Despite this, the new versions are not available until March, and even then, we can find the new release is full of bugs, with the inevitable service packs to follow. I hate to say it, but even the service packs can introduce new bugs.

This is the dominant software in our industry….

In what universe do I have to pay seemingly exorbitant costs for something 12 months in advance, where I don’t know what it will be like, or even if it will work properly, and I don’t even get to see it for a further 3 months. Then, I must run tests, for weeks, to make sure it won’t cause major issues in production work currently in progress in the business. The kicker of course is that for perpetual licences, this is for a product that I already own!!!

I wish I could get some of that action. Can you tell I’m getting cranky?

The second issue for me, is the technology. My business has been using Tekla for well over twenty years. We use it exclusively for all our modelling and detailing of steelwork and precast concrete. We have two full-time programmers working on customisation and value-add work behind the scenes. We have two offices full of modellers and detailers with decades of experience, and yet, Tekla still find ways to mess us up.

The latest Service Pack for TS2023 introduced a new bug that caused major damage to work in progress. It altered the presentation of some of our 2D drawings that rendered them useless. It forced a halt to production work until we could understand exactly what had happened.  We had to recall work already issued to clients, and we had our brains-trust sifting through the Tekla product to unpick the effects of the changes. We had to roll back the service pack to the previous release and start over.

We reported this to the Tekla re-seller here in Australia and, after some to-and-fro of emails, the response was “It’s a bug and fixes are already in work version, but all of them are not yet in official versions”. In my opinion this equates to, “yeah we know, we just didn’t bother to tell anyone.”

Seriously!!! This is the most expensive Steel Detailing software on the planet, and this is the support you get!

Are you feeling my pain? Are you similarly affected?

Don’t stop me, I’m on a roll here.

For many years, my company has been pushing Tekla developers to improve the way Tekla software handles platework – rolled or bent platework in particular. Trying to generate plate development drawings and subsequent DXF files using Tekla is woeful. It’s difficult, slow and unreliable. So much so that our preference is to use a local software product developed in Queensland, last century, called “Plate and Sheet”. It works on the back of Autocad and it works a treat, and from memory it cost about $500 dollars. Its performance in this area is far superior to Tekla, however, that is all it does, so we still need Tekla :  /

How about piracy? Unscrupulous drafting firms using unlicensed Tekla software. The good people at Tekla will tell you that they are focused on stamping out this insidious practice, yet in the last 3 months, my company has been engaged to assist on two separate steel construction contracts that had been awarded to overseas detailers that had run into difficulties with either complexity of design or schedule overruns.

Both were comparatively large projects, different builders, different engineers, etc., but curiously enough, both steel detailing companies were based in China. And on one of these projects, the steel detailers were clearly using pirated software! And the other looks decidedly dodgy.

I have heard from some of my peers in the Australian industry that have had similar experiences. It seems Tekla are tough on piracy, unless of course, you are based in China. Then, it seems, one can use pirated Tekla software with impunity.

I can hear some readers saying, “well if you don’t like the Tekla product, change to a different one”. This is the perennial quandary. Change to what? We constantly review the alternatives but in my opinion, Tekla is still the best on the market. Vexed response I know, but this is my experience.

Why change to a lesser product for a lesser fee, just to achieve a lesser result? I’d be cutting off my nose just to spite my face. But what does this say about the software development market?

We are all looking for the next best thing, hoping a better option will come along, and soon.

I’m sure I’m not alone. If you’re similarly affected by any of the issues I’ve raised here, drop me a line, and let me know your thoughts. Tell me I’m right or tell me I’m wrong, I won’t be offended.

If there’s a better way, I’d love to know about it.

Clayton Roxborough

ACMA White Paper – Shop Detailing Deliverables

Exporting Data Files

What are the industry norms and expectations regarding the checking status and quality assurance responsibilities of NC data and DXF files that are issued by steel detailers?

 Is it the detailer’s responsibility to check dxf files prior to sending it to the fabricator?

  • is it the responsibility of the fabricator to check them against the pdf files on receipt?
  • is it the responsibility of the machine operator to check them when fabricating the plate using both the pdf drawings and the dxf files?

These were questions posed to the ACMA board in order to provide some clarity, not only to our members but to the broader steel fabrication industry.

Along with the evolution of beamline machines and CNC plate cutting machines came the requirement to program these machines using the data extracted from the 2D detailed drawings. At a similar time, the evolution of planning, tracking, and managing progress started to take off, generally using report data again lifted from 2D detailed drawings. Shops would have teams of people programming these machines or software’s in an effort to automate and streamline fabrication processes. These days with the evolution of 3D modelling packages, Construction Modellers have the ability to export lots of different types of data files which are directly imported into management software’s and machines with little additional manipulation. This includes data files for process management software’s like Fabtrol, Strumis, Power Fab etc. and production automated software’s for cutting, drilling & welding of steel material (DSTV, DSTV+, iDSTV+, NC, DXF, Peddimat, STP & XML files etc.). As technology evolves, the information required by machines and their software is getting more and more, with some machine software’s already directly linking to the 3D modelling packages.

Although data files can be exported from 3D modelling packages, the files themselves often need to be opened in proprietary software for viewing, inspecting or processing. These proprietary software’s make it difficult for parties like the Construction Modeller who may not have access to the specific machines or licences to all the various products, to be able to view and inspect the data within the files. As a result, the responsibility of the data within the files, how they are set-up, exported and viewed must be a shared responsibility between the entities requesting the files (fabricator or machine operator) and the Construction Modeller building the 3D model. Here is an industry framework as to how the responsibility is to be shared.

Fabricator / Machine Operator Requesting & using the data files.

  • All data files requests and applicable settings are to be provided at the beginning of the project. This will allow the Construction Modeller the best ability to apply the various settings and technics to achieve the requested delivery and accurate outcome. Having to make changes to settings for data exports throughout the project may have significant impacts on schedule and cost as it may inadvertently work to be repeated. Settings include but are not limited to the following:
    • Management Software’s
      • The Type of file required.
      • Profile designations
      • Material designations
      • Additional Data (attributes) requirements. Sequence, lotting, cost codes etc.
      • Assembly, sub assembly, part data requirements.
      • How data is to be supplied i.e. export is run per submittal or entire model.
      • Any special requirement on how to run or complete the export.
    • Machine Cutting Files (NC or DXF)
      • Limitations of the machines i.e. size of material, cope depths adjacent to beam flanges, holes sizes in a single member face,
      • Are files to be categized to suit different machines.
      • Internal corner cut requirements.
      • How holes are to be treated i.e. flame cut or drilled.
      • Line types
      • Pop marking, scribing, etching
    • Welding Files
      • Machine access requirements i.e. angles and clearances
      • Weld Size or Weld type limitations of the machine.
  • Review the data files within the proprietary software to ensure the outcome matches the 2D detailed drawing or controlled reports. The proprietary software and machine setting can cause files to appear different to the 2D detailed drawings generally as a result of incorrect setting being applied at the beginning of the project.
  • Any nesting of material is solely the responsibility of the Fabricator / Machine Operator.

Construction Modeller’s

  • Implement and test any setting requirements provided by the fabricator or machine operator at the beginning of the project.
  • Methods of modelling consider the export of data files.
    • Optimizing material.
    • Material is sufficient for any post processing that is required. E.g. material is not cut too short, or holes are made too big for sat tapping, machining requirements.
  • Limitations of machines are well known so that these can be applied to the 3D model to the best of their ability within the design parameters.
  • Data files exported are of the correct pieces and for the correct project.
  • If possible, some inspections are carried out with generic software’s (there still may difference to the proprietary software being used).
  • A higher level of care and review for parts like rolled or bent material to ensure the output is correct. The accuracy of holes and cuts in this material should be considered during the modelling process as rolling and bending distort the material.
  • Material that has a specific side like checker plate, should have consistently appearance with the specified side (i.e., either near or far side but not both).

When it comes to software that requires a direct link to the 3D modelling software package the responsibilities are very similar to that laid out above however there are some differences.

  • Ownership of the model
  • When models are provided and the data within the model at that time
  • Who is responsible for selecting the pieces to export.

The 2D detailed drawing still has an important role, as the data files can be manipulated either by accessing the code or within the software’s. Also, while the machine abilities are improving with technology there is still often times where material still requires a manual post process to occur e.g., bevelling, machining, tapping, bending. It is for these reasons that the 2D detailed drawings (generally in PDF form) are the controlling document being supplied from the Construction Modeller for the purposes of fabrication. Maybe one day these machines will be so intelligent that 2D drawings won’t be required at all.

Although these data files can be exported from the 3D packages the time to apply the correct steps, test, and the processing for exporting the files all increases the work required by the Construction Modelling Team. This should be acknowledged by the construction industry and if required the compensation be provided to the Construction Modeller for these additional services. Any amount of compensation for this data would be significantly less than the effort it would take to manual program the software’s from the 2D detailed drawings.

With the responsibility being shared between the entities requesting the files (fabricator or machine operator) and the Construction Modeller, any errors because of the data should be investigated thoroughly. It should be identified at what stage the error occurred and if all the necessary information was available to prevent the error from occurring in the first place. Construction Modellers can only work with the information available to them and they should not be assumed to be industry experts in every management or machine software involved in the construction industry.

After taking all the above into account, the board has prepared an industry white paper for industry consideration and feedback.


Cyber Safety in Small Business

Cyber issues are a growing risk for all businesses and can have a particularly magnified effect on smaller organisations.

Australia experiences about 94,000 cyber attacks a year, costing small businesses $46,000 each on average.

Without substantial budgets to improve cyber security tech, what can small to medium sized businesses do to improve cyber security?

The federal government is setting up a new cyber health check program for small and medium businesses, allowing them to undertake a free assessment of their security measures.

Clare O’Neil, minister for home affairs and cybersecurity said the federal government understands the challenges that small businesses face in the complex world of cybersecurity, but they are not on their own.

“The Australian government’s cyber security strategy will ensure the support is available to help them understand and improve their own cybersecurity,” she said.

The federal government will spend $7.2 million to offer the voluntary program as part of its Australian Cyber Security Strategy, which spans from 2023 to 2030.

A further $11 million will go towards the small business cyber resilience service which provides one-on-one assistance to help Australia’s 2.5 million small businesses navigate challenges, including recovering from attacks.

The most common type of cyber attack occurs when criminals tap into business email systems, intercept an invoice and change the bank details.

Unsuspecting customers generally settle the account and that money goes straight to the perpetrators.

For a small business, a cyber incident can be fatal – it can mean shutting up shop that very day.

Here are some Simple and inexpensive measures businesses can adopt right now to improve their cyber safety and security.

Secure your business systems

  • Start by securing your business system’s accounts by turning on multifactor authentication (user name plus password) or requiring a second form of identification such as using a code sent to your phone. This adds an extra layer of security.
  • Always use strong and unique passwords or, even better, pass phrases of four or more random words. These are more unpredictable than a simple password. Have trouble remembering? Try using a password manager that stores and generates unique passwords for each account. These services are available online.
  • Shared accounts can be a convenient way to collaborate but they also pose a security risk. When multiple staff are using the same account it can be hard to track activity back to a specific employee and even harder to track cyber criminals breaking in, so avoid shared accounts wherever possible and create individual accounts instead.
  • Limit employee access to sensitive data and systems and allow only the access they need to perform their jobs.

Prepared for a cyber attack

  • Cyber education: set aside time for cyber security training so your employees understand the importance of strong pass phases, software updates and data backups. Urge them to be vigilant always when opening emails, clicking links or downloading attachments.
  • Make a plan in case of cyber attack . Essentials issues to address include: recovering data, restoring systems and communicating with staff and clients. Your employees also need to be familiar with the emergency plan and how to report an incident.

Protect your systems and information from cyber threats

  • Keeping your software up to date is another protection that’s easy to achieve. Make sure your staff regularly update all software and applications to the latest versions and apply patches as they become available. This reduces the chances of a cyber criminal using known vulnerabilities and weaknesses to run malware or hack your devices.
  • Backing up your information/data is crucial if you do sustain a cyber attack, and gives you greater ability to recover from a ransomware attack or other disaster that results in data loss. Make sure you regularly back up all important data and store your backups in a secure location.
  • Security software, such as antivirus and ransomware protection, is another key action in protecting your business. Having well-regarded security software or antivirus protection running on all your devices helps prevent malware and other cyber threats from infecting your systems.

Network security

  • Secure your network, including servers and routers, Start by using a strong pass phrase or multifactor authentication. You may want to consider migrating to online or secure cloud services that offer built-in security instead of managing your own.
  • Secure your website by regularly updating your content management system and plugins, use multifactor authentication or a strong password for your website’s logon and back up your website regularly to keep it protected against potential vulnerabilities.

Protect your business’s data

  • Reset devices when upgrading, when you’re getting rid of old devices make sure you wipe them clean of all data to prevent sensitive information falling into the wrong hands.
  • Store your business data in a central location that is secure, and regularly back up data to prevent loss.

Project Showcase – Sydney Metro, Martin Place

  • Builder: Lendlease
  • Designer: Arup
  • Detailer: Elmasry Steel Design and Detailing (ACMA member)
  • Steel Fabricator: Wexford Welding

Martin Place is one of 6 new stations on the Sydney Metro line which extends the new metro rail from Chatswood, under Sydney Harbour, through the Sydney CBD and to Bankstown.  The martin place north tower building is a 39 story (plus rooftop plant) commercial tower above the northern entrance of the new Martin Place Metro Station. The station is integrated with the existing Martin Place Station and serves Sydney’s high-end commercial and financial district, the Macquarie Street precinct, and the Pitt Street retail zone.

Our (Elmasry Steel Design and Detailing) scope of work on this job was to provide structural steel shop drawings and temporary work Engineering for the jump start levels. This includes designing and detailing members to achieve the edge of the slab.

The jump start was constructed as a composite floor system. The main beams of the floor were made of precambered plate welded girders and the web plates were detailed to suit the precamber.

Riged mega braces were detailed with plates slotting through the concerte filled columns. Reinforcing bars inside the columns also needed to be modelled to ensure they could clear the slotted plate inside the columns. Brackets were also modelled to to support the facade work.

The awnings on the job were detailed using parametric boxed sections that varied in curvature and depth. This vastly increased the time taken to model and draw the job.

Finally, the roof top dome had quite a complex geometry in order to follow the glazing profile of the façade. Brackets were installed throughout the curved dome to support the glazing panels.

Company Profile – Elmasry Steel Design and Detailing
Director – Michael Elmasry

Elmasry Steel Design and Detailing (

Elmasry Steel Design and Detailing is a well-recognized design and detailing office established in 1993. Our team consists of Engineers and draftspersons specializing in structural design and detailing. We have proven to be a leading office in the area of structural steel. Our office began using the 3D solid modelling program TEKLA Structures in 1996 and our experienced staff have completed over 1000 projects using 3D modelling software.

Project Showcase – Western Sydney Airport

  • Builder: Multiplex
  • Designer: Arup
  • Detailer: Elmasry Steel Design and Detailing (ACMA member)
  • Steel Fabricator: Samaras Structural Engineers

The new Western Sydney Airport terminal is a 140m x 200m hub which is part of the first stage of the Badgerys Creek International Airport. The first stage will open to the public in 2026 serving 10 million passengers yearly with further increments up to 82 million per year. It is expected to be the largest international gateway to Australia by 2060.

In order to minimise beam sizes, rigid connections were adopted for both primary and secondary members, restricting both movement and rotation in the X, Y and Z directions. This vastly added to the complexity of the detailing of the job.

Large overhangs also created large deflections throughout the roof. This problem was resolved by adopting a very special form of 3D pre-setting which involved us capturing the pre-set geometry in all of our drawings.

Company Profile – Elmasry Steel Design and Detailing
Director – Michael Elmasry

Elmasry Steel Design and Detailing (

Elmasry Steel Design and Detailing is a well-recognized design and detailing office established in 1993. Our team consists of Engineers and draftspersons specializing in structural design and detailing. We have proven to be a leading office in the area of structural steel. Our office began using the 3D solid modelling program TEKLA Structures in 1996 and our experienced staff have completed over 1000 projects using 3D modelling software.

Bocad – a change of ownership provides renewed vigour

Bocad is a detailing software for structural engineering that has set standards in steel construction since 1983. Through depth of detail and error-free processes, it has opened up new fabrication possibilities in construction. The 40th anniversary of bocad highlights an extraordinary success story based on commitment to perfection, innovation, and customer orientation. The acquisition by SCHULLER&Company in 2022 has led to a surge of innovation in BIM capability and expansion in Australia, Europe, and South-East Asia.

From conceptual design to detailed design, fabrication  and construction, SCHULLER&Company //bocad enables collaboration and a complete BIM workflow for sustainable projects in industrial, power, mining, oil and gas, infrastructure, commercial, architectural and residential projects handling structural multi-materials such as steel, cladding, timber, glazing and concrete and mechanical plateworks in an innovative manner.

SCHULLER&Company //bocad includes a wide range of standards and libraries enabling quick and easy 3D modelling with latest technology intuitive user interface for any kind of structures interactively (cutting profiles and plates, welding and bolting)

Automatic piece marking/numbering with 3D model revision control and history traceability.

Bill of materials, part fabrication drawings and including plate and bar nesting for estimating material purchase and NC files creation to pilot CNC machines including 3D profiling and welding robots. Center of gravity calculation for lifting,

and/or automatically with rules based parametrical connections which can be easily customized.

Acknowledged very high level of quality and accuracy of automatic fabrication deliverables avoiding wasted time editing drawings risking mistakes and causing rework on site.

SCHULLER&Company // bocad has a unique link between 3D model and drawings. Drawings and 3d model are one which is easing multiple changes in design. Basically, your drawings are created in parallel to your 3d model and once you have finished your 3D model your drawings are finished as well.

It enables building very complex structural geometries.

bocad ensures consistent data and a loss-free process in accordance with all stages of engineering work, leading to error-free construction for all stakeholders in a BIM project.

Accessible: support and development
The bocad Team comprises a mix of experienced and young developers, along with structural engineers specialised in steel, sheet metal, glass, concrete, and timber. Development engineers collaborate directly with customers to implement customer-specific adaptations. The support team is accessible to quickly and effectively solve problems. Global offices and partners ensure the best support for customers.

bocademy: e-training
bocad offers training and certificate courses online and on-demand for professionals and students, enabling them to harness the full potential of bocad to meet today’s complex and technology-driven work environments.

bocad is used by renowned companies worldwide, with over 100,000 projects delivered, including spectacular buildings like the Ferrari Arena in Abu Dhabi, the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, the Aspire Tower in Doha, the City of Dreams in Macau, the Louis Vuitton Foundation in Paris, the Canary Wharf Station in London, The Oculus shopping center in New York, Saloma Bridge in Kuala Lumpur, and the new Sydney Fish Market.

Vincent Oury and Helmut Schuller at the 2023 Steel Convention in Melbourne.

Company Profile – SCHULLER&Company //bocad

Chris Velovski
EDC Consultants
ACMA member – NSW

The Silent Battle of small business in construction

Rework in the construction industry represents a multifaceted challenge that impacts project timelines, budgets, and stakeholder relationships. It often stems from various factors such as design changes, errors in execution, or unforeseen site conditions. When rework is required, it not only disrupts the workflow but also necessitates the allocation of additional resources, which can strain the financial and material reserves of the involved parties. The reluctance of clients to cover the costs of rework can be attributed to their perception of it being an avoidable expense, especially if they believe the need for changes was not due to their decision-making. This situation is further complicated in the context of small companies where the financial buffer to absorb such costs is typically smaller compared to larger firms.

Effective communication and detailed contracts that clearly outline the responsibilities and contingencies for rework can mitigate some of these issues. Additionally, adopting advanced planning methods and technology, like Building Information Modelling (BIM), can help in identifying potential problems early in the design phase, thus reducing the likelihood of rework. Moreover, fostering a collaborative environment where contractors, subcontractors, and clients work closely throughout the project can lead to a more unified approach to managing changes. Training and development programs for workers can also play a crucial role in minimizing errors that lead to rework.

Ultimately, addressing the problem of rework requires a proactive and integrated approach that involves all stakeholders in the construction process. By prioritizing planning, communication, and collaboration, the industry can work towards reducing the incidence of rework and the tensions it creates. This not only benefits the immediate parties involved but also contributes to the overall efficiency and sustainability of the construction industry.

In the construction industry, the issue of rework and its associated costs is a significant point of contention, particularly between large building firms and their subcontractors. The resistance of big builders to pay for rework stemming from incompatible planning is often rooted in a lack of clear accountability measures within the industry. Large construction companies may operate under the assumption that subcontractors, as the executors of the plans, should be responsible for any errors or necessary changes during the design and building process. This perspective can lead to strained relationships with smaller companies who may feel the financial burden of these expectations disproportionately.

The expectation for subcontractors to absorb the costs of rework can lead to financial disputes and a sense of inequity. Smaller companies, often lacking the leverage of their larger counterparts, may find themselves in a position where they must accept unfavourable terms to sustain business relationships. This dynamic can foster a power imbalance, where larger builders exert dominance over smaller entities, compelling them to shoulder the financial impact of rework without due compensation.

This imbalance can create a cycle of exploitation and unfair treatment, as smaller companies may feel pressured to maintain partnerships with big builders despite the financial strain. The resulting conflicts over payment for rework not only affect the immediate parties involved but can also have broader implications for the industry. It can lead to a culture of mistrust, where subcontractors may become wary of working with large firms, potentially leading to a decrease in collaboration and innovation within the sector.

Moreover, the reluctance of big builders to pay for rework can have long-term consequences on the quality of construction projects. When subcontractors are forced to cut costs to accommodate the financial burden of rework, it can result in compromised workmanship and materials, ultimately affecting the integrity and safety of the built environment. This situation underscores the need for more equitable practices and accountability in the construction industry to ensure that all parties share the responsibility for maintaining high standards of quality and safety.

To address these challenges, there is a growing call for industry-wide reforms that would introduce clearer guidelines and accountability measures. These reforms could include standardized contracts that explicitly outline the responsibilities of each party, dispute resolution mechanisms that provide fair and timely outcomes, and industry regulations that protect the interests of smaller companies. By fostering a more balanced and transparent approach to handling rework and its costs, the construction industry can work towards a more collaborative and sustainable future.

It’s always the small pieces that make a big picture

In the dynamic landscape of modern construction, the intricate web of stakeholders, complex designs, and multifaceted regulatory landscapes make initial plans susceptible to change. These alterations, driven by evolving client preferences, regulatory updates, or unexpected construction challenges, can significantly impact project timelines and budgets. The crux of the issue often lies in the ambiguity surrounding responsibility for these changes, particularly when they necessitate additional work. Disputes arise, predominantly when clients attribute the need for rework to errors or oversights on the part of subcontractors, leading to a contentious environment where the allocation of costs becomes a point of contention.

To navigate this complexity, a proactive approach centered on clear communication, collaboration, and transparency is paramount. It is essential for clients to appreciate the intricacies of construction work and to understand that design modifications may lead to necessary adjustments on-site. This understanding should be coupled with an acknowledgment of the expertise and detailed work provided by subcontractors. On the other side of the spectrum, large construction firms bear the responsibility of managing design changes with adeptness, ensuring that these alterations do not cascade into a series of costly and time-consuming reworks. They must also uphold a commitment to equitable treatment of subcontractors, recognizing the value of their contribution and ensuring fair compensation for additional work stemming from planning oversights or incompatibilities.

The construction industry, therefore, stands at a crossroads where the traditional methods of operation are being challenged by the need for a more adaptive and collaborative approach. This shift calls for a transformation in the mindset of all parties involved, fostering a culture where open dialogue and mutual respect are the foundations of every project. By embracing such a culture, the industry can mitigate the risks associated with design changes and rework, ultimately leading to more successful and harmonious project outcomes. The path forward is one of partnership and shared vision, where each stakeholder recognizes their role in the larger tapestry of construction and strives towards a common goal of project excellence.

Success is best when it’s shared

In the construction industry, the clarity of contractual agreements is paramount. These documents serve as the foundation for understanding and expectations between parties, detailing the scope of work, timelines, payment schedules, and procedures for handling unforeseen circumstances such as rework. Rework, the process of redoing or correcting work that was not completed correctly the first time, can be a significant source of conflict and cost overrun. Therefore, it’s crucial that contracts explicitly outline the terms and conditions related to rework, including the standards for acceptable work, the process for identifying and reporting defects, and the responsibilities for correcting them.

Moreover, contracts should incorporate clear mechanisms for resolving payment disputes, which are often a point of contention in construction projects. These mechanisms might include step-by-step dispute resolution procedures, timelines for raising and addressing disputes, and, if necessary, provisions for third-party mediation or arbitration. By having these protocols in place, parties can address disagreements swiftly and fairly, reducing the potential for protracted disputes that can delay projects and damage relationships.

Fostering a culture of mutual respect, trust, and accountability is equally important. When stakeholders, including contractors, subcontractors, suppliers, and clients, treat each other with respect and operate in a transparent manner, it creates an environment conducive to collaboration and problem-solving. Trust is built through consistent and honest communication, adherence to commitments, and fair dealing. Accountability ensures that all parties are responsible for their contributions to the project and are held to their contractual obligations.

By working together with these principles in mind, stakeholders can minimize the occurrence of rework, resolve conflicts amicably, and ensure that everyone involved in the project is compensated fairly. This collaborative approach not only leads to more successful project outcomes but also contributes to a more sustainable and reputable construction industry. Ultimately, well-defined contractual agreements and a culture of mutual respect, trust, and accountability are key to achieving these goals.

Chris Velovski

Damian Watson
ACMA board member – Victoria

Construction Modelling Industry – Market outlook for Victoria

We are currently navigating a complex blend of challenges and opportunities. The hurdles typically range from bank approval processes and government funding reassessments to bureaucratic procedures that decelerate the design and contract administrative process.

Despite these obstacles, there remains a palpable sense of opportunity. However, the nature of the projects has evolved, leading to highly competitive pricing, especially in the residential and small to medium-sized commercial and industrial sectors, which have experienced a notable decline in activity. In contrast, large-scale industrial and government infrastructure projects continue to demonstrate resilience.

While there is urgency in communications within the tender processes, suggesting projects are ready to commence immediately, the reality often demonstrates factors such as slow bank financing, council approvals, and lengthy government funding assessments are postponing project starts or necessitating redesigns as a cost reduction strategy, making it challenging to predict when projects will progress and arrive on our desks to begin.

Once projects reach us, the workflow tends to be uneven and lumpy, characterized by frequent pick up and put down and high levels of administration and management. Identifying the root cause of these challenges is complex, and there may be multiple contributing factors. One notable trend is the departure of seasoned professionals from all stages of the construction lifecycle (including ours), which appears to be leading to a dilution of knowledge and perhaps this is coupled with a shift in the skill set required to effectively and efficiently manage today’s technologically driven projects.

In any case, the market presents a mix of challenges and opportunities. I believe success of our industry will depend on our ability to identify and adapt to these evolving challenges and transform them into opportunities. Staying agile and proactive in our project management, engaging stakeholders and embracing continual learning, will be essential for us going forward.

Damian Watson

2023 Australian Steel Convention Wrap

Sofitel Hotel, Melbourne

The key themes at last year’s Convention were;

  • Steel as the preferred building material and
  • Why you should Choose Steel as a career

The 2023 convention launched the ASI Choose Steel campaign – an exciting promotional campaign putting steel at the forefront of the public eye as Australia’s preferred building material – and how to get involved with your own steel solutions.

The “Why Choose Steel?” campaign continues to promote steel in a range of facets including – design flexibility, good looking, strength, long-lasting, low maintenance, fire performance, sustainability and thermal efficiency. For more information and case studies, go to

MC for the whole event was popular TV personality and academic Adam Spencer He delivered an entertaining and informative program, full of energy and valuable insights for convention delegates.

Adam Spencer – ASI Steel Convention 2023 MC

Two hundred and forty delegates enjoyed a fun-packed opening event to the convention at a meet and greet reception at the Old Melbourne Gaol.

Monday sessions included an address by Federal Industry and Science Minister Ed Husic. Australian-made steel had a key role to play in the shift to advanced manufacturing, renewable energy and low emissions, the Minister told the convention. Australian-made steel was crucial to the economy, employing 140,000 people and generating $30b in annual revenue.

The BlueScope-sponsored convention gala dinner at Melbourne’s Plaza Ballroom on Monday night drew a very appreciative crowd. It’s my personal opinion that the entertainment at this event was not a patch on the excellent talent on display at both of the 2021 and 2022 gala dinners. The likes of Jon Stevens and Johny Deisel where a massive highlight at the earlier conventions, and I’m hoping that the 2024 show in Brisbane will be a return to form for the event organisers.

Tuesday featured a young achievers panel 4 young industry workers who shared their career stories. An engineer, an environmental advisor, apprentice boiler maker, and a sales rep help shape a new Australian Steel Institute’s (ASI) ‘careers-in-steel’ strategy.

Other plenary sessions provided project case studies, showcasing the innovative solutions across a variety of project applications and steel product groups. There were also valuable insights as to what is happening around the globe, and how these topics affect Australian business from a global and local perspective.

The ASI wrapped up its annual convention in Melbourne on Tuesday September 12 with forums for roll formers, fabricators and the Construction Modellers AGM and forum.

2023 Australian Steel Detailer’s Forum – 12 September

Sofitel Hotel, Melbourne

The Steel Detailer’s Forum and ACMA AGM were break-out sessions on the Tuesday following the Australian Steel Convention.  The meeting attracted an excellent cross-section of construction modeller businesses from around the country, and abroad, as well as representatives from two of the major software brands.

National Forum Highlights


  • Clayton Roxborough – Steelcad (Chairman) QLD Member
  • John Gardner – ASI (Minutes Secretary) QLD Member
  • Phil Shanks – Steelcad QLD Member
  • Chris Velovski – EDC Consultants NSW Member
  • Simon Schmitt – DBM Vircon WA Member
  • Damian Watson – Connex – VIC Member
  • Paul Henderson – 3DE WA Member
  • Dale Hart – Redd BIM VIC Member
  • Daniel Petrak – DBM Vircon QLD Member
  • Bevan Thwaite – DBM Vircon QLD Member
  • Niel Gonsalves – Xstruct Australia WA Member
  • Jason Nankivell – DBM Vircon WA Member
  • Mohnish Jeenarin -3DE WA Member
  • James Wright – Beamline NZ
  • Scott Zajonskouski – Revision Zero Philippines
  • Tom Malloy – Building Point (Tekla) QLD
  • Jason Carpenter – Building Point (Tekla) QLD
  • Helmut Schuller – S&C (Bocad) Europe
  • Vincent Oury – S&C (Bocad) Europe
  • Meeting Opening

    Conflict of interest disclosures
    The meeting protocol was explained by the ACMA President to ensure competitors attending the forum would not be discussing commercially sensitive matters about customers or markets.

    Forum attendees introduced themselves and their companies.

    The Year in Review

    • ACMA has 30 company members
    • ACMA has 350 followers on LinkedIn
    • ACMA is represented on the ASI Queensland Construction/Technical Committee by Clayton Roxborough & Phil Shanks
    • ACMA (Phil Shanks) presented on steel detailing/construction modelling at the first night of the ASI Welding Course for Engineers
    • ACMA is providing comments to ASI on a new ASI Technical Note on traceability
    • Part 1 of the ASI seminar “Introduction to Steel Detailing” produced by Paul McLeod is available on the ASI website to view free of charge.

    Matters for discussion
    Steel Detailer Training

    • ACMA is supporting a trial of an Australian steel detailer course provided by Cadcoe. The course is being coordinated by Paul McLeod from Tekcon services.
    • The course is held for 2 hours per day, 3 days per week for 9 weeks via MS Teams. A worked example of a portal frame building is included in the course.
    • ACMA needs feedback from the course participants to determine the success of the course.
    • It was suggested that each course participant receive a copy of the ASI Steel Detailers Handbook as part of the course handout material.
    • In order to receive a student subsidy from the federal government the course needs to be delivered by a Registered Training Organisation (RTO).

    Website Development

    • It was suggested that a printable invoice be available from the ACMA website for membership renewals.
    • Posting of articles from the ACMA website to LinkedIn would facilitate greater sharing of information and market ACMA to a wider contact list.

    Industry standards – Technical, Commercial, HR

    • It was agreed that ACMA should produce further checklists and guides on steel detailer drawings, RFI’s, PI insurance, employment awards, standard contracts and HR.
    • It was suggested that ACMA arrange a group discount for ACMA members to take out PI insurance.

    Newsletter – Eye for Detail

    • Editions of the Eye for Detail newsletter were released in Autumn and Spring.
    • It was agreed that future editions of the newsletter also need to be provided as a PDF to facilitate sharing and printing.

    Meeting Finalisation
    Review Actions to be taken

    • Meeting closed at 3.15pm

    The discussions and ideas floated at these forums forms the basis of goals for our industry body to pursue throughout the year. The ACMA is a volunteer group that works hard to improve the circumstances of our whole profession.

    The Forum was followed by social event at the lobby bar in the Sofitel Hotel. This was a great opportunity to meet & mix with other Detailers and related industry representatives. It’s a chance to make friends and build a peer group of like-minded individuals that you can call on for guidance and feedback throughout your career.

    2024 Australian Steel Convention 8 – 10 September

    Pullmans Brisbane

    The Australian Steel Convention is back in 2024, and is one to look forward to. Arranged by the Australian Steel Institute (ASI), the Steel Convention is one of the most anticipated events in the steel industry, bringing together professionals, industry experts, and thought leaders from across the country to discuss the latest trends, technologies, and best practices in the steel industry.

    At this years annual ASI Convention, we will explore what it takes to ensure a design and structure is sustainable.

    The Convention will be held at the Pullman Brisbane King George Square.

    An exciting line-up of presenters and panels will examine:

    • Cost-effective, sustainable, and resilient steel solutions for architects, engineers, and contractors.
    • Case studies showcasing steels versatility, reusability, and traceability.
    • Demands and opportunities of the Australian infrastructure initiatives and projects pipeline.
    • The current and future requirements and capabilities of the Australian steel supply chain.
    • Steel’s long-term benefits, impacting all aspects of design, transportation, handling, and installation.

    A great speaking line-up over one and a half days of plenaries and breakout sessions by fabricators, modellers and roll formers will explore the sustainable solutions for steel and case studies demonstrating its traceability and versatility.

    Author and comedian Adam Spencer is back by popular demand to host proceedings. Adam has become a well-informed voice on the industry in his last two convention outings and his behind-the-scenes knowledge and questions have been deeply appreciated by panellists and delegates.

    Adam Spencer – ASI Steel Convention 2024 MC

    Convention highlights:

    • The convention will kick off on the evening of Sunday, 8 September with an onsite Welcome Reception at Sixteen Antlers Pullman’s rooftop bar.

    • Columnist, speaker, business advisor and social commentator Bernard Salt will speak in a plenary session on demographic trends and what it means for the industry. Bernard has built a career providing demographics advice to business as a partner in a global advisory firm. In 2017 he founded The Demographics Group.
    • All breaks will be enjoyed in the exhibition area, with 20+ industry suppliers ready to talk through attendees’ business needs.
    • The Convention Dinner will be held Monday night within easy walking distance at the Brisbane City Hall, with great food and entertainment.

    Day 2 breakout sessions will include:

    • Roll formers session exploring latest changes to code and practices.
    • Fabricators forum reviewing compliance and traceability challenges.
    • The Australian Construction Modellers Association will hold their AGM and forum.

    Stay up to date with the latest Convention developments, speaker announcement and social function details by following the Australian Steel Institute on LinkedIn.

    2023 Australian / New Zealand Tekla BIM Award

    Winner – Steelcad Drafting

    Phil Shanks (left) Operations manager at Steelcad accepts the Tekla BIM award from Robert Lamb, Building Point Australia

    Project: Woolworths National Distribution and Regional Distribution Buildings in NSW

    Tactical Group engaged Steelcad Drafting on behalf of Woolworth’s to perform the steel detailing services for two large co-located automated warehouse distribution centres in Western Sydney. The two buildings are in excess of 5000t combined, each with 40 metre plus highbays, linked by two suspended airbridges for pedestrian access and conveyor system interconnectivity between the two buildings, and one building includes a 55m clear span trussed roof each with pre-cambers. To add further complexity to the detailing, when the second building was awarded the steel fabrication was awarded to an overseas fabricator.

    The client representative had never performed the steel detailing prior to engaging the D&C Contractor, so initially there was some concern, however that quickly disappeared in the early stages of Steelcad’s engagement when the client could see the value in the early engagement. This early appointment allowed the steel detailing to be well advanced by the time the D&C Contractor was appointed, gaining valuable time for the project’s already compressed schedule, particularly allowing a welded beams order and steel fabrication to commence immediately after D&C contract award.

    Steelcad modelled the steel shop drawings and their model was incorporated into the Revit model assisting with the fast tracking of the structural design development and clash detection between architectural and structural disciplines. Steelcad quickly became a highly valuable member of the design team, driving the design development through design meetings and Revit model clash detection sessions. Their timely communications and design clarifications helped the design process immeasurably, and the accuracy and high standard of their shop drawings was commented upon by all involved including the D&C contractor, steel fabricators, and riggers on both Projects with effectively no reworks required.

    Steelcad finished the majority of the NDC Shop drawings in late 2022, some 2 years after commencing work for Tactical, with the final sections wrapping up in July 2023.

    In mid-2021, Steelcad were awarded the second stage of this project, the Regional Distribution Centre (RDC) with the same vision as was adopted for the NDC contract; To perform alongside the design consultants as they developed their documents and deliver ABM’s for steelwork ordering purposes.

    After the ABM’s were delivered for the priority areas, which were also the largest Steelwork areas of the project, we were once again novated to Richard Crookes Construction to complete the Shop Detailing for the RDC project and started this part of the contract around September 2021.

    Steelcad finished the majority of the RDC Shop drawings in May 2023, some 12 months after commencing work, with the final sections wrapping up in November 2023.

    Steelcad also modelled and detailed the precast panels for the RDC project for Richard Crookes. This work was delivered to the client around the same time as the steelwork delivery and was a total of 5250 tonnes of concrete.

    Steelcad’s resource allocation to these projects fluctuated with the availability of design”. Steelcad’s agile approach to manpower allowed the consultants time to fully develop their design documentation. Steelcad then played the role of expeditor to feed information back to the client and consultants around design coordination and finalisation issues.

    A Project of Precision and Collaboration
    Steelcad’s expertise in Tekla Structures, Model Sharing, and Trimble Connect played a pivotal role in the successful completion of the Woolworths JN and JR Distribution Buildings project. This ambitious undertaking, encompassing two sites over a sprawling 75,000 square meters, represents a significant milestone in Woolworths’ supply chain operations, both regionally and nationally.

    Early Engagement and Collaborative Workflow
    Steelcad’s early engagement proved to be a strategic advantage, enabling the team to prioritize the modelling and detailing of steelwork to affected by lengthy lead times. This proactive approach ensured the timely procurement of materials, mitigating the impact of industry-wide price fluctuations. By delivering Advanced Bills of Material (ABM) and Shop Drawings early in the project cycle, Steelcad streamlined the material procurement process, ensuring that essential materials were secured well in advance. This proactive approach minimised potential delays and disruptions to the construction schedule.

    A Single Source of Truth and Seamless Collaboration
    Steelcad’s meticulously crafted Tekla Structures model emerged as the single source of truth, fostering trust and collaboration among the project’s diverse stakeholders. The model’s accuracy and comprehensiveness facilitated seamless coordination between designers, contractors, and fabricators.

    Effective Model Management with Trimble Connect
    Steelcad’s utilisation of Trimble Connect proved to be invaluable in managing the project’s numerous models effectively. The platform’s robust features enabled the team to efficiently handle model interfaces, ensuring consistency and avoiding discrepancies.

    Overcoming Challenges Through Collaboration
    The project presented unique challenges, including navigating unfamiliarity with certain design consultants. However, Steelcad’s commitment to collaboration and open communication fostered strong relationships, enabling the team to overcome obstacles and deliver the project successfully.

    A Testament to BIM Expertise
    The Woolworths NDC and RDC Buildings project stands as a testament to Steelcad’s expertise in BIM methodologies. The team’s ability to leverage BIM tools and foster collaboration among stakeholders played a crucial role in the project’s successful completion.

    Project Highlights:

    • BIM Awards Winner – Industrial Category
    • Project Name: Woolworths National and Regional Distribution Buildings
    • Company: Steelcad
    • Products Used: Tekla Structures, Model Sharing, Trimble Connect
    • Project Scope: Two distribution buildings spanning 75,000 square metres
    • Key Features: 40-meter-plus highbays, two suspended airbridges, and a 55-metre clear span trussed roof

    Lessons Learned:

    • Early engagement with key stakeholders is crucial for project success.
    • Effective communication and collaboration are essential for overcoming challenges.
    • BIM methodologies can streamline workflows and enhance project outcomes.

    High Bay Warehouse under construction

    Steelcad Operations Manager, Phil Shanks (left) with Richard Crookes Site Engineer, Andre Kisso.

    ASI welding course – 21 August to 23 October 2024

    Register today!

    Engineering practitioners who design and specify steel structures need a practical understanding of steel materials including knowing the processes and practices of welding, cutting and forming, and weld testing and quality control. This knowledge is essential if fabricated steel structures are to be economical, practicable and fit for purpose.

    Unfortunately, few professionals have the opportunity to gain substantial exposure to fabrication workshop or testing activities and expand their practical understanding.

    This course aims to address the gap, combining a broad scope of background information with hands-on practical experience.

    On completion you will have gained an:

    • appreciation of the design of welded structures
    • insight into fabrication processes, procedures and automation
    • overview of non-destructive testing processes and procedures
    • awareness of the heat-affected zone, residual stress and distortion
    • insight into the importance of welding procedures, and material certificates
    • awareness of common design errors in steel structures

    Course Content
    Course consists of 3 components – basic theoretical learning of steel and welding, hands on workshop time, and guest speakers.

    Theory Topics (indicative only)

    • Steel materials – properties, grades & standards
    • Mechanical cutting, thermal cutting, forming
    • Joining processes
    • Weld properties, weld preparations and weldability
    • Open & hollow section connections
    • Arc welding processes and selection
    • Heat treatment, residual stress & distortion
    • Weld defects, weld inspection and quality control
    • Management of weld quality

    Design detailing – economy, access & common errors

    Hands-on Workshop
    Of the total 27 hours course time, approximately 18 hours is spent in the workshop, using equipment and learning basic welding techniques.  Teachers also create situations for difficult design welds, allowing first-hand experience at tight place welding or non-standard welding.

    Guest Speakers

    • Non Destructive Testing (NDT) expert will discuss NDT testing methods and equipment
    • Steel Fabricator will speak on economy of design and highlight common errors
    • Steel Detailer will speak on economy of design and common errors they experience

    Please note: Content is introductory level, assuming no or limited experience in metal fabrication.  Some content may already be known to participants, however, content is included as a refresher prior to physically working with steel.

    Participants will be required to complete a Student Personal Details form which will be provided by TAFE prior to the commencement of the course.

    Participants successfully completing the course will receive a TAFE certificate of completion in the competencies “Perform routine gas metal arc welding” and “Perform routine manual metal arc welding”.

    Study and reference material provided

    • An Engineers Guide to Fabricating Steel Structures: Volume 1: Fabrication Methods (eBook)
    • An Engineers Guide to Fabricating Steel Structures: Volume 2: Successful Welding of Steel Structures (eBook) Learn more

    Dates: Wednesdays evenings from 21 August to 23 October (no class on 18 September)
    Time: 5pm to 8pm
    Location: TAFE Queensland, 247 Bradman St, Acacia Ridge
    Wednesday 25 September – visit to NDT company. Address to advised
    Course fee: To be advised

    Please note the course is subsidised by TAFE Qld and is only available for residents of Queensland.

    Minimum registrations are required to commence the course. Places are strictly limited to 14 participants, so please register early to avoid disappointment. Click here to register!

    For further information please contact John Gardner, ASI National Education Manager at

    New ASI Online Jobs Portal

    ASI announce new jobs portal for all industry.

    There is an opportunity for ACMA members seeking new trainees to post job opportunities on the ASI Jobs portal.

    Job postings could include a weblink to the ASI Steel Detailers Handbook and the ACMA eLearning course to provide further background to potential job applicants on the role of Steel Detailers/Construction Modellers.

    The ASI Jobs Board is available to view at

    John Gardner
    Australian Steel Institute
    ACMA honorary member

    Manufacturing Skills Queensland – Report

    Manufacturing Skills Queensland (MSQ) is an independent body established by the Queensland Government to build a sustainably skilled workforce for the Queensland manufacturing industry.

    With ACMA members being a key component of the local steel supply chain, the Australian Steel Institute (ASI) recently included reference to steel detailing and construction modelling in a report to MSQ as follows:

    “The profession of steel detailing is increasingly aligned with 3D modelling and the rich immersive technologies that are coming together to allow a complete supply chain based on the 3D model produced by steel detailers being millimetre perfect.    Hence, we are increasingly seeing steel detailers in the role of construction modelers responsible for developing and coordinating the 3D model ultimately used for fabricating and erecting the structure. 

     ASI is supporting ACMA in its development of a new course for Steel Detailers/Construction Modellers which will highlight the latest technology on 3D modelling and on-site point cloud scanning to facilitate efficient fabrication and erection of structural steelwork.

    The new course which will consist of 15 modules will use the ASI Steel Detailer’s Handbook as the basis for the course. The board of ACMA has approved the self-funding of the first 5 modules and is seeking financial support to help fund the remaining 10 modules.

     ASI is seeking marketing and funding assistance from MSQ to support ACMA to complete and release its course to upskill the industry to the latest technology”.

    John Gardner, ASI National Education Manager – Technical commented:

    “ASI understands the pivotal role that steel detailers and construction modellers play in the manufacturing and construction value chain.  Providing the next generation of professionals in this sector with the necessary skills. knowledge and resources is of the utmost importance to enable them to thrive in an increasingly competitive landscape”.

    Phil Shanks
    Steelcad Drafting
    ACMA member – Queensland

    Taking Shop Detailing to the next level

    I have acquired a few plans for different model aircraft engines. I decided I’d take the plunge and start building one, this is probably the simplest engine from all the plans I have, but its still very tedious and time consuming.

    When my dad retired, I got him a Lathe and then a small shop mill. He has been teaching me how to use them since we got them and I’m really enjoying building creations in various metals.

    A photo of the garage workshop:

    The lathe is a reasonable size machine and it used to have a manual gear selection which is a bit painful to operate. Dad suggested I get a 3-phase motor and he got the VFD, the small grey box on the wall to the left of the lathe. The VFD takes single phase and converts into 3-phase, so that the motor will work and instead of stopping the lathe and changing gears manually, he wired this all up and added a small dial to adjust the speed. It’s a fantastic upgrade.

    The mill has no upgrades, but we have added the small CNC controller which is to the right of the picture above. Its can be connected to a rotary table, which dad modified to add a stepper motor instead of the manual dial. This CNC controller is programmable and there are many rotary programs one can plug into the keypad and save for later use. Its accurate and a lot faster to use when compared to the manual dial.

    I’ve been working on this tiny engine for months now, I do a bit of it here and there when I get time. I’d say it will take me a year to complete from start to finish, keeping in mind that this is a few hours on a weekend every few weeks.

    This particular engine can be built as either a diesel engine or a nitro engine. I’ve chosen the nitro option. Some of the Shop dwgs to build this are shown below and as you can see, everything is in Imperial, so I’m having to convert to metric as I build each part.

    The Shop dwgs were drawn by a Brisbane guy by the name of Ron Chernich. Ron passed away some years ago and I acquired the plans from another model engine builder I know. In fairness to the designer, I’ll dedicate this article to Ron:

    At this stage, I have completed the following parts:

    • crank case
    • back plate
    • crank case
    • cylinder
    • cylinder head
    • rotary valve
    • crankshaft
    • glow plug button

    Some images of the parts that I’ve made so far:


    Making a jig to turn down the crank pin, which is offset to the main shaft:


    So far, the most difficult part to make has been the cylinder. It’s a 2 stage machining project, as the first stage set up the tiny platform for the angular drilling of the inlet ports.

    The cylinder is machines over long, bored out and then the inlet and exhaust ports are drilled. As can be seen below, the inlet ports are drilled perpendicular to an angular shoulder which is machined in the first stage of the operation. This drilling is done on an indexing head, with the use of the CNC controller to dial in the angles for each port.

    Once all holes are drilled, the cylinder if machined to finished size, with the more being honed.


    What’s left to make will some of the fiddliest parts, as they are all quite small. When this project is complete, I’ll post another article and hopefully a video of it running!

    Phil Shanks

    Enter the 2024 ASI Steel Excellence Awards

    The ASI is seeking entries for the 2024 Australian Steel Excellence Awards. The awards provide an outstanding opportunity for the steel supply chain to showcase collaborations and achievements, recognise high standards, and promote excellence in the use of Australian steel in design. Entries are invited across the steel chain from manufacturers and engineers to designers, builders, architects, fabricators, modellers, distributors, and galvanizers.

    Six award categories:

    1. Buildings – Large Projects (over $10,000,000) for application component
    2. Buildings – Small Projects (up to $10,000,000) for application component
    3. Australian Steel Clad Structures (Warehouses, Industrial Buildings, Facades, etc)
    4. Engineering Projects (up to $10,000,000) for application component
    5. Innovative Cold Form Steel Building (Excludes Class 1 Building & Industrial, Warehouses and Sheds)
    6. Young Achiever – nominate a young achiever under the age of 25

    Entries must be submitted via the ASI website and close on Friday 28 June 2024.

    Projects submitted for the first five categories above must have been fabricated in Australia from predominantly Australian made steel to qualify. State winners advance to the ASI’s National Australian Steel Excellence Awards, presented at a gala dinner in Sydney in November 2024.

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