Would you hire an unlicensed architect to design your dream home? How about having your appendix removed by an unlicensed surgeon? Most of us would laugh at the thought of doing something like this, so is there a reason why steel fabrication should be any different?
When it comes to fabricating and painting hydraulic steel structures (HSS) such as the spillway gates at dams and hydroelectric facilities, the American Institute of Steel Construction’s (AISC’s) certification program is the industry standard. In addition to the AISC’s Governing Requirements for Certification Programs, the following supplemental requirements are specifically relevant to procurement of HSS:
- Supplemental Requirements for Fabricators of Hydraulic Steel Structures (HYD)
- Supplemental Requirements for Fracture Critical Endorsement (FCE)
- Supplemental Requirements for Applicators of Complex Coatings Endorsement (SPE)
This is not to say that a fabricator lacking one or more of the certifications listed above would be incapable of fabricating and painting HSS. However, certification is the only way to really be confident the fabricator you hire has the systems and processes in place to provide a high-quality product. The next time you’re considering waiving a certification requirement for a fabricator, think twice and ask yourself if it’s worth the risk. There are a lot of skilled fabricators out there, but there’s always a chance you could end up with an Art Vandelay.