Exterior of Haskell's Steel Shop.

September 14, 2020

Steel Fabrication Unit Offers Know-How and Cutting-Edge Tech

The presence of in-house steel resources offers advantages beyond certainty of supply.

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From its origin with five employees in the corner of a warehouse, Haskell Steel has grown to a 45-person operation using state-of-the-art technology in two facilities totaling 65,000 square feet.

Steel Fabrication Director Steve Gibson, who joined Haskell in 1985 and has led the operation since 2004, said that the origins of the steel fabrication division are “somewhat like local lore.”

From its earliest days, Haskell has been a user and innovator in tilt-up construction, an efficient method in which concrete slabs are cast horizontally at the jobsite. Once cured, the slabs are lifted by crane and set in place and form a wall from a series of consecutive panels standing next to each other.

Forming the concrete panels required steel.

Early on, Haskell was dependent on fabrication companies throughout the country for its steel needs, which meant it was subject to the price fluctuations and delivery delays. In the mid-1970s, the decision was made to take control of its own supply chain, and the steel shop opened.

From Humble Beginnings

Operating from the company’s warehouse, the shop began making embedded plates and angles for tilt-up panels. By 1980, a push for increased self-reliance drove Haskell to create a fabrication facility capable of providing all the steel necessary in a project.

“The company continued to grow and take on larger and more complex projects, and the steel fabrication operation grew with the company,” Gibson said. “We’re now fabricating really large and complex projects with high quantities of structural steel.”

The presence of in-house steel resources offers advantages beyond certainty of supply. Traditionally, consideration of steel fabrication occurs near the end stages of a project. But at Haskell, the fabrication division has a seat at the table early in the process, which allows its steel experts to offer design input, weigh all production options, begin fabrication earlier and shorten the project lifecycle.

Haskell’s aggressive application of technology in every stage of steel fabrication also sets it apart.

“There’s no more manual drilling or manual laying out,” he said. “It helps in several ways. Quality: the layout of the work you get from the machine should be as exact as the work in the model. Safety: Now instead of people doing all these processes to the steel, a machine does it and it’s safer. You can do all this work quicker with a machine than with manual labor.”

Technology and Scale

Nowhere has the breadth and range of Haskell Steel been better displayed than on the recently completed Norwegian Cruise Line Terminal B at PortMiami. Team members joined conversations early in the creation of the terminal’s iconic curvilinear design, overseeing delivery of more than 8,200 tons of structural steel, nearly 4,000 of which they produced themselves.

The integration of 3D modeling technology exported data used to automate fabrication processes and also informed decision making. It determined which components, such as overhead trusses, were too large physically too big to be built and instead subcontracted and oversaw their production and delivery.

Haskell also is a trusted source of steel and start-to-finish project management for other contractors. It recently delivered for one client five structures totaling 3.3 million square feet of roof area, and while it averages annual production of about 6,000 tons, its integrated design experience and toolset enable it to oversee much larger projects than traditional firms.

And its capabilities have been certified by the American Institute of Steel Construction continuously since achieving the designation in 2009.

“It’s a rigorously audited quality program,” Gibson said. “I think the certification is an easy way for designers, owners and companies to feel comfortable that the contractor knows what they’re doing.”

Haskell delivers more than $1 billion annually in Architecture, Engineering, Construction (AEC) and Consulting solutions to assure certainty of outcome for complex capital projects worldwide. Haskell is a global, fully integrated, single-source design-build and EPC firm with over 1,800 highly specialized, in-house design, construction and administrative professionals across industrial and commercial markets. With 20+ office locations around the globe, Haskell is a trusted partner for global and emerging clients.

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