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Thread: Newbie Ironworker help

  1. #1
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    Newbie Ironworker help

    Hey guys, so I've been welding for about a year and a half now. I'm LA City certified for stick (currently working on fluxcored), and have other various mig and tig certs. I love what I do, and so far I seem to be pretty good at it.
    So I just got this job a couple weeks ago, working on the structural steel part of a building. Problem is, is that not only is this my first structural job, but it's my employer's first structural job too. They're a general contractor that normally bids on small commercial and residential remodels, so they seem to know even less about all this than I do. The growing pains here are insane.
    My question is, can anyone give me some tips on working these types of jobs? I seem to have skipped "apprentice" status, and I'm the only welder on the job. I don't have a welder helper, and I'm playing both lead welder and gofer roles.
    So far on this job, I've welded base plates onto square tube, to make 11 columns, and now I'm welding on the rebar. I'll be welding the buckets, studs, and connecting the rest next. Currently I'm using stick, but the inspector is pushing for me to weld wire instead (no real reason that I can think of, I'm not slow and no one is waiting on me). I'm not incredibly comfortable using fluxcore in the field like this, and the inspector has got it in his head to hold my welds to LA City code over D1.1, even though this building is not in LA. So I'm even more nervous about it.
    I know you usually weld studs with a stud welding gun, but this job isn't requiring that, just 7018. Can you weld studs with fluxcore? I feel like they'd just melt away, and if you do, I don't think that I'm capable.
    I think that they thought that I knew a lot more when they hired me, but I did tell them that this is my first structural job. Not sure what they expected, because they said I'd be fine.
    Again, I'm a TOTAL newb that's been thrown head first into the fire, so ANY information at all is greatly appreciated. Seriously, anything.

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    Re: Newbie Ironworker help

    unless there's a specific wps for this job i'm not sure it's the inspector's place to dictate welding process. i've welded studs with stick,solid wire mig and innershield but it's slow and not cost effective compared to shooting them. why are you welding re-bar and what does the inspector say about that? you didn't say how big this job was. if you're the only welder/fitter/fabricator on this project your employer may not be in the structural business too long.
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    Re: Newbie Ironworker help

    You're in over your head. Quit before it's too late, if this structure fails you most likely could be on the hook for this.

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    Re: Newbie Ironworker help

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel-B View Post
    You're in over your head. Quit before it's too late, if this structure fails you most likely could be on the hook for this.
    Does in not fall on the deputy inspector if something that he approved fails?

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    Re: Newbie Ironworker help

    Quote Originally Posted by docwelder View Post
    unless there's a specific wps for this job i'm not sure it's the inspector's place to dictate welding process. i've welded studs with stick,solid wire mig and innershield but it's slow and not cost effective compared to shooting them. why are you welding re-bar and what does the inspector say about that? you didn't say how big this job was. if you're the only welder/fitter/fabricator on this project your employer may not be in the structural business too long.
    Supposedly they hired someone to write up the wps, but I've yet to see it, and it's been 2 weeks already.
    The deputy inspector is also LA City certified, and used to be an iron worker, so I guess that's why he's pushing for fluxcore. He's not dictating the process necessarily, but he's strongly suggesting it, and because the company I'm working for is so new at this, they're just doing whatever he says. Which is smart, but I don't think they're taking into account what I'm qualified to do.
    From what I know of the D1.1, solid wire mig isn't a prequalified process, but maybe it's different for studs? I'll look it up again.
    I'm welding the rebar to the columns, to tie into the masonry wall, so I guess I don't need a rebar cert because it's not rebar to rebar. Just assuming here though, because the inspector also wants me to run fluxcore despite the fact that I'm not certified for that either.
    This building is for a retail store in a shopping mall in orange county. It's single story, and maybe about 10,000 to 15,000 sq ft. They actually hired me specifically for this job, because the only other welder they have is a self taught, backyard welder type.
    I'd be totally fine working by myself on this, if I knew more about what I was doing, and if I had all of the proper equipment.
    What tools aside from a chipping hammer, wire brush, and grinder should I have on hand?
    And should I keep the welder in the bed of a truck? Because right now it's on a ****TY harbor freight mini trailer with a flat tire that takes 3 people to move around.
    I'm just at a total loss here...

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    Re: Newbie Ironworker help

    If you’re going to follow structural welding in the state of California, or the west coast. Better learn to weld with NR-232, NR-233, and Coreshield 8.
    When we built the Pioneer Square Station of the Metro Tunnel downtown Seattle, we learned it was much faster to weld the 3/4” Nelson Studs on the soldier pile with 7018.
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    Re: Newbie Ironworker help

    im no ironworker, but im going to say that your doing great!!!

    key with construction is to not fret! you know what your doing, you know what your qualified for, and you know not to mess with the inspector.

    just remember to relay issues to your supervisor. you work for him. those inspectors work for money too, and i have seen some do some low down stuff just to get another few bucks. anything he says that sounds fishy, needs to be relayed to your super, because he will know what was submitted.

    had an inspector once that had the entire job convinced that he needed to see every fitup, every root, visual every cap, and witness pressure test. he was a busy man, racking up hours from a few different contractors calling him wanting to know how many breaths they could take in the next five minutes.

    turns out, in the submittals, he was only hired to witness a pressure test on the gas piping. . . . .how embarrassing that he was paid so much money for wasting our time. my super on that job was promptly fired for not reading the book. inspector is not running the job, your super is, and if hes not, he will is to blame if you are led in the wrong direction.

    not saying you shouldn't stay adamant in reading and learning about your trade, well beyond your official duties, as that is how you climb the ladder. im just trying to help you relax a little bit
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    Re: Newbie Ironworker help

    Quote Originally Posted by CEP View Post
    If youíre going to follow structural welding in the state of California, or the west coast. Better learn to weld with NR-232, NR-233, and Coreshield 8.
    When we built the Pioneer Square Station of the Metro Tunnel downtown Seattle, we learned it was much faster to weld the 3/4Ē Nelson Studs on the soldier pile with 7018.
    Thank you! Ya I've been welding .072 NR-232 at school, but so far it's not as easy for me to grasp, than stick, and I've heard that NR-233 is much easier to run. Not sure what Coreshield 8 is, but I assume it's the same, just another brand? They want to buy .068 NR-232, but I think I'll see if they'll splurge the little extra for NR-233. They don't have the equipment to run fluxcore yet anyway.
    I'll see if I can practice welding one of the Nelson studs today at the shop with 7018.
    I love my school, but they don't teach us these things. I only welded rebar for the first time a couple weeks ago on the job.

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    Re: Newbie Ironworker help

    Stay after to NR-232 every chance you get! NR-233 is easier. Coreshield 8 is a walk in the park compared to NR-232! All three wires are T-8. T-8 wire is required for any structural welding in a seismic area.
    Here is a good video on NR-232.
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    Re: Newbie Ironworker help

    Quote Originally Posted by 92dlxman View Post
    im no ironworker, but im going to say that your doing great!!!

    key with construction is to not fret! you know what your doing, you know what your qualified for, and you know not to mess with the inspector.

    just remember to relay issues to your supervisor. you work for him. those inspectors work for money too, and i have seen some do some low down stuff just to get another few bucks. anything he says that sounds fishy, needs to be relayed to your super, because he will know what was submitted.

    had an inspector once that had the entire job convinced that he needed to see every fitup, every root, visual every cap, and witness pressure test. he was a busy man, racking up hours from a few different contractors calling him wanting to know how many breaths they could take in the next five minutes.

    turns out, in the submittals, he was only hired to witness a pressure test on the gas piping. . . . .how embarrassing that he was paid so much money for wasting our time. my super on that job was promptly fired for not reading the book. inspector is not running the job, your super is, and if hes not, he will is to blame if you are led in the wrong direction.

    not saying you shouldn't stay adamant in reading and learning about your trade, well beyond your official duties, as that is how you climb the ladder. im just trying to help you relax a little bit
    That's funny that you say that, cause the super doesn't know anything about structural either, and after reading around on here and elsewhere on the web, it sounds like the super should know about the same as the inspector. What a ****show.
    Thanks this is my first real construction job, and seeing as how I'm the first woman they've ever hired, I've got some interesting challenges ahead, because they still don't even know how to talk to me lol
    So long as I keep my head down, all my ducks in a row, and my side of the street clean, I think I'll be ok ^_^

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    Re: Newbie Ironworker help

    Quote Originally Posted by CEP View Post
    Stay after to NR-232 every chance you get! NR-233 is easier. Coreshield 8 is a walk in the park compared to NR-232! All three wires are T-8. T-8 wire is required for any structural welding in a seismic area.
    Here is a good video on NR-232.
    Cool thanks!
    Just picked up the wire feeder and all that good stuff today, and I only picked up one spool of NR-232 just to get started, because I think I've successfully talked them into getting me NR-233 wire !

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    Re: Newbie Ironworker help

    So all of the project managers and everyone above me, have told me that I need to work harder and faster. I'm a little concerned, since I'm the welder, the fitter, the gofer, and I don't have a helper. I'm working on a single story 15,000 sq ft building. Does this sound like a job for only one welder? I feel like I shouldn't be the only one on this.

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    Re: Newbie Ironworker help

    In construction you are never fast enough. Some bosses love to scream at the employees to work faster. Sometimes the boss will fire one or two in the crew, to make the others work faster.
    Construction is a nasty business to work in!
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    Re: Newbie Ironworker help

    I've been on a few structural jobs myself. I guess you could say I know a little about Ironworker welding.
    Your company sounds like it might be setting themselves up for a bad situation. If there is a lot of structural welding to do on this job, why don't they have experienced structural welders there?
    I've never been on a structural job where we had inexperienced welders. Then again, these were union jobs with Union Ironworkers and welders.

    As CEP said, your never fast enough. That's why they want you to switch to flux cor. They want to speed up the job wherever they can. They are probably behind schedule.

    Just for reference, I'm structural certified in all positions with stick and flux cor wire. I also hold a Canadian interprovincial red seal journeyman welder certificate of qualification. I've never welded structural steel in the field with self shielded flux cor wire. It's always been duel shield wire and they had to build us tent hoardings to protect the weld procedure from wind. These were large weldments that required lots of filler metal. Otherwise, we always use 7018 stick for field welding.
    In my field, you best make every weld absolute perfection. Every weld has to pass at least a visual inspection from a certified weld inspector and possibly UT. If I have too many repairs, they simply just lay me off and it's hard to support my family when I'm not working. It's very easy to increase the welding costs of a job by having lots of repairs. All the companies I've worked for wont tolerate numerous repairs. They get rid of you.

    In your situation, you will have to do as they wish. Your learning the trade of ironworker welding the hard way by jumping in blind with no one there to help point you in the right direction.
    Last edited by snoeproe; 07-29-2016 at 10:54 PM.
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    Re: Newbie Ironworker help

    Quote Originally Posted by korismith View Post
    So all of the project managers and everyone above me, have told me that I need to work harder and faster. I'm a little concerned, since I'm the welder, the fitter, the gofer, and I don't have a helper. I'm working on a single story 15,000 sq ft building. Does this sound like a job for only one welder? I feel like I shouldn't be the only one on this.
    dont let them get to you, if end up getting fired, so be it. your next job will be with a company that knows how to use you correctly.

    like i said, relax! i cared SOOOOO much about my job for the first 6 years, always stressed, always trying to do my best hoping for a raise.

    then they pissed me off, and since then i have not given a sh**, and you know what, the whole world turns smoother that way. i get more time to think of material orders, my installations look better (cause im not worried about time/ money), and jobs always come in well under bid! its a beautiful thing when you can just relax and just go with the flow
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    Re: Newbie Ironworker help

    Quote Originally Posted by korismith View Post
    So all of the project managers and everyone above me, have told me that I need to work harder and faster. I'm a little concerned, since I'm the welder, the fitter, the gofer, and I don't have a helper. I'm working on a single story 15,000 sq ft building. Does this sound like a job for only one welder? I feel like I shouldn't be the only one on this.
    These types of buildings don't necessarily have a large amount of welding involved to put them up. Truss/joist buildings are mostly bolt up with some welding involved. These buildings go up rather quickly if you have a good crew of workers. Is the Forman experienced in erecting structural steel?
    Last edited by snoeproe; 07-29-2016 at 10:52 PM.
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    Newbie Ironworker help

    And just a little more advice. All the big structural jobs I've been on, I've never seen one that went smooth as silk. Not every bolt is going to fit. Don't sweat it.
    Jason
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    Re: Newbie Ironworker help

    Quote Originally Posted by korismith View Post
    Does in not fall on the deputy inspector if something that he approved fails?
    it falls on the inspector IF he ignored the engineers drawings, notes, or contract documents.

    The Engineer on the job, has ultimate say.

    Yes, D1.1 7.5.5 allows for welding studs with SMAW, FCAW, and GMAW (Not GMAW-S ... or short circuit GMAW)
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    Re: Newbie Ironworker help

    It took me a minute to realize it, (remember, TOTAL newb here lol) but they most definitely hired me to cut corners and costs. Especially because they don't really have a definitive plan for the order in which this building is going up, so to avoid having to sub out the work, and have the structural crew come back additional times because something isn't completely ready for them. For instance, I maybe have only half of the rebar needed for this job on the jobsite right now. Also it explains why they aren't happy with me not getting an *** ton of work done when I was up there last, because now it's probably getting to the point where it would've been cheaper for them to sub it out. I'm definitely not in the best position to get this done all by myself. I'm a little over 120lbs soaking wet, and a quarter of that sits in my ****, yet they've provided me with this POS cart for the welder, and other ****, that takes 3 guys to move. I've told all 4 of my superiors that something needs to be done about it, because after I'm done welding everything my leads can reach, I shouldn't have to wait around for someone to help me move it. If nothing changes, I have no problem stripping that cart down to nothing but the welder, and leaving everything I don't need, right in the middle of the jobsite. All the other workers on the job come with they're crews, and get **** done, and every single one that brave enough to talk to me, is totally surprised that I'm out there with no help.
    ****, I have to be careful about what I say on here, because I know one of my bosses is doing all the web research he can on welding, and it wouldn't surprise me if he found my thread lol, cause my dumbass used my real name on here -_-
    Luckily the inspector is friends with the owner, so I'm able to pick his brain for info. Even though I had to fight to get the "go ahead" to call him directly if I had questions. My boss wanted me to write down questions so HE could call the inspector and ask him. I'm not about to play telephone here though, when it's not their cert card, it's mine.
    I definitely hit that point of not stressing about things though, and it helps. The big bosses sat me down and told me about their concerns (that talk you get before the next step is to fire you, if you're lucky enough to get that talk). While most of what they said was totally valid, quite a few things weren't, and it was just enough for me to quit stressing about my performance on this particular jobsite. I know what I'm certified for, and I know what I'm qualified for, and I'm going to do what it takes to protect MYSELF on this job. Especially if they want me working all by myself.

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    Re: Newbie Ironworker help

    korismith you are a better person than Ií am. I never minded working hard. But working for stupid people I could never handle. I suggest you keep your eyes open for another job / company to work for!
    I quit 13 jobs one year. 3 in one week. That is the beauty of construction, jobs come and go. I use to quit a job, and get another one on the way home. Until I brought a pay check home on Friday night, my wife had no idea who I was working for.
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    Re: Newbie Ironworker help

    kori; the lack of proper equipment and personnel isn't your problem. with all the bs going on at this project i bet the company is still making money on you. just get all the experience you can and do your best. give them 8 hours work for 8 hours pay and sleep well at night.
    i.u.o.e. # 15
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    Re: Newbie Ironworker help

    Quote Originally Posted by CEP View Post
    korismith you are a better person than I’ am. I never minded working hard. But working for stupid people I could never handle. I suggest you keep your eyes open for another job / company to work for!
    I quit 13 jobs one year. 3 in one week. That is the beauty of construction, jobs come and go. I use to quit a job, and get another one on the way home. Until I brought a pay check home on Friday night, my wife had no idea who I was working for.

    I have that same problem.


    Kori,
    It seems like your company is underqualified, understaffed, and completely mis-managed. I think you should go find a real job, with a real company (none of that is directed at you ... you current company sounds like complete crap).

    Dont feel bad about leaving, they wont feel bad about firing you. Find a better job and pack your gear .... That my plan in the next few weeks, too.
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    Newbie Ironworker help

    I think docwelder gave some good advice. This company is new to structural work and Kori is new to structural welding.
    Kori has a chance to learn a lot on this particular job. As does this company. This seems like a golden opportunity to gain valuable structural welding experience and that is extremely valuable down the road.
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    Re: Newbie Ironworker help

    I definitely wouldn't call them stupid. Maybe communication could be better, and that's another monster entirely. This is actually an opportunity that most kids in my area don't get a chance at, so I'm definitely planning to ride it until the wheels fall off. From a business standpoint, it was actually really smart to hire me, because like CEP said, I think a more experienced structural welder probably would've walked off the job a while ago, and any other experienced combo welder probably wouldn't even get out of bed for less than 3x what I make. Resigning this job to purely a learning experience makes my life a little easier. I've always been someone who was extremely dedicated to the company that I worked for, but I'm learning very quickly that construction doesn't really work that way lol

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    Re: Newbie Ironworker help

    kori I think you have a great attitude! Learn all you can from everybody you work with. Even other trades.
    I only have a high school education, I worked my way up to be a project superintendent for this outfit.
    http://www.generalconstructionco.com/
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