Architecture and Construction > Ironworkers > Overview
Occupation is in demand for the following regions: Northeast

Ironworkers - Overview

Structural metal workers make and install steel frameworks used in buildings and other structures. They also repair and renovate older buildings and structures.

There are several types of structural metal workers.

Structural iron and steel workers

Structural iron and steel workers work at construction sites. They construct steel columns, beams, and girders according to blueprints or instructions from supervisors. They set up the hoisting equipment used to move structural steel around the construction site. Workers usually get steel sections already cut to the proper size, with holes drilled for bolts. They unload and stack the fabricated steel so it can be hoisted easily when needed. To hoist the steel, they attach cables from a crane or derrick. One worker directs the hoist operator with hand signals. Several workers align the holes in the steel with holes in the framework. Workers bolt pieces in place temporarily, and check the alignment with levels, lasers, or plumb bobs. They then bolt or weld the pieces permanently in place.

Some structural iron and steel workers install ornamental ironwork after the building is completed. They check the fit, and then bolt, braze, or weld pieces into place.

Structural metal fabricators and fitters

Structural metal fabricators and fitters work at shops rather than at construction sites. They cut, bend, drill, bolt, and weld raw steel according to the requirements for the job. They fabricate structural steel, reinforcing rods, and ornamental ironwork. Fabricators and fitters also make tanks used to store oil or water and assemble parts for bridges and prefab metal buildings.

Reinforcing iron and rebar workers

Reinforcing iron and rebar workers set bars in forms that hold concrete. They follow blueprints showing the location, number, and size of the reinforcing bars. They fasten the bars together by tying wire around them with pliers. To reinforce floors, workers place blocks under the reinforcing bars to hold the bars off the floor. Workers may have to cut, bend, or weld the bars to fit at the site.

Source: Illinois Career Information System (CIS) brought to you by Illinois Department of Employment Security.