How do you determine a good metal fabricator from a bad one when you’re looking to get a job done? There are several areas you should explore when comparing metal fabricators, as choosing the wrong team for your project can cause delays and push you over budget.

Asking the right questions

Finding out some information upfront will help you to make the right choice. You need to know what experience the fabricator has, in terms of how long they’ve been in the business and what kind of projects they’ve worked on. If they have experience with projects similar to yours, this is a point in their favour.

You need a workforce comprised of skilled individuals, who are properly qualified for the job and who have invested in the right equipment, improving efficiency and quality throughout the fabrication process with cutting edge technology.

Preparing the metal

The quality of the surface preparation can be an indicator of the fabricator’s skills. Poor preparation can weed out the bad from the good – for example, if commercial blast cleaning has been recommended, but the fabricator has carried out only minimal surface power tool cleaning, it’s a short-cut that doesn’t bode well.

Similarly, instead of a specified anti-corrosive primer being used, the fabricator has substituted a cheaper, fast-dry primer, cutting corners to save time and money, the metal can begin to corrode almost immediately.

Faulure to meet the required specifications could mean the fabricators aren’t capable of carrying out proper abrasive blasting, or don’t stock the required primer, or both. Inspections early in the process can identify problems, nipping them in the bud.

Quality standards

Look for someone who pays attention to detail and is thorough in completing tasks – someone who’s aware of quality standards and delivers quality work that will pass any inspection. The fabricator should fully understand the metal they’re working with – different metals have different qualities, so a knowledge of which types are compatible with the required application is crucial.

For example, some fabrication jobs may require the strength and weight of steel, combined with the corrosion-resistance of aluminium. A good fabricator will understand this, always choosing the correct material for the job, to ensure greater longevity.

Making errors

Bad metal fabricators’ working practices may be described as an “accumulation of errors” – an example of this is when a fabricator uses the wrong method of cutting multiple bars of the same length. First, he measures a 12-inch section with a tape measure and marks it.

After cutting the first bar, he uses it to mark the second piece to be cut; then, he uses the second bar to mark the length of the third one and so on. At some point, he will notice that the final bar is longer than the first and will be left wondering what happened. A good fabricator will, of course, use a tape measure for each length.

The initial preparation of the project is only one aspect – metal fabricators use blueprints, raw materials and machinery to create a huge variety of items and need the technical skills to efficiently operate the machinery and finish your project. By employing the services of a skilled metal fabricator, you can save yourself time and money in the long term.