5 Basics for Choosing a Metal Fabricator

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Choosing the right metal fabricator for a project of any size is the first and most crucial step. The metal fabricator you choose is going to be a partner with you throughout the project, from start to finish, so you need to find one you can trust and communicate with openly and easily.

There is no single set of criteria that absolutely will guarantee the best results, but there are five fundamental qualifications you should evaluate carefully.

  1. Metal Fabricators’ Experience

Experience is the No. 1 qualification for trust and confidence in results. It demonstrates a track record and hard-won success. A metal fabricator with experience with your type of project can help you avoid “gotchas” and mistakes that cost time and money — sometimes lots of both. You will benefit from an experienced metal fabricator who:

  • Knows the relevant codes, industry standards and regulations
  • Knows the most efficient and cost-effective methods
  • Has know-how that comes from doing similar work
  • Can supply references and testimonials
  1. Metal Fabrication Capabilities

A metal fabricator doesn’t have to be the “biggest and the best” to successfully complete a project, but it does have to have the capabilities to meet the specific challenges of your project. There are several important areas to evaluate:

Design Capabilities

  • Can work from any drawing, whether electronic or hard-copy
  • Can translate drawings to shop drawings
  • Can design a project from the ground up if necessary

Materials Capabilities

  • Can work with a sufficient range of metals
  • Can work with a sufficient range of sizes and thicknesses

Production Capabilities

Production covers a broad scope of capabilities that vary greatly by project, from small parts or delicate decorative metal to structural steel beams that literally weigh tons. When qualifying a metal fabricator, make sure to inquire about the needs of your specific job in these fundamental areas:

  • Cutting and metal-forming
  • Assembly, welding and fastening
  • Assemble-to-fullest-extent capabilities for large units
  • Fab-and-install capabilities
  • Metal finishing, such as blasting or painting
  • One-off or large-run capabilities
![Southern Metal Fabricators Assembled Platforms](../../../uploads/2013/06/Assembled-Platforms.jpg "Southern Metal Fabricators Assembled Platforms")Assemble-to-fullest extent capabilities and finishing services can make a big difference when choosing a custom metal fabricator. Southern Metal Fabricators
### Facility Capabilities

A surprising number of problems can crop up when a project goes from theory to metal actually moving through a facility. Ensure that your fabricator can meet the demands of your order with adequate production space and systems. The fabricator must also have adequate facilities for receiving the materials for the job, and for packing and shipping the final products.

[![Southern Metal Fabricators 50,000-square-foot high-bay facility in Alabama](../../../uploads/2013/06/Southern-Metal-Fabricators-Facility.jpg "50,000-square-foot high-bay facility in Alabama")](https://www.southernmetalfab.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Southern-Metal-Fabricators-Facility.jpg)Make sure your custom metal fabricator has adequate facilities to handle your job. Southern Metal Fabricators has a 50,000-square-foot high-bay facility and six acres of laydown yard.

3. Product Quality and Consistency for Precision Metal Fabrication

Even if two fabricators have similar levels of experience and the same basic capabilities, there is something to be said about the level of pride each takes in their work and their reputation for reliability. Put these fundamentals on your checklist:

  • Translates experience and capabilities into quality products
  • Maintains in-plant inspections and QC monitoring of all production
  • Provides in-plant test assemblies for fitting prior to field installation
  • Meets client QC standards
  • Works side-by-side with client QC personnel
  1. Customer Service for Custom Metal Fabrication

When your project is in the pipeline, you don’t want to be guessing about it. You want to be informed and fully in touch with your project partner. A good fabricator will provide:

  • Full-service project management
  • Project timelines and deadline targets
  • Design-to-delivery live communication with client
  • Fast response to questions and concerns
  • Troubleshooting and problem solving
  • Project contingency coordination with client
  1. Competitive Pricing

Prices vary between providers, and it’s in your best interest to shop around. The best metal fabricator for your job won’t necessarily have the lowest price, so price must be weighed against the four other fundamental factors. But there are some points you should look for when it comes to competitive pricing. Check to see if your prospective fabricator:

  • Knows and works within realistic industry pricing standards
  • Has materials purchasing power
  • Works with client budgets to solve production challenges
  • Proposes the most cost-effective method for any project of any size
  • Controls shipping costs for efficiency and cost effectiveness

At Southern Metal Fabricators, we don’t pretend to be all things to all people, but we strive constantly to excel at the things we do. We have over 20 years of experience in delivering high-quality metal products, on time and on budget, so we know the ropes when it comes to almost any type of metal fabrication imaginable.

Learn more about out metal fabrication capabilities and take an in-depth look at our facilities and equipment. With six acres of laydown yard, 50,000 square feet of high-bay building, and overhead cranes to 35 tons that have 25’ under the hook, we can move even the biggest and toughest jobs through fast and efficiently.

If we’re not right for a particular project, we’ll tell you up front so we don’t waste your time, but we love nothing better than to be able to say: “Yes, we can do that.” Call us at 1-800-989-1330, and let us put our experience to work for you.