Steel Erection » Inspection Guide

Inspector reviewing paperwork on-site

This section provides a summary of standards that address activities requiring approval or inspection by a responsible person, i.e., employer, controlling contractor, engineer of record, qualified rigger, qualified person, competent person, or crane operator.

Controlling Contractor

Approval to Begin Steel Erection:

Before authorizing the commencement of steel erection, the controlling contractor must provide written notification to the steel erector ensuring that [29 CFR 1926.752(a)]:

  • Concrete in footings, piers, and walls has been cured to a level that will provide adequate strength to support any forces imposed during steel erection. [29 CFR 1926.752(a)(1)]
  • Anchor bolt repairs, replacements and modifications were done with the approval of the project Structural Engineer of Record (SER). [29 CFR 1926.752(a)(2) and 29 CFR 1926.755(b)(1)]

Site Layout:

The controlling contractor must ensure that the following is provided and maintained [29 CFR 1926.752(c)]:

  • Adequate access roads into and through the site for the safe delivery and movement of:
  • Means and methods for pedestrian and vehicular control. [29 CFR 1926.752(c)(1)]
    • EXCEPTION: This requirement does not apply to roads outside of the construction site.
  • Adequate space for the safe storage of materials and the safe operation of the erector's equipment. This space must be:

Column Anchorage:

Before the erection of a column, the controlling contractor must provide written notification to the steel erector if there has been any repair, replacement, or modification of the anchor rods (anchor bolts) of that column. [29 CFR 1926.755(b)(2)]

(Non-hoist) Falling Object Protection:

The controlling contractor must bar other construction processes below steel erection unless overhead protection for the employees below is provided. [29 CFR 1926.759(b)]

For additional information, see reference to suspended loads.

Fall Protection:

Fall protection provided by the steel erector shall remain in the area where steel erection activity has been completed, to be used by other trades, only if the controlling contractor or its authorized representative [29 CFR 1926.760(e)]:

  • Has directed the steel erector to leave the fall protection in place. [29 CFR 1926.760(e)(1)]
  • And has inspected and accepted control and responsibility of the fall protection before authorizing persons other than steel erectors to work in the area. [29 CFR 1926.760(e)(2)]

Site-specific Erection Plan:

Employers may elect, because of conditions specific to the worksite, to develop alternate means of providing for employee protection. If a site-specific erection plan is used, it must:

  • Be developed by a qualified person.
  • And be available at the worksite. [29 CFR 1926.752(e)]

A site-specific erection plan may be developed during one or more pre-construction conferences and site inspections involving the erector, the controlling contractor, and others, such as the project engineer and the fabricator. If a site-specific erection plan is developed, the following elements are to be considered [Non-mandatory Appendix A]:

  • The sequence of erection activity, developed in coordination with the controlling contractor, including the following:
    • Material deliveries
    • Material staging and storage
    • Coordination with other trades and construction activities
  • A description of the crane and derrick selection and placement procedures, including the following:
    • Site preparation
    • Path for overhead loads
    • Critical lifts, including rigging supplies and equipment
  • A description of steel erection activities and procedures, including the following:
    • Stability considerations requiring temporary bracing and guying
    • Erection bridging terminus point
    • Notifications regarding repair, replacement and modifications of anchor rods (anchor bolts)
    • Columns and beams (including joists and purlins)
    • Connections
    • Decking
    • Ornamental and miscellaneous iron
  • A description of the fall protection procedures that will be used.
  • A description of the procedures that will be used to prevent falling object hazards.
  • A description of the special procedures required for hazardous non-routine tasks.
  • A certification for each employee who has received training for performing steel erection operations as required.
  • A list of the qualified and competent persons.
  • A description of the procedures that will be used in the event of rescue or emergency response.

In addition, the plan should include identification of the site and project and be signed and dated by the qualified person(s) responsible for its preparation and modification.

Cranes and Rigging

Crane operators must be responsible for operations under their direct control. Whenever there is any doubt as to safety, the operator must have the authority to [29 CFR 1926.753(c)(1)(iv)]:

  • Stop all hoisting activities.
  • Refuse to handle loads until safety has been assured.

Safety latches on hooks must not be deactivated or made inoperable, except [29 CFR 1926.753(c)(5)]:

  • When a qualified rigger has determined that the hoisting and placing of purlins and single joists can be performed more safely by doing so. [29 CFR 1926.753(c)(5)(i)]
  • When equivalent protection is provided in a site-specific erection plan. [29 CFR 1926.753(c)(5)(ii)]

Prior to each shift, cranes being used in steel erection activities must be visually inspected by a competent person. The inspection must include observation for deficiencies during operation, including, at a minimum [29 CFR 1926.753(c)(1)(i)]:

If any deficiency is identified, an immediate determination must be made by the competent person as to whether the deficiency constitutes a hazard. [29 CFR 1926.753(c)(1)(ii)]

  • If the deficiency is determined to constitute a hazard, the hoisting equipment must be removed from service until the deficiency has been corrected. [29 CFR 1926.753(c)(1)(iii)]
  • A qualified rigger (a rigger who is also a qualified person) must inspect the rigging before each shift. [29 CFR 1926.753(c)(2)]

All hoisting operations in steel erection must be pre-planned to ensure that where employees must work under the load, the materials being hoisted are rigged by a qualified rigger. [29 CFR 1926.753(d)(2)(iii)]

When employees work under suspended loads, all loads must be rigged by a qualified rigger. [29 CFR 1926.753(d)(2)(iii)]

Multiple-lift rigging assembly capacity must be certified by the manufacturer or a qualified rigger. [29 CFR 1926.753(e)(2)]

Metal Buildings

Purlins and girts are prohibited from being used as an anchorage point for a fall arrest system, unless written approval is obtained from a qualified person. [29 CFR 1926.758(g)]

Structural Steel Assembly

Plumbing Up:

  • Plumbing-up equipment must be installed during the steel erection process, when deemed necessary by a competent person to ensure the stability of the structure. [29 CFR 1926.754(d)(1)]
  • When plumbing-up equipment is used, it must be in place and properly installed before the structure is loaded with construction material such as loads of joists, bundles of decking or bundles of bridging. [29 CFR 1926.754(d)(2)]
  • Plumbing-up equipment may be removed only with the approval of a competent person. [29 CFR 1926.754(d)(3)]


All columns must be evaluated by a competent person to determine whether guying or bracing is needed; if needed, it must be installed. [29 CFR 1926.755(a)(4)]

Anchor Rods (Anchor Bolts):

  • Approval by the project structural engineer of record is required before anchor rods (anchor bolts) can be [29 CFR 1926.755(b)(1)]:
    • Repaired
    • Replaced
    • Field-modified
  • Before the erection of a column, the controlling contractor must provide written notification to the steel erector if there has been any [29 CFR 1926.755(b)(2)]:
    • Repair
    • Replacement
    • Modification of the anchor rods (anchor bolts) of that column

Beams and Columns:

  • During the final placing of solid web structural members, the load must not be released from the hoisting line until [29 CFR 1926.756(a)(1)]:
    • The members are secured with at least two bolts per connection, of the same size and strength as shown in the erection drawings.
    • These bolts are drawn up wrench-tight.
    • The equivalent, as specified by the project structural engineer of record.
  • A competent person must determine if more than two bolts are necessary to ensure the stability of cantilevered members. If additional bolts are needed, they must be installed. [29 CFR 1926.756(a)(2)]

Diagonal Bracing:

Solid web structural members used as diagonal bracing must be secured by [29 CFR 1926.756(b)]:

  • At least one bolt per connection drawn up wrench-tight.
  • The equivalent, as specified by the project structural engineer of record.
Open Web Steel Joists

Where constructability does not allow a steel joist to be installed at the column:

Any modification that affects the strength of a steel joist or steel-joist girder must be made with the approval of the project structural engineer of record. [29 CFR 1926.757(a)(7)]

Steel joists and steel-joist girders must not be used as anchorage points for a fall-arrest system unless written approval to do so is obtained from a qualified person. [29 CFR 1926.757(a)(9)]

When bolted diagonal erection bridging is required, the following will apply:

Landing and Placing Loads

During the construction period, the employer placing a load on steel joists must ensure that the load is distributed so as not to exceed the carrying capacity of any steel joist. [29 CFR 1926.757(e)(1)] No bundle of decking may be placed on steel joists until [29 CFR 1926.757(e)(4)]:

  • All bridging has been installed and anchored.
  • All joist bearing ends are attached.
  • All of the following conditions are met:

Fall Hazards:

  • Employee training must be provided by a qualified person. [29 CFR 1926.761(a)]
  • All employees exposed to fall hazards must be trained and instructed in the following areas [29 CFR 1926.761(b)]:
    • The recognition and identification of fall hazards in the work area. [29 CFR 1926.761(b)(1)]
    • The use and operation of protective systems such as guardrail systems, personal fall-arrest systems, positioning- device systems, fall-restraint systems, safety net systems, and other protection to be used. [29 CFR 1926.761(b)(2)]
    • The correct procedures for erecting, maintaining, disassembling, and inspecting the fall protection systems to be used. [29 CFR 1926.761(b)(3)]
    • Procedures for protection from falls to lower levels and into holes and openings in walking/working surfaces and walls. [29 CFR 1926.761(b)(4)]
    • All the fall protection requirements of this subpart. [29 CFR 1926.761(b)(5)]

Special Training:

The employer must also provide special training to employees involved in the following activities:

  • Multiple-lift rigging operations, including [29 CFR 1926.753(e)(1)(iv)]:
    • Multiple lift hazards
    • Proper procedures and equipment required to perform multiple lifts. [29 CFR 1926.753(e)]
  • Connecting, including [29 CFR 1926.761(c)(2)]:
    • Connecting hazards
    • The establishment, access, proper connecting techniques, and required work practices.
  • Work in Controlled Decking Zones, including [29 CFR 1926.760(c)(4)]:
    • Hazards of working in a Controlled Decking Zone.
    • The establishment, access, proper installation techniques, and required work practices.