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Ironworker (Generalist)

Ironworkers (generalists) work with both structural/ornamental and reinforcing steel materials. They install structural/ornamental steel components, precast concrete members and glued laminated timber products (glulam) and place reinforcing steel in commercial, industrial, institutional and large residential buildings, towers, bridges and stadiums. They erect pre-engineered buildings and ornamental ironwork such as curtain walls, metal stairways, catwalks, railings and metal doors.

Ironworkers (generalists) cut, bend, lay out and place reinforcing steel rods, welded wire fabric and composite materials in a wide variety of poured concrete products and structures such as buildings, highways, bridges, stadiums and towers. While reinforcing material is usually pre-cut and fabricated offsite, ironworkers (generalists) may be called upon to cut and bend them according to design specifications and drawings. They may pre-assemble reinforcing material by laying it out and connecting subassemblies on the ground prior to final placement. They position, align and secure components according to drawings, using a variety of methods. They also place and stress various post-tensioning systems in structures such as parking garages, bridges and stadiums where longer unsupported spans are required. After placing post-tensioning systems, they stress the tendons to predetermined specifications using hydraulic jacks and pumps.

Ironworkers (generalists) prepare the site by assembling the hoisting equipment and erecting scaffolding, cranes, hoists and derricks on the construction site. They unload structural, ornamental, reinforcing materials and organize the material for installation. They connect cables and slings to the components and direct crane operators in lifts. They position, align and secure components according to blueprints using a variety of fastening methods. They also install conveyors, machinery and automated material handling systems. They are also involved in demolition and salvage duties involving all types of construction. Ironworkers (generalists) generally work outside in all weather, although some work indoors in manufacturing plants or underground work sites. Work sites may be in a variety of locations ranging from remote areas where they could be working on dams, bridges or mining projects to urban environments where they could work on high-rise buildings, parking garages, transit systems, tunnels or stadiums. The work often requires considerable standing, bending, crawling, lifting, climbing, pulling and reaching, and is often conducted in cramped, confined spaces or at heights. Hazards include injury from electrocution, falls or falling objects. Inclement weather may shut down projects for extended periods and deadlines and priorities may involve overtime.

Ironworkers (generalists) are required to have good mechanical aptitude, the ability to visualize finished products in three dimensions, the ability to maintain balance working at heights in varying extreme climates. A thorough knowledge of the principles of lifting and hoisting is required as is a familiarity with a variety of metal fastening and joining methods. They are also required to be competent in the use and care of a variety of hand and power tools and equipment such as tying tools, pry bars, jacks, torches, cutoff saws, hydraulic benders, shears, welding equipment, stressing equipment and cranes. They also use crane charts and must be able to estimate and reconcile crane ability with load sizes.

Because of the nature of the work ironworkers (generalists) must be thoroughly familiar with the applicable sections of local, provincial and federal building and safety standards.

Ironworkers (generalists) tend to work in teams and with other tradespeople and team coordination is a large component of the occupation especially when hoisting and placing large, heavy components high above the ground.
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