Sheet metal detailer wins top honors at national competition

May 9, 2011

Randy Girard of Wisconsin has won the International Training Institute's International Sheet Metal Competition.

This year ITI, an organization for the sheet metal and air-conditioning industry, opened up a new detailing category in its annual competition, which usually is open only to apprentices, and allowed journeymen to enter. All other competition categories remained open to apprentices only.

The competition, which brought more than 275 competitors from throughout the U.S. and Canada to Las Vegas March 6-10, took place over the course of two days. The top 12 detailers in the U.S. traveled to the contest to compete for the top prize: a new Dodge truck.

On the job, detailers use building information modeling (BIM) software to produce detailed 2-D and 3-D drawings of the major systems that make buildings comfortable and safe. The first project at the contest, a typical two-day draw in the real world, was expected in six hours. The second day's project, which was equivalent to a three-day draw on the job, also was expected in six hours.

Detailers typically are behind the scenes, serving as support staff for their co-workers in the field and in the shop, Girard said. To receive this sort of recognition for his corner of the industry surprised yet thrilled him.

"A competition like this really brings to light what we’re doing and shows everyone this is a huge part of our industry and will be a huge part of the future," Girard said.

Through ITI, sheet metal workers in good standing can train on Benchmark BIM software, and once they are certified, they can take the software back to their jobs. Because the software is linked to the detailer, it also allows the detailer to stand out when looking for work, the institute says.

ITI, located in Alexandria, Va., is sponsored jointly by the Sheet Metal Workers International Association (SMWIA) and the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors' National Association (SMACNA). ITI offers apprenticeship and advanced career training for union workers in the sheet metal industry throughout the U.S. and Canada. It produces a standardized sheet metal curriculum supported by a variety of training materials free of charge to sheet metal apprentices and journeymen.