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The Reorganized

ACI 318 Code

Building consensus on a member-based format

by Charles W. Dolan and Randall W. Poston

I n an earlier article,1 we presented

the case for revising ACI 318,
“Building Code Requirements for
■■ The revised Code should be easier
to navigate than the existing
document, minimizing the possibility
decision, a task group developed
detailed goals for the new Code,
Structural Concrete and Commentary,” that a user would inadvertently ■■ Eliminate or reduce duplication;
(hereinafter referred to as “the omit a Code provision. ■■ Establish a structure that allows a
Code”). The steps defining the The emphasis of the Code has user to follow the provisions
decision to continue reorganizing are always been, and will continue to be, within a chapter covering a
not repeated here; rather, the next on minimum requirements for life specific member type (for example,
phase in developing a reorganized safety. While engineering practice beam, column, or slab) and be
Code is reported. has resulted in the Code becoming assured that all provisions for that
As restructuring of the Code has increasingly complex through the member are satisfied;
been deliberated, the committee has years, many users are familiar with ■■ Establish a hierarchy of methods,
maintained its perspective by its content and flow. So, as part of with the simplest followed by
acknowledging indelible factors, the reorganization, the committee more complex alternatives;
including: has also recognized that there should ■■ Use figures and tables to clarify
■■ The current Code structure is well be a map that allows the user to provisions;
known within the concrete move between the existing and ■■ Focus on performance require-
industry, so a major revision will revised formats. ments where possible, with
significantly impact Code users; prescriptive requirements provided
■■ Code users comprise designers, Code Development as “deemed to satisfy” options;
building officials, academics, and Principles ■■ Improve the clarity of structural
contractors; and each group has a As discussed in the previous integrity provisions; and
unique perspective on Code article, a member-based format was ■■ Retain the current side-by-side
application; and selected in February 2007. After that Code and Commentary format.

Concrete international / October 2010 37

A member-based design format eventually be incorporated into the presented to the full committee,
includes, in a single location, key member chapters, the task group discussed in subcommittee meetings,
aspects for the design of a specific expressed concern that users had debated in the full committee
member type (for example, beams). not had sufficient exposure to these meeting, and overwhelmingly
Thus, strength, structural integrity, provisions to allow them to be approved in principle.
serviceability, maximum and minimum integrated into the member-based
reinforcement requirements, and format at this time. Development of the first draft
specific reinforcement details are ACI 318 Chair Poston established a
combined in a logical sequence. Detailed Outline steering committee comprised of all
Because the earthquake provisions Revision of the Code is an enormous incoming subcommittee Chairs as
had just been updated in the 2008 task for a committee comprised of well as ACI 318 Subcommittee R,
version of the Code, the task group volunteers. The ACI Board of Direction Code Reorganization, to address the
recommended that they remain in a supported the reorganization by proposed changes. ACI staff was
separate, consolidated chapter for allocating resources to the ACI directed to develop draft chapters
the present. Although they may engineering staff and a consulting for several representative member
team to prepare a detailed outline types. These chapters were reviewed
and draft chapters. The consulting several times by the steering committee.
Administrative Information team consisted of two ACI members The first draft of the 2014 Code
1-General Requirements who had served on ACI Committee was completed in January 2009 and
2-Notation & Terminology 318 for a number of years. reviewed by the steering committee.
3-Referenced Standards One draft chapter was prepared to Their comments were incorporated
Global Requirements assess the reorganization complexity. into a second draft that was submitted
4-Structural Systems This exercise identified several major to the full committee at the spring
5-Materials issues needing further development. 2009 meeting in San Antonio, TX.
6-Loads First, some current Code sections The first task of ACI Committee
7-Structural Analysis needed to be distributed among 318 is to validate the revision of the
multiple member types. Second, 2008 Code into the 2014 format. This
Design Toolboxes
8-Strength some topics were found to have no activity resulted in nearly 100
9-Serviceability Code provisions. Third, a number subcommittee ballots in 2009. The
of current provisions had no subcommittees also addressed new
Member & System Design corresponding locations in the new language and sections developed to
10-One-Way Slabs format. Fourth, there was considerable fill in some of the gaps identified in
11-Two-Way Slabs
repetition of some requirements. the draft outlines. For example, a
The detailed outline was reviewed new chapter, Structural Systems,
14-Walls by a group comprising the subcom- was developed by Subcommittee H.
15-Foundations mittee Chairs of ACI Committee 318. Figure 1 provides a block diagram of
16-Joints and Connections To reduce duplication, this group the revised Code and chapter numbers.
17-Discontinuity Regions suggested developing “toolboxes” for The revised Code format allows a
18-Anchorage to Concrete flexural, axial, shear, and torsional user to refer to a chapter for design
19-Earthquake-Resistant Structures design requirements common to all and detailing requirements for a
Reinforcement Toolbox member types as well as a “toolbox” member, not just a member section.
20-Reinforcment Details for standard reinforcement details The toolbox sections contain most of
(Fig. 1). This structure allowed each the behavior material from the earlier
Materials and Construction member chapter to refer to the Codes and are cross referenced in
21-Reinforcement Materials appropriate toolbox chapter to each member chapter. Thus, provisions
22-Concrete Materials
reduce duplication. appear only once, and the cross-
24-Construction Requirements referencing assures that each critical
before the full committee provision is clearly identified.
Specialty Items The ACI 318 Building Code Similarly, the reinforcement detailing
25-Strength Evaluation committee is empanelled for a 6-year chapter contains the general
26-Thin Shells period. An updated outline was requirements for detailing. Specific
27 Structural Plain Concrete
circulated to the ACI 318-14 member- member detailing requirements
Fig. 1: Block diagram of the revised ACI ship at the Spring 2008 Convention appear in the member chapter or are
318 Code structure in Los Angeles, CA. The outline was referenced in the member chapters if

38 October 2010 / Concrete international

the details are part of a larger group the activity level within Committee
of common information. While the 318 remains quite intense.
Code addresses each member, it was
developed with the understanding Reference
that some users will have truly 1. Poston, R.W., and Dolan, C.W.,
unique design conditions. The “Reorganizing ACI 318,” Concrete International ,
expectation is that the users will find V. 30, No. 7, July 2008, pp. 57-61.
sufficient guidance to proceed
without undue restraint. Selected for reader interest by the editors.

Concurrent activities
During much of this work, ACI
Committee 318 had two major
concurrent tasks. In addition to the
future reorganization, the committee Charles W. Dolan ,
reviewed recommended changes for FACI, is the H.T.
the 2011 Building Code. Changes to Person Professor
the 2011 Building Code were approved in the Civil and
by the committee in June 2010, so Architectural
most of the committee’s focus is now Engineering
directed toward the reorganized Department at the
version of the Code. University of
The urgency of these activities Wyoming. He is a
significantly increased with the recent member of the ACI Technology Transfer
announcement by the International Advisory Group and ACI Committees 301,
Code Council that all the materials Specifications for Concrete; 318, Structural
Codes that are to be included by Concrete Building Code; 365, Service Life
reference in the International Building Prediction; 440, Fiber Reinforced Polymer
Code must be available to the public Reinforcement; S803-01, Faculty Network
in 2013. This announcement effectively Coordinating Committee; and Joint ACI-ASCE
compressed the reorganization Committee 423, Prestressed Concrete.
schedule for ACI 318 by 1 year, so the
new format will be the 2013 Code. Randall W. Poston ,
As of August 2010, more than half FACI, is a Principal
of the chapters of the 2013 Code have of WDP & Associates,
been balloted by the full committee. PC, Austin, TX. He
While a number of negative ballot is Chair of ACI
items remain unresolved, the process Committee 318,
is well underway. As sections are Structural Concrete
accepted by the committee, they are Building Code. He is
incorporated into the 2013 Code a former member of
draft. Gaps identified in this process, the ACI Board of Direction and the
as well as those chapters that are not Technical Activities Committee (TAC)
fully accepted, will become the work and Past Chair of the TAC Repair and
of the committee between now and Rehabilitation Committee. He is a member
2012. As sections are being approved, of the Board Advisory Committee on ISO
the corresponding commentary is TC-71 and ACI Committees 222, Corrosion
being prepared in the current of Metals in Concrete; 224, Cracking
side-by-side format. (of which he is a Past Chair); 228,
The committee recognizes that a Nondestructive Testing of Concrete; and
complete document must be ready 562, Evaluation, Repair, and Rehabilitation
for public comment by early 2013. If of Concrete Buildings. He received his
gaps are found in the Code structure, engineering degrees from the University of
changes cannot be postponed. Thus, Texas at Austin.

Concrete international / OCTOBER 2010 39