For the last few years, maybe even decades, the concrete industry’s high-energy attention has been focused on developing new specialty concretes, such as roller-compacted concrete and self-consolidating concrete. But at ACI’s Fall Convention, there was a new focus. Good ol’ reinforced concrete was the center of attention.

ACI President William Rushing unveiled ACI 318-14, Building Code Requirements for Structural Concrete, at the opening session. This code was overhauled, as the committee responsible for the new document completely reorganized the code for greater ease of use.

This was a Herculean effort. The work on the document required 96,000 hours of volunteer time, equal to about 46 years. And if you tried to attach a price tag, Rushing estimates it would cost about $14 million in professional fees.

This new code may not excite many producers, but there is an important element to the effort. This new version will help our industry grow. Many design engineers found the past version difficult to use, so much so, that they often select steel framing rather than concrete. To help the entire construction process, the new code format is designed for better communication among designers, engineers, contractors, and other construction professionals. And to better position reinforced concrete’s future, the code is formatted to be much easier for students and new engineers to learn and apply.

The committee targeted its efforts by focusing on the code’s primary customer: the structural engineer. The authors began by revising the code’s layout. The chapters and sections parallel the design process. The code’s structure now follows a hierarchy of methods, with simplest followed by more complex alternatives. The final product is a document that has a logical flow of chapters, enabling engineers to find the information they need more quickly and more comprehensively.

The document also has more tables and charts. Each chapter has a consistent structure for presenting its information. One chapter is dedicated to construction requirements, along with new chapters on structural systems and diagrams.

Rushing noted that special care was taken to create a format that will allow the committee to accommodate new topics. “We have a document that will help reinforced concrete construction well into the future, meeting the needs of users in the modern design and construction environment,” he said.

ACI 318-14 is now available in digital format, in addition to the traditional printed copy. It can be purchased at There are plans for it to be translated into in Spanish, Chinese, and other languages.