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

William Rushing, ACI’s current president, unveiled ACI 318-14 “Building Code Requirements for Structural Concrete” to the Institute members at the Opening Session. This code was completely overhauled. The committee responsible for the new document completely reorganized for the code greater ease of use.

This was a herculean effort. According to Rushing, the work on the document required 96,000 hours of volunteer time. This amount of time equates to about 46 years. And if you tried to value the effort, Rushing estimates it would be about $14 million of professional fees.

This new code may not seem too exciting to too many producers. But there is an important element to the effort. This new version of the code will help our industry grow. Many design engineers have found the past version difficult to use. So much so, that they often select steel frame concrete rather than concrete. To help the entire construction process, the new code format is designed better communication among designers, engineers, contractors, and construction professionals. And to 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 their efforts by focusing on the code’s primary customer, the structural engineer. The authors began by revised the code’s layout. The codes 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. They have dedicated a chapter on construction requirements, along with new chapters on structural systems and diaphragms.

President Rushing also stressed a key aspect of the new code document. Special care was 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,” said Rushing,

318-14 is now available in digital format plus the traditional printed copy. It can be purchased at Plans are for the code to be translated into in Spanish, Chinese, and other languages.