ANSI/AISC 303-16 — the 2016 AISC Code of Standard Practice for Steel Buildings and Bridges — is now available as a free PDF download at
“The most fundamental change is that the Code is now an ANSI-approved consensus document,” commented Charles J. Carter, AISC’s incoming president. “The composition of the Committee that developed it has equal representation from industry, design professionals, and general interest members. This includes structural engineers, architects, a building official, a general contractor, fabricators, detailers, erectors, inspectors, and an attorney.”
“The Code defines the statement of custom and usage for fabricated structural steel,” said Code Committee Chair Babette C. Freund, President of Universal Steel of North Carolina and Chair of the AISC Committee on the Code of Standard Practice. “This is important to all – you don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time you have a new project.”
Also important to note is that portions of the Code have been incorporated by reference into the International Building Code. The IBC references ANSI/AISC 360 (the AISC Specification) and ANSI/AISC 341 (the AISC Seismic Provisions), and these documents both reference parts of the Code. A complete list of these parts is provided at
Beyond the basic change of making the Code a consensus document, the following modifications have been made in the 2016 revision of the Code:
- The Code now addresses contracts that utilize drawings, models, or drawings and models in combination.
- Section 1.4 addresses responsibility for identifying contract documents; subsequent sections have been renumbered.
- Section 1.10 has increased emphasis that the absence of a tolerance in this Code does not mean that tolerance is zero.
- Section 1.11 addresses marking requirements for protected zones in frames designed to meet the requirements of ANSI/AISC 341.
- In Section 3.1, two items are added to the list of required information: preset requirements for free ends of cantilevered members and the drawing information required in ANSI/AISC 341.
- Section 3.1 better addresses what is required for bidding when the owner’s designated representative for design delegates the determination and design of member reinforcement at connections to the licensed engineer in responsible charge of the connection design.
- Section 3.2 addresses revisions, if they are necessary, when referenced contract documents are not available at the time of design, bidding, detailing or fabrication.
- Section 3.3 has added emphasis that the fabricator need not discover design discrepancies.
- Sections 3.7 and 4.2.2 address intellectual property rights of the owner’s designated representative for design and the fabricator, respectively.
- Section 4.4 has been clarified to better reflect the role of the connection design criteria required in Section 3.1.1 when connection design work is delegated.
- Commentary to Section 4.5 addresses potential pitfalls when fabrication and erection documents are not furnished by the fabricator.
- In Section 6.1.1, the listed shop-standard material grades have changed for HP-shapes and HSS.
- In Section 6.4.2, the tolerance for curved members has been improved.
- In Section 7.5.1, tolerances for anchor-rod placement have been revised for consistency with the hole sizes provided the AISC Steel Construction Manual and the tolerances given in ACI 117.
- In Section 7.8.3, the number of extra bolts required to be supplied has been increased to account for bolt loss and pre-installation verification testing requirements; also, backing has been clarified as steel backing.
- In Section 7.8.4, non-steel backing is now addressed.
- In Section 7.13, the term “building line” has been changed to “building exterior”.
- Commentary has been added in Section 18.104.22.168(e) to coordinate with the cantilevered member preset information added in Section 3.1.
- Section 9.1.5 addresses allowances, when used.
- Section 10 has been significantly revised with multiple categories for architecturally exposed structural steel (AESS) and different treatments required for each.
Since the first edition of the Code was published in 1924, AISC has constantly surveyed the structural steel design community and construction industry to determine standard trade practices. Since then, this Code has been updated periodically to reflect new and changing technology and industry practices. The Code is significant and important to the process of buying and selling fabricated structural steel. Its provisions are balanced, fair, and consensus-based, and provide for the vast majority of work in standard form.