Modernizing the SDI Code of Standard Practice

Modernizing the SDI Code of Standard Practice

The Steel Deck Institute has updated its Code of Standard Practice as a consensus document from industry leaders under the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) guidelines. The goal of this document is to outline best practices within the industry for the design, purchase, manufacture, and installation of steel deck to streamline construction projects.

The new Code of Standard Practice is a comprehensive document on a wide range of industry practices, including:

  • Material classifications
  • Design documents and specifications
  • Approval documents
  • Materials and sourcing
  • Manufacturing and delivery
  • Installation
  • Quality control and testing
  • Contracts
  • Concrete design and placement on floor deck

Why the SDI Code of Standard Practice changed

It’s important to stay on top of new developments and more efficient approaches to projects that can save time and money while improving the safety of steel deck. The updated version is the work of a number of industry experts from different companies and organizations. This group included general contractors, construction managers, researchers, and companies that install, manufacture, and sell steel deck.

This update was a major rewrite from the 2017 edition, following some of the same processes that the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) used to produce their consensus Code of Standard Practice. It was important to mirror many of the provisions to make it easier for contractors to simplify their work, especially when working on varying aspects of a project, such as steel beams or steel decks. The processes should align to simplify compliance.

At the same time, the document recognizes a more streamlined approach and reflects modern industry practices to acknowledge the evolving technology involved in construction. For example, previous best practices included documentation to be submitted on paper with multiple copies for marking and approvals. As electronic submittals of PDFs and building information modeling (BIM), and 3D modeling have become a big part of the construction trade, provisions needed to be updated.

What changed

The new SDI Code of Standard Practice lays out general practices that everyone involved in the steel deck industry should agree to use. They are fair and balanced for all parties. The code also includes provisions for modifying practices as needed for contract documents.

You can think of this document as the rule book for steel deck in the same way you might think about the rule book in sports, such as baseball. You need rules to play, but you also have to adapt these rules at times depending on the specific environment. For example, Wrigley Field’s outfield is adorned with ivy. If a ball gets stuck and the outfielder can’t pull it out, it’s considered a ground-rule double. That’s a specific local rule that wouldn’t apply to any other ballpark.

The SDI Code of Standard Practice works much the same way. You have the rule book, but there might be local conditions or specific needs that can be modified in the contract.

While this is not a legally binding document like a building code, it does represent best practices and can be referenced in contracts, acknowledging that all parties will follow the SDI Code of Standard Practice in the project. This can provide peace of mind for clients and customers that the job will be completed using industry standards.

Another area that has been updated is focused on safety for everyone involved in the steel deck industry. It clearly lays out who is responsible for assuring safety at each phase of the job, from the contractor to the manufacturer to the deck installer. The process of specifying, approving and installing the deck also follows a standard process to ensure quality and safety consistently throughout the entire process.

How it changed

By creating a consensus document, SDI brought together top industry professionals to share their unique viewpoints and agree on what constitutes best practices for steel deck. This process created a balanced and fair approach that works for everyone in the business.

Past versions of the Code of Standard Practice did not include outside input, which may have limited universal use, especially for those in the industry that had their own way of conducting business. With consensus, it should lead to more industry-wide acceptance.

Benefits of the SDI’s Code of Standard Practice

Following these standards can make the construction process with steel deck potentially easier, allowing more people to benefit from steel deck construction. Steel decking is superior in almost every way. The Code of Standard Practices helps clients understand the process and reduces any anxiety they may feel about constructing using steel deck.

Adopting the SDI Code of Standard Practice in your business provides key benefits, such as:

  • Consistency: Ensuring steel deck products are designed, manufactured, and installed consistently
  • Safety: Ensuring materials and construction practices are safe while protecting workers on job sites.
  • Quality: Ensuring steel deck installation meet the highest levels of quality.
  • Compliance: Reinforcing the importance of adhering to regulatory compliance.

Most importantly, the SDI Code of Standard Practice helps engender trust with clients, knowing that the steel deck industry is committed to responsible, safe, and ethical practices.

The SDI Code of Standard Practice is available as a FREE DOWNLOAD for review.

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