AISI’s long-standing legacy
For more than 125 years, the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) has been a trusted voice of the steel industry in the United States and North America. Their contribution to the industry has been immeasurable, particularly in maintaining standards for the design of cold-formed steel structural members since 1946. These standards, which have set the benchmark for cold-formed steel structures across the world, have shaped the industry. Recently, however, significant changes have occurred within AISI that are reshaping the landscape of cold-formed steel structural standards in the United States.
The unexpected announcement
In October of 2023, AISI made an unexpected announcement that sent waves throughout the construction and steel industries. Due to budgetary constraints, AISI discontinued their construction program. This program had long been responsible for maintaining critical standards related to cold-formed steel, and its closure raised significant concerns about the future of these standards.
The AISI standards covered the design and specifications for cold-formed steel structural members—an area where AISI had been the global leader for decades. The implications of this decision impacted many products, including steel floor and roof deck.
A new guardian of standards
In the wake of AISI’s decision to fold its construction program, there arose an urgent need to find a new home for the standards it had meticulously curated over the years. As an American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Accredited Standards Developer, SDI emerged as the most capable and available entity to seamlessly take on this responsibility with the expertise and dedication required to ensure their continued excellence.
As of December 29th, 2023, the SDI officially took on the responsibility for 31 standards that had previously been under the purview of AISI. These standards encompass various aspects of the steel construction industry, with a primary focus on cold form steel structural members. While the long-term plan for these standards is yet to be finalized, the SDI has taken on the mantle of safeguarding their integrity and ensuring their viability as American National Standards.
This transfer of responsibility is not a mere administrative change; it’s a commitment to the future of the construction industry. The SDI has stepped forward as a dependable industry partner, ready to preserve the legacy of AISI’s work and to guide these standards into their new homes with other standards developers.
The future of standards
As of now, the future of these standards is in a state of transition. The SDI, along with other stakeholders and industry associations, is actively engaged in discussions to determine the best path forward. While the specifics are yet to be defined, one thing is certain: the SDI is committed to maintaining the integrity and relevance of these standards.
For users of cold form steel products, including steel deck, this transition will be seamless. The SDI is dedicated to ensuring that the standards remain robust, reliable, and consistent. The industry will continue to benefit from these standards as they evolve and find their new homes within the broader standards landscape.
A positive outlook for the industry
Despite the challenges posed by AISI’s decision, the steel and construction industries have a bright future ahead. The SDI has stepped in to safeguard the invaluable standards that have underpinned the sector’s success for decades. While the road ahead may still have twists and turns, the commitment of organizations like the SDI ensures that the world of steel construction will continue to thrive and innovate.
The SDI, along with its partners and collaborators, is determined to shape this new chapter with optimism and dedication, ensuring that the steel construction industry remains at the forefront of innovation and safety for years to come. Together, we will continue to build a stronger, more resilient, and more prosperous future for the steel and construction sectors.