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Which revision of the Code to use

Which revision of the Code to use

Which revision of the Code to use

Hi everyone. I asked the following question recently at a meeting with several engineers and building officials. There were mixed opinions regarding this subject.

The project specifications denote using "...the most current revision of the D1.1 shall be used to qualify welders and welding procedures..."

AWS D1.1:2004, 4.2.1 specifies: "The use of earlier editions shall be prohibited for new qualifications in lieu of the current editions, unless the specific earlier edition is specified in the contract documents."

Some of the comments noted:
"How can a code that was not in existence be enforced?"
"Codes take time to be adopted"
"Comply with the specifications and use the most current edition of the code."

I have run into this numerous times in the past and I always use the current revision of the [welding] code. I wil be qualifying welders this week and qualification will be performed in accordance with the D1.1:2004 revision.

Any comments?

RE: Which revision of the Code to use

I believe that the chain of reference goes like this:

The governing authority (usually a city) adopts a model building code and sometimes makes various amendments and revisions to that model code...thus creating an officially adopted building code that is, by law, to be enforced within that city's jurisdiction.

Within that model building code, there is reference to a structural steel specification.  For example, the IBC 2000 makes reference to welding in section 2208.  2208 refers back to previous sections where structural steel is required to conform to AISC's specification, ASD (9th Edition) or to LRFD (2nd Edition)

Now, in AISC's LRFD spec, welding is indicated as AWS D1.1-92.  

By law, then, the proper AWS spec to use is D1.1-92 under the IBC 2000.

I do not believe that the engineer of record can simply state on the plans that a different design specification is to be used (ie. "most current...").  The chain of reference is adopted BY LAW by the city so you must follow those editions/versions that the code and referenced standards specifically adopt.

RE: Which revision of the Code to use


Absolutely correct. I have just received my invitation to buy the D1.1/D1.1M:2004 and I doubt many others own the new code. So to say the least, expecting someone to follow a code that no one has seen is ludicrous.

That is why it usually takes at least a year or two (and more) before a local jurisdiction adopts a new building code. There are many states that still use 97 UBC, that means the referrenced standards are older than that.

RE: Which revision of the Code to use

Just an update on my original post:
1.) I received many different replies from several local building depts. and engineers. They ranged from using the 1992 revision to the 2002.

2.) I did qualify the welders to the 2004 revision of the code 10 days ago, the documentation was deemed satisfactory by the concerned building dept. and RDP for the project.

RE: Which revision of the Code to use

Interesting subject. I have also been following this discussion on the structural forum at the BCDG at:


RE: Which revision of the Code to use

I have ran into the same concern where our state has only adoopted the IBC 2000 and many Engineers here in the State place IBC 2003 on the plans. What to do? Good questions and concerns.

RE: Which revision of the Code to use

The governing authority should reject those plans and require the plans to be designed per the applicable code.  Just because a code is newer doesn't mean its OK to use it - as the governing authority (city, state, etc.) hasn't yet reviewed the new code and accepted it.

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