www.concreteinternational.com | Ci | NOVEMBER 2019 65
ACI are intended to promote concrete in lieu of other materials.
A simple way to present ACI’s primary positions and activities
is to advise that ACI products and services come into play
once the choice has been made to use concrete on a project.
Ways to communicate this message to government officials
include visiting state and local building code departments,
attending educational programs at building official association
(BOA) meetings, and having a presence at BOA conferences.
Like ACI chapters, these BOAs are independent organizations.
Most BOAs are chapters of ICC.
ACI as a resource
Most building officials are not readily engaged in
verification of the design and construction of requirements for
buildings. Thus, while they may have an awareness of the
ACI 318 Code because it is referenced in the building code,
they are not typically users of the ACI 318 Code and are
probably not well versed in its content.
This is not unique to ACI documents, as it would be a
monumental task for any building official to be familiar with
the contents of the hundreds of reference standards in the IBC.
Because it would be challenging to have expertise in the many
aspects of building design and construction that are within the
purview of their duties and responsibilities, building officials
rely heavily on external resources for information about
specific building materials, products, components, and systems.
Most officials operate under strict budget limitations,
however, and do not have the resources to purchase technical
documents about materials, products, components, and
systems addressed in the building code. Many have access only
to technical documents provided as complimentary items from
industry, and so they commonly rely on subject-matter experts
they know through in-person visits to the building department
and through interactions at BOA meetings and events.
As previously discussed, the broad scope of the building
code imposes limitations on officials’ abilities to keep current
on the construction industry’s advancements, even though this
information often helps them perform their duties better and
may even simplify their routine activities. Education is
important for officials, and many authorities require Certified
Building Officials to participate in continuing education.
Again, however, budget limitations make it difficult to
participate in educational programs addressed at provisions in
the building code, and this constraint limits building officials’
use of ACI’s on-demand courses. Thus, the primary source for
continuing education is through programs conducted at BOA
meetings and conferences or online educational programs.
Some ACI chapters reach officials with educational programs
through occasional joint meetings with the local BOA.
Use of ACI products
Most of the code requirements in ACI documents are
written specifically for the design professional. Officials do
not need to know how to design buildings. What officials need
is sufficient knowledge about concrete design and
construction to understand the intent of the building code.
They benefit from basic knowledge about concrete
construction and items that require inspection.
Officials are generally not aware of ACI products and
services unless they are referenced in the building code. They
may not realize the benefits and thus not support or even
consider incorporating standards and programs into the
building code. Many ACI products and programs help ensure
quality concrete construction and warrant inclusion in the
building code. Some items that would be extremely helpful
references in the building code are: ••“Code Requirements for Assessment, Repair, and
Rehabilitation of Existing Concrete Structures (ACI 562)”
to help ensure proper repairs of structural concrete; ••“Specification for Testing Ready Mixed Concrete
(ACI 311.6),” especially Section 1.2, Qualifications,
which sets requirements for field and laboratory
technicians; and ••“Specifications for Inspection of Concrete Construction
(ACI 311.7),” especially Section 1.6, Qualifications, which
sets requirements for special inspectors.
Creating an awareness of ACI products and services is best
accomplished with face-to-face encounters with the
appropriate officials. These encounters could be visits to the
building department or conversations at BOA events or code
development hearings. Because most BOAs are ICC chapters,
collaboration and, where possible, joint efforts between ACI
and ICC chapters may serve as an excellent way to create
During these encounters, it will also be helpful to educate
officials about the rigorous ACI standards development
process, which requires balanced, broadly representative
committees and that all comments must be adjudicated. This
vetting is substantially different from the ICC code
development process. For example, in the first round of ICC
hearings (called Committee Action Hearings CAH), a
majority vote of committee members determines the
disposition of each code change proposal. A committee
member decides the fate of a proposal based on the reason
statement accompanying the proposal, 2 minutes of testimony
from the proposal’s advocate, and a 1-minute rebuttal by each
individual choosing to speak for or against the proposal.
Knowledge of the ACI process will build confidence that would
be impossible to generate during a 2-minute oral presentation.
The charge of ACI standards committees includes public
safety, health, and general welfare. When educating and
communicating with officials, it is important to address the
benefits to the constituents within the jurisdiction. These
messages should target those officials involved in the code
development process. Building officials involved in plan
reviews and enforcement of provisions related to concrete