reinforcing steel code compliance criteria and crsi

IBC Chapter 17, “Special Inspections and Tests,” requires certain special inspections on concrete reinforcing steel according to Table 1705.3, “Required Special Inspections and Tests of Concrete Construction.” One of the most important inspection tasks listed in the table is for the special inspector to verify the proper placement location of the reinforcement. Table 1705.3 compliance criteria includes the entire Chapter 20, “Steel Reinforcement Properties, Durability and Embedments” of ACI 318 (Concrete Code). Chapter 20 comprises lots of code compliance criteria, including prestressed concrete members, specified concrete cover, and embedments. There is also some pertinent compliance criteria related to reinforcing steel set forth in ACI 318, Chapter 26, “Construction Documents and Inspections.”

Having imparted all of that important information in the first paragraph of this article, the bulk of the code compliance criteria that is utilized by the special inspector in the field during construction phases is governed by Concrete Reinforcing Steel Institute (CRSI) criteria. Most of this criteria is stipulated in the 9th edition of “Placing Reinforcing Bars” and other CRSI publications. While CRSI is not adopted by the IBC code or ACI 318 (Concrete Code), CRSI is usually cited as the primary compliance criteria in the construction documents developed by the registered design professional.

ACI 301, “Specifications for Structural Concrete,” also sets forth rebar compliance criteria in Section 3 and covers materials, fabrication, placement, and tolerances for steel reinforcement and reinforcement supports. The 2016 version of ACI 301 also cites CRSI RB4.1-14 as a reference standard in Section 1.4. CRSI RB4.1-14 is primarily a standard that addresses supports for reinforcement used in concrete. ACI 301 is not code; however, it is the foundation document of practically every project concrete specification in the land. ACI 301 compliance criteria is just as enforceable on project work as the various model building codes are. Whenever ACI 301 and construction documents are in conflict with the general building codes, the more stringent requirement is usually enforced.

Concrete Reinforcing Steel Institute (CRSI)
“The 9th edition of ‘Placing Reinforcing Bars‘ by CRSI presents the best accepted current practices in placing reinforcing bars, bar supports and welded wire reinforcement. It is written primarily for those actually engaged in placing reinforcing steel. It will also serve as a guide to the Field Inspector in judging workmanship and in making field adjustments. Structural integrity of any reinforced concrete structure depends, to a large extent, on the correct location of all reinforcing steel as shown on the project construction drawings.”