ACI 318-08: Building Code Requirements for Structural Concrete covers the materials, design, and construction of structural concrete used in buildings and where applicable in nonbuilding structures. The ACI 318-08 also covers the strength evaluation of existing concrete structures.
Among the subjects covered are drawings and specifications; inspection; materials; durability requirements; concrete quality, mixing, and placing; formwork; embedded pipes; construction joints; reinforcement details; analysis and design; strength and serviceability; flexural and axial loads; shear and torsion; development and splices of reinforcement; slab systems; walls; footings; precast concrete; composite flexural members; prestressed concrete; shells and folded plate members; strength evaluation of existing structures; provisions for seismic design; structural plain concrete; strut-and-tie modeling in Appendix A; alternative design provisions in Appendix B; alternative load and strength-reduction factors in Appendix C; and anchoring to concrete in Appendix D.
The quality and testing of materials used in construction are covered by reference to the appropriate ASTM standard specifications. Welding of reinforcement is covered by reference to the appropriate AWS standard.
Uses of the ACI 318-08 include adoption by reference in general building codes, and earlier editions have been widely used in this manner. ACI 318-08 is written in a format that allows such reference without change to its language. Therefore, background details or suggestions for carrying out the requirements or intent of the ACI 318-08 portion cannot be included. The Commentary is provided for this purpose. Some of the considerations of the committee in developing the ACI 318-08 portion are discussed within the Commentary, with emphasis given to the explanation of new or revised provisions. Much of the research data referenced in preparing ACI 318-08 is cited for the user desiring to study individual questions in greater detail. Other documents that provide suggestions for carrying out the requirements of ACI 318-08 are also cited.
From the Introduction
This Commentary discusses some of the considerations of Committee 318 in developing the provisions contained in "Building Code Requirements for Structural Concrete (ACI 318-08)," hereinafter called the Code or the 2008 Code. Emphasis is given to the explanation of new or revised provisions that may be unfamiliar to Code users. In addition, comments are included for some items contained in previous of the Code to make the present commentary independent of the previous editions. Comments on specific provisions are made under the corresponding chapter and section numbers of the Code.
The Commentary is not intended to provide a complete historical background concerning the development of the Code, nor is it intended to provide a detailed résumé of the studies and research data reviewed by the committee in formulating the provisions of the Code. However, references of the research data are provided for those who wish to study the background material in depth.
As the name implies, "Building Code Requirements for Structural Concrete" is meant to be used as part of a legally adopted building code and as such must differ in form and substance from documents that provide detailed specifications, recommended practice, complete design procedures, or design aids.
The Code is intended to cover all buildings of the usual types, both large and small. Requirements more stringent than the Code provisions may be desirable for unusual construction. The Code and Commentary cannot replace sound engineering knowledge, experience, and judgment.
A building code states only the minimum requirements necessary to provide for public health and safety. The Code is based on this principle. For any structure, the owner or the licensed design professional may require the quality of materials and construction to be higher than the minimum requirements necessary to protect the public as stated in the Code. However, lower standards are not permitted.
The Commentary directs attention to other documents that provide suggestions for carrying out the requirements and intent of the Code. However, those documents and the Commentary are not a part of the Code.
The Code has no legal status unless it is adopted by the government bodies having the police power to regulate building design and construction. Where the Code has not been adopted, it may serve as a reference to good practice even though it has no legal status.
The Code provides a means of establishing minimum standards for acceptance of designs and construction by legally appointed building officials or their designated representatives. The Code and Commentary are not intended for use in settling disputes between the owner, engineer, architect, contractor, or their agents, subcontractors, material suppliers, or testing agencies. Therefore, the Code cannot define the contract responsibility of each of the parties in usual construction. General references requiring compliance with the Code in the project specifications should be avoided since the contractor is rarely in a position to accept responsibility for design details or construction requirements that depend on a detailed knowledge of the design. Design-build construction contractors, however, typically combine the design and construction responsibility. Generally, the drawings, specifications, and contract documents should contain all of the necessary requirements to ensure compliance with the Code. In part, this can be accomplished by reference to specific Code sections in the project specifications. Other ACI publications, such as "Specifications for Structural Concrete (ACI 301)" are written specifically for use as contract documents for construction.
It is recommended to have testing and certification programs for the individual parties involved with the execution of work performed in accordance with this Code.