When we talk about structural bolt specification, we drop a lot of acronyms: RCSC, ASTM, ASME, and more. All of these are organizations which provide the standards over structural steel and bolts. It’s important to keep up with these organizations to ensure that all standards are being followed. Here’s an overview of each organization and their responsibilities.
The Research Council on Structural Connections (RCSC) is a non-profit organization made up of leading experts across all fields related to structural steel. These fields include engineering, fabrication, bolting, and erection. Many fastener companies, Birmingham Fastener included, have representation in the RCSC. The purpose of the RCSC is to “promote the knowledge of economical and efficient practices relating to structural connections.” They create and publish structural bolt specifications and standards which are used for the installation of high-strength bolts. In our blogs, you will often see us refer to the RCSC’s Specification for Structural Joints Using High-Strength Bolts. They have provided an online version, available here.
ASTM International is an all-encompassing organization that produces over 12,000 standards for many different types of products globally. In relation to structural bolt specification, the ASTM provides the standards for how the bolts are made and what raw materials can be used to create them. Each ASTM standard is reviewed at a minimum of every three years, meaning standards can change. For example, prior to 2015, ASTM A325 and A490 were separate specifications. After a review of the standards, these were replaced by F3125, making A325 and A490 grades under the F3125 specification. ASTM International also provides the standards on testing methods and what tests have to be done on all structural bolts prior to installation. To learn more about ASTM International, visit their website.
The American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) is a technical institute and trade association that “serves the structural steel design community and construction industry in the United States.” The AISC provides continuing education in the industry, steel design guides, and the Steel Construction Manual. This manual provides design considerations which can relate to the RCSC. To learn more about the AISC’s resources, visit their website.
The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) is a not-for-profit organization that works towards collaboration and skill development for engineering disciplines. They produce codes and standards for many different technical fields, including the fastener field. In regards to fasteners, the ASME provides manufacturers with dimensional standards for all types of bolts, including structural bolts. For more information on the ASME, visit their website.