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September/October 2009
InFocus

Standards for Construction

A Reference for Professionals in the Field

To determine the performance of buildings and roads, evaluate a variety of flooring, roofing, road and other materials, and find guidance related to construction — use standards.

Two extensive ASTM International standards collections compile myriad standard test methods, specifications, practices, guides and more on construction topics into two, or two bundled as one, handy references.

ASTM Standards in Building Codes contains every active test method, specification, guide or other document referenced by several code groups — more than 1,300 standards. The Construction Collection consists of the 2,200 standards included in the 13 volumes that form Section 4 of the Annual Book of ASTM Standards.

And, more than 6,000 construction professionals participating in more than 20 ASTM International committees oversee the standards in these two collections, available together or separately in different formats with regular updates.

ASTM Standards in Building Codes

In print, ASTM Standards in Building Codes consists of a massive four-volume set that pulls documents from 55 volumes of the Annual Book of ASTM Standards; the work also comes in DVD and online versions with options for regular updates.

According to Mark Johnson, president of the International Code Council Evaluation Service Inc., ASTM standards are particularly significant for the codes. “ASTM standards are of great importance for ICC because they are the building standards most widely referenced by the international codes,” Johnson says.

The reference, which provides tools — in the form of standards — to design and build structures that meet code requirements, goes through an annual review by code groups. That way, ASTM Standards in Building Codes incorporates the most up-to-date standards from these codes:

  • International codes published by the International Code Council,
  • National Building Code of Canada National Research Council Canada,
  • Uniform Plumbing Code and Uniform Mechanical Code — International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials,
  • MASTERSPEC,
  • BSD SpecLink,
  • NFPA5000 — Building Construction and Safety Code, and
  • SPECTEXT Master Guide Specifications.

Standards referenced in the building codes address shingles on the roof on down to the underground drainpipe, from structural elements such as steel and concrete to finishing elements such as paint and floor covering. Time-honored but up-to-date specifications for rolled structural steel (A6), clay drain tile (C4) and quicklime for structural purposes (C5) and new ones such as D1593, Specification for Nonrigid Vinyl Chloride Plastic Film and Sheeting, all take their place in this set.

The Construction Collection

The more than 2,200 ASTM standards in the Construction Collection include documents related to the soil underneath a building, the roads leading up to it and the roofing that tops it. From key specifications for cement, asphalt and insulation to tests for fire resistance, water penetration and sound absorption, the collection addresses diverse aspects of buildings and related construction.

Subjects covered in the collection include cement, lime, gypsum, concrete and aggregates, road and paving materials, roofing and waterproofing, bituminous materials, concrete pipe, masonry, thermal insulation, environmental acoustics, building seals and sealants, fire standards, dimension stone, soil and rock, building construction, property management systems and geosynthetics.

The Construction Collection is available as a one-time collection, collection with quarterly updates, or LAN version with quarterly updates.