Code Officials

AISC is reaching out to Authorities Having Jurisdictions (AHJ) to help inform them of our certification programs and provide guidance to its value. We are also providing codes, articles, additional resources to assist in further understanding – along with information as to why fabricators and erectors become certified and what steps they have to complete in order to accomplish this. If you have further questions, please contact us directly at either 312.670.7520 or certification@aisc.org.

AISC Certification Process

Below is the general process for applying to AISC Certification. The process takes roughly six to seven months conservatively. If you have specific questions, please contact AISC Certification at certification@aisc.org or 312.670.7520.

  1. Applicant to complete the online application form:
    • AISC will review the form and send an email requesting an extended application, prerequisite documents, and fee.
    • The applicant will submit completed extended application, prerequisite documents (including quality manual), and fee.
    • AISC will perform an Eligibility Review for all programs and endorsements the applicant has applied.
  2. AISC will move the applicant onto the documentation audit, in which the Audit Agency will perform an in-depth Documentation Audit of the prerequisites. The applicant must resolve any deficiencies. Upon completion of the documentation audit, the site audit will be scheduled.
  3. The Audit Agency will perform a site audit where the auditor may issue Corrective Action Requests (CARs) for any deficiencies in the quality management system. CARs will be reviewed and must be resolved before findings will be submitted to AISC.
  4. Once the Audit Agency submits the audit findings, AISC will complete a series of reviews and determine certificate approval.


AISC and its audit agency (Quality Managemeny Company) each hold a specific certification noted below:

AISC Certification Independence

This is information on the independence of the American Institute of Steel Construction, LLC, (AISC) and Quality Management Company, LLC (QMC). For the official statement, please contact Todd Alwood, Director of Certification, at alwood@aisc.org or 312.670.7527.

AISC established its initial certification program in 1976. The program is currently administered by a balanced committee consisting of participants, specifiers, and building officials. The program standards under which an applicant's qualifications are audited are developed by a separate, balanced committee managed by AISC's Engineering and Research department. The Engineering and Research department also manages development of the structural steel specification that is incorporated into Building Codes in United States. Both the certification program standards and the steel specification are developed and balloted in accordance with the consensus process established by the American National Standards Institute.

The AISC Certification Standards are unique in the construction industry. They are focused squarely, and narrowly, on the fabricated structural steel industry. Early in the evolution of the AISC certification program it became apparent that specialized expertise was required to audit to the AISC Certification Standards, and that this specialized expertise was not generally available on a national and international bases, even in seemingly-related, metal-working industries. Accordingly, in order to assure that structural steel fabrication facilities and structural steel erection companies across the nation and around the world were audited in a uniformly-competent manner, AISC-determined that its quality certification programs would be audited by a single auditing company, world-wide, and that the auditing company selected would be independent and singularly qualified to audit structural steel fabrication facilities and erection companies to AISC Certification Standards. QMC was subsequently organized to meet this challenge. Audits undertaken by QMC are performed by independent, specially trained, contract auditors who are employees of neither AISC nor QMC.

Great care is taken to maintain separation among the program's administrative process, it's standards-setting process, and the auditing process. AISC Maintains strict anti-trust and conflict-of-interest policies. While structural steel fabricators and erectors (along with steel mills, structural engineers, steel warehouses, college professors and researchers) may be members of AISC, there is no involvement by any certified fabricator, or erector, or any applicant for certification, in the program administration or auditing processes. There is a complete separation of audited companies form this process. QMC, itself, is separately and independently certified by ISO; and the audits conducted by its contract auditors are subject to review under a series of quality control processes administered in strict compliance with anti-trust and conflict-of-interest requirements.

AISC Specifications/Codes

Below is a list of AISC's specifications and codes. For a complete list of documents available for free downloading, please visit www.aisc.org/standards.

Quality management systems (QMS) Programs and Endorsements

Building QMS Certification (BU)

This program's governing document is the Certification Standard for Steel Building Structures and describes certification requirements for building fabricators regardless of project size and complexity. Certification includes all functions of providing Structural Steel fabrication from receipt of contract through final delivery. AISC believes there is a basic level of quality all fabricators must maintain regardless of the facility’s size or capacity.The previous acronym (STD) has been superseded by BU.  Please note, AISC Certification is address-specific, so each fabrication facility must apply separately.

Bridge QMS Certification

In 2014, this program completed the conversion to a standard-based bridge certification, which replaces the previous checklist criteria. This transition completes a two-year process of converting bridge participants and applicants to the AISC Certification Program Requirements for Steel Bridge Fabricators. In addition, the program requirements introduce the certification categories of Certified Bridge Fabricator: Simple (SBR), Intermediate (IBR), and Advanced (ABR). Certificates will temporarily continue to include either the “Intermediate/Major” or “Advanced/Major” designations to allow transportation departments additional time to update their standard specifications. Please note, AISC Certification is address-specific, so each fabrication facility must apply separately.

Bridge Component QMS Certification (CPT)

This program's governing document is the Standard for Bridge and Highway Metal Component Manufacturers and describes certification requirements for facilities that manufacture and supply specific components, composed primarily of metal to bridge and highway construction projects. Certification is appropriate for manufacturers of components that include bracing not designed for primary loads (diaphragms, cross frames and lateral bracing); camera, light, sign and signal support structures; bridge rail; stairs; walkways; grid decks; drains; scuppers; expansion joints; bearings; ballast plates; and mechanical movable bridge equipment. Please note, AISC Certification is address-specific, so each fabrication facility must apply separately.

Hydraulic QMS Certification (HYD)

This program's governing document is the AISC Certification Program Requirements for Fabricators of Hydraulic Steel Structures. It is applicable to the following types of hydraulic steel structures: Lock gates (miter gates, vertical-lift gates, sector gates, roller gates and submergible tainter gates), spillway gates, bulkheads, needle beams, lock culvert valves, and stop logs used in navigation, flood control or hydropower projects and similar structures. Please note, AISC Certification is address-specific, so each fabrication facility must apply separately. 

Erector QMS Certification (CSE)

Program Requirements for AISC Certfied Erectors of Structural Steel is the governing program document and references the Standard for Structural Steel Erectors.  These documents describe the criteria of a quality management system and safety management system for structural steel erectors. The quality management system shall address all functions of structural steel erection from receipt of contract through completion of  the work of the erector. The program also includes three optional endorsements: seismic, metal deck and bridge erection.


Fracture Critical Endorsement (FC)

This OPTIONAL endorsement is focused on the requirements of AWS D1.5, Clause 12, AASHTO/AWS Fracture Control Plan for Nonredundant Members. The provisions of Clause 12 apply to steel bridge members or components that are designated as “fracture critical.” Fracture critical members are basically tension members, or portions of members, of a bridge whose failure could cause a partial or complete collapse of the bridge. The program will evaluate the capability of the bridge fabricator to meet the more stringent fabrication demands of the D1.5 Fracture Control Plan. This endorsement is optional for only Certified Bridge Fabricators or Component Manufacturers.

Sophisticated Paint Endorsement (SPE)

This OPTIONAL endorsement’s governing document is the Standard for Shop Application of Complex Protective Coating Systems, which was developed as a joint effort with Society for Protective Coatings: SSPC to streamline the criteria for both the marketplace and industry. The program evaluates the qualifications of structural steel fabricators and manufacturers of bridge and highway metal components who apply sophisticated or industrial protective coatings, such as zincs, expoxies, urethanes, or multi-coat systems in their paint shops following fabrication. There are three categories: P1-Sophisticated Paint Endorsement-Enclosed, P2-Sophisticated Paint Endorsement-Covered, and P3-Sophisticated Paint Endorsement-Outside. The program is optional for all AISC Certified fabricator participants.