You may have heard of AISC Quality Management Systems (QMS) Certification, but you may not know exactly what's involved. AISC's certification programs set the quality standard for the structural steel industry and are the most recognized national quality certification program for the industry. Our programs focus on the entire process of fabrication and erection. Our goal is to build quality structures from the start by focusing on error prevention rather than error correction. Below is additional information and resources for our programs, and if you have specific questions, please contact us directly at certification@aisc.org or 312-670-7520. Read more about the benefits of certification here.

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.


The "No More Waivers!" program is an AISC Certification initiative implemented to help specifiers and AISC Certified companies respond to pressure from contractors and owners to waive quality requirements. Since its inception in 2004, the "No More Waivers!" program goal has been to promptly respond to all attempts to waive quality requirements that are reported to the program. The program currently relies largely on specifiers and AISC Certified firms to identify potential waiver cases and to engage AISC as a partner to counter efforts to waive requirements. Together, through timely action focused on key project decision makers and appropriate information about the value of Certification, we can reduce the number of waivers.

Looking ahead, the long-term goal of the program is to eliminate quality requirement waivers by making AISC Certification a pre-qualification to any bid list. As progress toward achieving this goal, Certified fabricators, Certified erectors, and specifiers are increasingly assuming lead roles in protecting Certification requirements. They are building cases for individual projects and working to educate members of the building industry in their local markets about the value of Certification.

Please use the tools provided above to help make your case to any and all key project decision makers. If your letter and follow up phone calls fail to gain consideration in your waiver situation, call or email AISC Certification for additional support. AISC can most effectively support your efforts when actions are based on the information you have collected.

Use the "No More Waivers!" form noted above as a tool to communicate your waiver response history and identified decision makers. Once completed, email the form to Todd Alwood, manager of certification business development and you will be contacted within a 24-hour period. Todd can be reached at either alwood@aisc.org or 312.670.7527.

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.