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Bill, i'll try to provide as brief a history as possible.

The American Wood Council is the wood products division of the American Forest &
Paper Association, formerly the National Forest Products Association (until
about 1992). There are a couple of links below to give you more details if you'd

AWC, and its predecessors, have always been the promulgators of the National
Design Specification for Wood Construction (NDS) since the first edition was
published in 1944. The Foreword to the NDS will give you a little of that
history. The NDS is what is referenced in all the model building codes to govern
wood design.

AITC's Preface to the first edition (1966) states that they are a "nonprofit,
technical, industrial association of manufacturers and fabricators who may
design, plant-laminate, fabricate, assemble, and erect load-carrying sawn and
glued timber framing and decking..." To my knowledge, AITC has always based its
provisions in the manual on the NDS, but includes design examples and additional
information specific to glulam and heavy timber.

Bruce Pooley may have more details than i've given here, or may correct me if
i'm wrong on any of the AITC info.

Hope this helps.

Buddy Showalter, P.E.

From: "Bill Polhemus" <bill(--nospam--at)>
To: "SEAINT" <seaint(--nospam--at)>,
Subject: AITC vs. NDS

I have always wondered this, but now I have a "need to know," so I'll
finally get around to asking:

What is the line of demarcation between the scopes of the American Institute
for Timber Construction (AITC) Specification for Timber Design, and the
American Wood Council (AWC) National Design Standard (NDS)?

I recall having seen the AITC manual, though I never used or even perused
it, because it physically resembled the AISC Manual of Steel Construction.
However, when I look on the AITC website (at,
it LOOKS as though they have "converted" into a trade group that is involved
ONLY with the design and manufacturing of Glulam products.

Is this true? Did they "cede" the jurisdiction for wood design in general to
AWC? I would appreciate a brief history of this so I might understand.

Thanks in advance.

William L. Polhemus, Jr., P.E.
Polhemus Engineering Company
Katy, Texas
Phone 281-492-2251
Fax 281-492-8203

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