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   My purpose was not to debate legal semantics, nor to start an argument, nor to display library skills.  I'm merely a structural design engineer.  I truly don't have time to study the law or worry too much about which "code" has been adopted within a jurisdiction.  The concept of "due diligence" dictates that "standards" be adhered to, no matter what an alderman or governor has acted upon.  If I'm right about that, then in effect "standards" are law.
   I may be entirely wrong in my assessment, but debating it is not splitting hairs in a non-productive way.
John Riley
In a message dated 5/13/2004 5:50:35 PM Eastern Standard Time, jpriley485(--nospam--at) writes:
ACI 318 is law when an expert witness proclaims it standard practice in open court.
I am not sure this is how you meant it to come out, but no,  the fact an expert witness says something does not make it true.
And although ACI 318 may be "standard practice",  in areas where there is a building code, the particular version of ACI 318 which is "the law" depends on what has been adopted by reference through the building code.  For example,  DC uses BOCA 1996,  so ACI 318-95 is "the law."  Similarly,  I believe that ACI 318-95 is "the law" in California because the 2001 California Building Code adopted the 1997 Uniform Building Code, which in turn adopted ACI 318-95 by reference.  In states that have adopted the IBC 2000, ACI 318-99 would be the law.  This can become a significant issue in a litigation.
Similarly,  although one can split hairs all day, it is not particularly productive.  For someone trying to figure out the hierarchy of the various documents used in structural engineering, it is worth noting that there are some documents,  most notably the ACI Concrete and Masonry Building Code Requirements and the American Welding Society Codes,  that have the word "code" in their title but are actually "standards"  and are meant to acquire legal authority by being used as part of a legally adopted building code.
For example,  this is the AWS statement of use:
All standards (codes, specifications, recommended practices, methods, classifications, and guides) of the American Welding Society are voluntary consensus standards that have been developed in accordance with the rules of the American National Standards Institute. When AWS standards are either incorporated in, or made part of, documents that are included in federal or state laws and regulations, or the regulations of other governmental bodies, their provisions carry the full legal authority of the statute.
So, in terms of the hierarchy,  these documents are "below" the model codes.
Standards is kind of a loose term, although I usually think of them as something somewhat official, either ANSI approved or aspiring to that level.  The IBC 2000 has an appendix with a  listing of documents it calls "Referenced Standards."  It would probably be better if this was titled "Referenced Documents",  since some like the PTI Slab on Ground document are really not standards, they are basically general information and recommendations.
Gail Kelley