Standards and Design

Standards and Design

Australian Standards and Codes of Practice are voluntary consensus documents that represent community expectations regarding quality, safety and risk in the built environment.

In Australia, legislation is established through various Acts of parliament, which, in turn, are actioned through subordinate legislation, typically Regulation. In relation to the building and construction industry, the Building Ministers Forum (BMF) provides strategic policy direction to the preparation of the National Construction Code (NCC) by the Australian Building Code Board (ABCB).  

Australian Standards and various Codes of Practice are, in themselves, voluntary consensus documents representing the community's expectations regarding quality, safety and risk in the built environment. Australian Standards are NOT regulation. However, Australian Standards are made mandatory through either: 

  • being called up in regulation, such as in the NCC. Design Standards such as AS 4100 Steel Structures and AS/NZS 4600 Cold-formed Steel Structures are primary referenced documents under the NCC. Standards such as AS/NZS 5131 Structural steelwork – Fabrication and erection, are called up by these primary referenced Standards and hence become secondary referenced Standards under the NCC

  • being called up in the construction specification, in which case the performance requirements of the Standards are established contractually. 

Steel and Steelwork Standards framework 

Designers utilise design Standards such as AS 4100 (for structural steel design), AS/NZS 4600 (for design of cold-formed steel structures), AS/NZS 5100.6 (for design of steel bridges) and AS/NZS 2327 (for composite steel and concrete design). These Standards rely in turn, and have been calibrated against, guaranteed values for chemical composition, mechanical properties, tolerances on dimensions, method of manufacture and quality control provisions for all material used in the steel structure. Material Standards such as AS/NZS 1163, AS/NZS 1397, AS/NZS 3678, AS/NZS 3679.1 and AS/NZS 3679.2 define these properties based on known Australian steels, testing statistics and work practices. 

Given the tightly coupled nature of the performance framework established by the design and various material Standards, stakeholders need to exercise significant care when attempting to utilise materials or products that do not have documented conformity to the performance requirements of the relevant Australian Standards. For this reason, our Standards provides very specific guidance on compliance.

Relevant material and process Standards 

AS/NZS 1163 

Cold-formed structural steel hollow sections 

AS/NZS 1252.1 

High-strength steel fastener assemblies for structural engineering – Bolts, nuts and washers – Part 1: Technical requirements 

AS/NZS 1397 

Continuous hot-dip metallic coated steel sheet and strip – Coatings of zinc and zinc alloyed with aluminium and magnesium 

AS/NZS 1554 

Structural steel welding 

AS/NZS 3678 

Structural steel – Hot-rolled plates, floorplates and slabs 

AS/NZS 3679.1 

Structural steel – Hot-rolled bars and sections 

AS/NZS 3679.2 

Structural steel – Welded I-sections 

Relevant design Standards 

AS 4100 

Steel structures 

AS/NZS 4600 

Cold-formed steel structures 

AS/NZS 5100.6 

Bridge design – Part 6: Steel and composite construction 

AS/NZS 2327 

Composite structures – Composite steel-concrete construction in buildings 

Refer to SRIA for information on steel reinforcement Standards.

Fabrication and erection Standard – AS/NZS 5131 

The new AS/NZS 5131 ‘Structural steelwork – Fabrication and erection’ represents a step change in our structural steelwork ecosystem, enabling a risk-based fit-for-purpose approach consistent with international good practice and better positioning our structural steelwork stakeholders to actively participate in providing services on the international stage. The ASI has prepared an explanation (PDF) of the structure of AS/NZS 5131 and a range of support material for all stakeholders in the structural steelwork supply chain.