Concrete Reinforcing Steel Institute Recommends Return to Inch-Pound Markings

The move away from soft metric markings is intended to reduce confusion and the chance of errors and delays from the construction supply chain.

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At their recent meeting on November 9, the Concrete Reinforcing Steel Institute (CRSI) Board of Directors urged all CRSI producer members to revert to an inch-pound bar marking system for all sizes and grades of deformed reinforcing steel products. CRSI members produce more than 90 percent of domestic reinforcing steel.

The intention of this resolution is for all new rollings of reinforcing steel products to be marked with inch-pound bar markings no later than January 1, 2014. Providing a 25-month phase-in period should permit producer members sufficient time to re-tool finish roll inventory to the inch-pound marking system as rolls need to be replaced, significantly reducing or eliminating the need to unnecessarily cut new rolls to meet the resolution.

As the ASTM specifications for reinforcing steel products permit reinforcing bars to be marked in either soft metric, or inch-pound markings, existing inventory of soft metric bars can continue to be sold alongside inch-pound marked bars during and after the January 1, 2014, phase-in target.

The intention of this resolution is to reduce confusion and the chance of errors or delays from the construction supply chain. CRSI members are strongly encouraged to revert to the inch-pound marking system for steel reinforcing bars as soon as practical to minimize any additional confusion to the supply chain of steel reinforcing bars.

This change is the result of several actions. The Federal Highway Administration no longer mandates metrification of federally funded road and bridge construction projects and all state Departments of Transportation no longer require materials to be specified and sourced in metric sizes/quantities. Additionally, a large majority of the non-governmental construction community never adopted metric measurements in their plans and specifications. The American Concrete Institute (ACI), through their Technical Activities Committee (TAC), has strongly encouraged CRSI members to mark reinforcing bars with traditional inch-pound size designations. ACI is the standards body within the United States responsible for developing the concrete building code. The concrete building code and other ACI documents reference the inch-pound size as the primary designation.

"It made logical sense for the industry to begin the process to move away from soft metric markings," said Robert Risser, CRSI President. "None of our private or government customers are using metric plans or specifications any longer. The phase-in period will allow industry members to make the change over at minimal additional expense. CRSI is now in the process of making the appropriate changes to our manuals and literature."