NSC Archives


A milestone in advisory desk notes

The issue of AD 500 marks a significant achievement in the provision of technical advice to the steel construction industry. Advice was issued from 1988 within SCI’s own journal. When New Steel Construction was initiated in 1992 the advisory desk note was already at number 126, so about 20 were issued per year over that initial period. BS 5950 was relatively “new” at the time, so perhaps there was plenty of advice needed. Since 1992 advisory desk notes have become less frequent (around 12 per year) but hopefully still relevant and helpful.

AD 001, which was issued in April 1988 is entitled “guidance on compactness” and is really about the classification limits which must have seemed quite new at the time. The introduction to the AD refers to the “many” queries on the subject. AD 002 commences a theme which reoccurs in AD 006 and continues to the present time – correcting mistakes and other errors in the codes (and sometimes in SCI publications!).

Different writing styles can be seen over the years – some more formal and some rather more conversational. AD 003 refers to “Pundits of BS 449” – an expert in their field frequently called upon to give their opinion. AD 008 refers to “unnecessary beefing up”, which would probably appear as “over-conservatism” these days.

Presumably AD 100 was also a significant milestone around 1990. AD 100 looks backwards to BS 449 and the clauses covering separators and diaphragms. Advice on withdrawn (but still used) design standards is another theme which continues to the present time.

Looking forward to the next 500, the wholesale revisions to the Eurocode suite will no doubt inspire plenty of AD notes. Most AD notes are prompted by questions sent to the SCI’s advisory team, so SCI members are encouraged to keep the enquiries flowing.

David Brown, SCI

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