By Nate Menuez, PE, LEED AP

There’s no doubt about it: architecturally exposed structural steel (AESS) is a popular design choice not only because it can improve aesthetics but also add significant value to a building. Until a few years ago, the specifications were vague and too much was left up to design teams’ interpretation.

In 2016, the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) introduced a revised approach to the design and specification of AESS. In my opinion, previously the code did not clearly define the terms of AESS, leading to subjective opinions, incorrect interpretation, and disagreements amongst team members in the field. The intent of the updated version is to provide clearly defined best practices, leading to the same level of expectations between the designers, fabricators, and erectors.