Each revision to the American Institute of SteelConstruction's Certification Program during the past 25years is the direct result of input from fabricators, specifiersand, most importantly, owners and developers. The mostrecent change in the program is the adoption of theCertification Standard for Steel Building Structures(Standard). This Standard describes the total quality man-agement system certification for fabricators of steel buildingstructures.Under this new Standard, fabricators are required to devel-op and implement a quality management system and todescribe it in a quality manual and in required procedures.To assist you in developing your firm's quality system docu-mentation, AISC offers this Quality Manual Guideline.The quality management system described by the Standardincludes elements of a quality assurance system and ele-ments of a quality control system-it is much more inclusiveof how quality is addressed in your facility throughout theentire business of fabrication.If your facility has no existing or sparse documentation, thisguideline is provided as assistance to begin your thoughtprocess. If you have a mature existing documented system,this Guideline will help you to make a fresh review, toupdate your system, and to make further improvements thatcan improve your business processes.The structural steel fabrication industry is diverse-as are itsmethods and procedures. As a result, this document offerssuggestions but recognizes that each fabricator will have aunique approach. If your firm has a quality manual that cov-ers the required elements, you do not have to change yourmanual. Nor does the AISC Certification Program require aseparate quality manual. Because the AISC CertificationProgram is specific to the structural steel industry, itincludes elements not found in other programs. Therefore,if your existing manual or system was prepared in accor-dance with ISO 9001, ASME, or a private company specificrequirement, you should compare your manual with therequirements of the Standard to ensure that all required ele-ments are covered.Remember, this Guideline is generic and you may need toincrease or reduce the detail of individual procedures tomatch how you do business. Always address how therequirements of the Standard can best be satisfied at yourfacility--comparison with other facilities is not always help-ful. Your number of employees, the competency and train-ing level of your employees and the complexity and variety
Quality Manual Guideline
of the projects that your facility undertakes are just a fewfactors that contribute to how detailed or simple your quali-ty documentation becomes to address the requirements ofthe Standard.It may not be necessary to change what has been suc-cessful for you in the past. However, it is required that youformalize these systems by writing them down and assuringthat the responsible personnel understand your require-ments and have implemented them effectively.You may be interested to know that many first-time fabrica-tors that are now certified and that have gone through theformalizing of their own procedures, have reported to AISCthat they have seen marked improvement in their ability tomeet their customers needs, to increase their business vol-ume, and to better their profit outlook.In addition to this Guideline, example procedures are pro-vided for some of the elements of the Standard; however,these procedures should not be construed as acceptable aswritten for certification for an AISC certification audit. Thechosen examples do not cover all the procedures requiredby the Standard for Steel Building Structures, and each pro-cedure may not address all the requirements of each ele-ment of the Standard for Steel Building Structures.To get started, refer to the definition of a documented pro-cedure in the Standard. The minimum procedure require-ments from this definition are summarized below:1. Purpose (of the procedure);2. Outline steps within the procedure functions3. Assigned responsibilities;4. Identify generated records;5. Review responsibility (of the procedure)The following page contains a complete list of required pro-cedures and documentation.