9 Changes for the New AWS D1.1 Structural Welding Code (Steel) 2020 Edition

The new edition of AWS D1.1 Structural Welding Code (Steel) has been released. If you are looking to get the hard copy you may need to wait a few weeks, but the electronic version is ready for purchase from the American Welding Society (AWS) through their website.

There is a significant cost to obtain the new edition – $480 ($640 for non-AWS members). But before you start thinking that this is AWS’s way of making money you must know that frequent update of codes and standards are mandated by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).  Revisions are necessary to address issues that were not addressed by a previous version but which are important to users.

The question we always get when a new edition comes out is if it is necessary to buy the new edition.  The answer is yes.  Any code work, whether welding procedure prequalification or qualification, welding inspection, weld design, etc. must be done using the current code.  However, any WPSs or other work that was done or started with the previous code is still governed by it.  You do not need to update anything done prior to this year.

Also, if you are not able to get your hands on the new AWS D1.1 for a while and you are concerned about developing and testing new welding procedures you must not worry.  The only significant change is in regards to using welding equipment with waveform technology.  And this applies only to the calculation of heat input.  We will discuss this further on next week’s article.

Newer technology allows for the calculation of the amount of energy going into a weld.

Newer welding equipment technology allows for the calculation of the amount of energy going into a weld.

All tests for procedure qualification as well as welder performance qualification remain the same.   Your WPS, PQR and WPQR forms will only change when making reference to tables, figures or sections of AWS D1.1.  The new version has 11 clauses instead of 9.  Clause 3 (Prequalification) is now Clause 5. Clause 4 (Qualification) is now Clause 6. And Clause 9 (Tubular Structures) is now Clause 10.  These are the three clauses that apply to prequalification and qualification of welding procedures and welders.

Additions of tables and figures as well as change in their order within clauses mean that changes to their reference numbers are not as simple as going from, for example, Table 3.1 to Table 5.1.   So if you do not yet have the new copy do not attempt to change your references.

Although there are many changes in the new edition only a few are material.  The majority of the changes were made for clarity, but as with all change it may take a bit of time getting used to these changes.

Below is a summary of material changes made to the 2020 edition of AWS D1.1.

  1. Format changes – moving to 11 clauses from 9. This change was made to improve clarity and it includes addition of reference tables, formatting to mimic the normal progression of welding procedure qualification, as well as other updates to improve ease of use.
  2. Additional requirements added when using shielding gases for use with prequalified welding procedures.
  3. Revision to the requirements for the qualification of WPSs using waveform technology.
  4. Revisions made to the qualification requirements for inspection personnel.
  5. Addition of digital radiography to radiographic testing.
  6. Changes to the equation for geometric unsharpness (radiographic testing) to match the equation in ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code, Section V, Article 2.
  7. Addition of requirements of manufacturer ID to be present on headed studs and deformed anchor bars.
  8. Removal of calculations for static strength of welded tubular structures in deference to AISC design provisions
  9. Addition of Annex addressing phased array ultrasonic testing

Reference:  AWS D1.1/D1.1M:2020 Structural Welding Code – Steel

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3 thoughts on “9 Changes for the New AWS D1.1 Structural Welding Code (Steel) 2020 Edition

  1. Thank you, This is very helpful. I don’t have a lot of support on changes on code / interpretation of code. So when you put out solid information it helps me to notice the changes.