At the request of The Masonry Society (TMS), the American Concrete Institute (ACI) and the Structural Engineering Institute of the American Society for Civil Engineers (SEI/ASCE) recently released their rights to future editions of TMS 402/ACI 530/ASCE 5 and TMS 602/ACI 530.1/ASCE 6 that have recently been produced by the Masonry Standards Joint Committee. This magnanimous gesture by ACI and SEI/ASCE, will allow TMS to develop, and solely sponsor, future editions of the standards provided TMS retains its accreditation by the American National Standards (ANSI).

TMS has had the goal of being the foremost organization to develop masonry codes and standards since its formation in 1977. In 1981, TMS developed TMS 401, Standard Building Code Requirements for Masonry Construction, which in 1984 was adopted by the Uniform Building Code as its masonry provisions. TMS hoped these provisions would eventually be adopted throughout the United States. This goal of adoption by reference of TMS 401 was not realized, however, because at the time, TMS was not an ANSI Accredited Standards Developing Organization (SDO), which was a requirement for standards that were adopted by reference by other U.S. Codes at that time. When in the late 1980’s TMS applied for ANSI Accreditation, TMS was denied permission to develop similar provisions on a national basis because ACI and ASCE had released ACI 530/ASCE 5 in 1988 and ANSI did not want competing standards. After much negotiation, the MSJC was eventually formed, being sponsored by ACI, ASCE and TMS, with the first edition being released in 1992 and which incorporated much of the work of the former TMS 401 standard.

Since that time, TMS has had the goal to become the lead sponsor of the MSJC, and perhaps one day, to become the sole sponsor of the provisions to allow the Society to grow in recognition as the developer of these standards (similar in concept to ACI developing ACI 318, and ASCE developing ASCE 7). The struggling Society at that time however, was unable to meet the requirements needed to become ANSI accredited, and some were concerned that TMS was not a strong enough organization to do this on its own.  As such, for nearly a decade, the Masonry Standards Joint Committee (MSJC) operated under the rules of all 3 organizations. But meeting three sets of rules became increasingly onerous and time consuming for the MSJC. In the late 1990’s, frustration over the need to meet the rules and requirements of three organizations was becoming increasingly voiced. In response, TMS formed a Task Group to examine the issue with hopes of easing standardization requirements while still meeting all ANSI requirements. As part of the Task Group recommendations, a single set of rules was sought, and it was suggested that TMS’s rules be followed since the Committee was meeting with TMS. TMS rules however, were not ANSI accredited, due to the conflicts earlier noted. In January 2000, TMS met with ACI and SEI/ASCE at ACI’s headquarters to discuss these issues. It was agreed that TMS should seek ANSI Accreditation so that its rules, which were based on ACI’s rules, could be used by the MSJC.  Based on this and other meetings, a memorandum of understanding (MOU) was developed streamlining rules for the Committee and outlining the roles of the sponsoring organizations.  That MOU designated a “lead” society whose rules would govern the Committee until the time for final standardization procedures. This agreement eased the burden on the Committee while continuing to meet critical standardization requirements of all three organizations.

The MOU also defined benchmarks for TMS to meet so that it could one day become the lead sponsor of the Committee. In late 2005, TMS met those requirements (which included becoming an ANSI Accredited Standards Developing Organization (SDO)) and TMS was identified as the lead sponsor of the provisions. Since that time, TMS has served the role of lead sponsor, which has required oversight of the provisions and support of the Committee, promulgating the standards at the International Code Hearings and other standards forums (such as ASCE 7 and BSSC), and publishing the standards upon their approval.

Having served in this role successfully, TMS approached ACI and SEI/ASCE again in 2012 to see if they would consider allowing TMS the right to develop future editions on its own. Through various meetings and discussions, TMS, ACI and SEI/ASCE discussed how this would help TMS gain needed recognition, while also ensuring the groups continue to work together on other areas of common interest. At their meetings in October, ACI’s Board of Direction approved releasing their rights to the MSJC standards, while SEI/ASCE released their rights earlier this fall. As such, TMS will now solely sponsor these standards and will publish and identify them simply as TMS 402 and TMS 602, Building Code Requirements and Specification for Masonry Structures. ACI and SEI/ASCE will continue to resell the standards in the future. In addition, representatives of ACI and SEI/ASCE have been invited to serve on the TMS 402/TMS 602 committee and to be involved in the development of future editions of the standards.

The generosity of ACI and SEI/ASCE in relinquishing their rights to these standards cannot be overstated. By releasing their rights, TMS gains much needed recognition as the developer of the structural masonry standard. It shows their confidence in TMS’s growth, strength, and ability to continue these standards in the future. And it sets the stage for TMS to become the source for masonry standards in the future. TMS gratefully acknowledges the generosity of ACI and SEI/ASCE and their confidence in TMS in continuing the good work they have supported for so many years.

TMS, ACI and SEI/ASCE will continue to collaborate on many other activities in the future. For example, ACI and TMS work together on the development of fire resistance provisions for concrete and masonry in their ACI 216.1/TMS 216 standard. Likewise, ACI and TMS also have a joint committee on the energy efficiency of concrete and masonry structures, and are developing certification programs for masonry testing technicians, utilizing the strengths of both organizations. Further leaders in TMS hope that by the increased recognition TMS will gain as sole sponsor, TMS will be able to grow and become a stronger resource for the masonry community and a better partner to ACI and SEI/ASCE on areas of common interest.