New Australian Bridge Code helps to build Australia

31 March 2017

  • New 9 part Australian Bridge Code published today
  • Comprehensive revision incorporating international modern design practices
  • New parts for rehabilitation and strengthening of existing bridges and timber bridge design

Through collaboration with Austroads, Standards Australia’s technical committee BD-090, Bridge Design, revised all seven parts of the 2004 Bridge design series, also known as the ‘Bridge Code’. The highly anticipated AS(/NZS) 5100:2017, Bridge Design series was published today.

The 2017 series addresses areas such as changes in the Australian climate, sustainability and safety-in-design. New bridge design loads such as light rail, fire, ship impact and loads from natural disasters including urban flooding were also introduced to reflect the needs of bridge designers. Rail loading provisions have been extensively revised to align with accepted international practice.

Material in the 2004 version was strongly focussed on steel and concrete. The 2017 revision extended this to include composite, rehabilitation material and engineered timber. Other changes to note, Part 6 has become a joint document with Standards New Zealand. Parts 8 and 9 are two new documents to the series, which cover rehabilitation and strengthening of existing bridges and timber bridges.


Chair of BD-090, Adj Professor Wije Ariyaratne explained why the new Bridge Code matters for Australia.

“Australia is unique: a continent, an island and a country with an enormous land mass where most freight is transported by road over large distances. Our design and freight vehicle loads are the highest in the world.

“Application of the AS(/NZS) 5100 series will result in consistent, durable, sustainable and value for money designs and technical management of bridges harmonised across Australia and New Zealand.

“I am proud to say that the new Bridge Code will be one of the most comprehensive bridge design codes in the world,” said Professor Ariyaratne.

Austroads Chief Executive, Nick Koukoulas, emphasised the importance of the Bridge Code for industry.

“A consistent harmonised approach to design and management of our extensive bridge stock, incorporating the latest advances in knowledge and technology, is essential for optimised asset management and national freight efficiency”, Mr Koukoulas said.

Standards Australia CEO Dr Bronwyn Evans explained the magnitude of this achievement for Australia.

“The Bridge Code is important not only to bridge design engineers but to the entire Australian community because of the economic and social impacts that durable and costeffective bridge designs have on the nation.

“The committee significantly expanded the scope and identified new parts necessary to comprehensively address modern bridge design and place Australia in a position of leadership. I applaud everyone involved in this significant achievement,” said Dr Evans.

Standards Australia and Austroads would like to acknowledge the efforts of BD-090 and the participating members of its working groups who were responsible for drafting and developing the AS(/NZS) 5100:2017 series.


Torrin Marquardt

Torrin Marquardt

International Engagement Manager

+612 9237 6159

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