Frequently Asked Questions

What is STI/SPFA?

The Steel Tank Institute/Steel Plate Fabricators Association (STI/SPFA) is a trade association that has as its members fabricators of steel construction products (and their suppliers). Member companies produce steel storage tanks, field erected steel tanks, pressure vessels and heat exchangers and piping and pipelines used in the petrochemical, power generation, food, drug, fuel, wastewater and water transmission industries.

STI/SPFA is an authoritative training resource for testers and fabricators that has its finger on the pulse of industry and its governing agencies. Section, Membership Meetings and Conferences augment its educational programs, seminars and other training, including certifications, to Member companies’ representatives and inspectors and engineers in the industries it serves.

It also works to create, promote and modify standards and recommended practices to influence code and standards-writing organizations, regulatory agencies and policy organizations (AWWA, ASCE, API, ASTM, ASME, EPA, UL SwRI, PEI, NFPA, IFC, OSHA, AISI and others).

It informs the public and consumers about members’ products, services and manufacturing capabilities, provides professional inspections and certifications, develops, licenses and updates shop fabricated tank technologies.

STI/SPFA also monitors, reacts and informs members about global business and economic trends that impact the steel industry and core members’ businesses and customers.

Who is STI/SPFA?

STI/SPFA was formed in February 2004, when the Steel Tank Institute (1916) and the Steel Plate Fabricators Association (1933) combined operations.

What does STI/SPFA do?

STI/SPFA provides a wide range of services to the industry-leading suppliers and fabricators of steel tanks, pressure vessels, specialty products and piping for the petroleum, chemical, food and water storage industries. Through co-operative actions within the special interest Sections, STI/SPFA Members promote the benefits of steel as the material of choice for all of these applications by:

  • Creating new technologies through research & development activities
  • Developing industry standards, recommended practices and procedures which improve product performance and longevity, and promote best practices in manufacturing, quality inspection, installation and testing
  • Promoting the strengths and benefits of steel, through educational outreach programs, certification programs for manufacturers as well as installers and testers, press releases and industry publications
  • Advocating with OSHA, the EPA, and code and regulatory authorities in each market, to ensure the continued ability of the manufacturers to fabricate steel products, and to protect the health and safety of employees and the environment
  • Providing educational opportunities, certification programs and professional recognition to companies achieving outstanding performance in the areas of safety, quality, sales and service to the industry

What is the Field Erected Tank Section?

Members of the Field Erected Tank Section build steel atmospheric Water Tanks of any size, or provide products or services needed by Water Tank manufacturers. The Section sponsors a Water Storage Tank Seminar Series, to acquaint consulting engineers, municipality and utility administrators, and water tank owners & operators with the complex issues surrounding the selection, construction, operation and maintenance of water tanks. The seminar provides in-depth discussion of the latest regulatory and code requirements, examines the issues of life cycle cost including materials selection and coatings, reviews engineering design decisions including cathodic protection and seismic requirements, and installation of cellular antennas. The Section has produced tank design manuals and spreadsheets, and recognizes excellence in tank design through annual awards as well as The Century Club, which honors tanks in excess of 100 years old and still in active service. Section members are heavily involved in code activities with AWWA and NRWA, as well as NACE.

What is the Pipe Section?

The Pipe Section serves the needs of companies producing steel pipe for water transmission. Section members have written technical design manuals and software programs for pipe design. The Section is actively engaged in research and development, including testing for pipe joint efficiencies and developing recommendations for coating procedures on internal welds after backfill is in place. The Section is producing an educational web seminar on piping. The Pipe Audit Certification Program is an intensive certification administered through a third party inspection firm, which provides an essential industry credential for pipe fabrication companies and accessory fabricators. Section members are heavily involved in standards writing with ASCE, AWWA and SWPMTAC.

What is the Pressure Vessel Section?

The Pressure Vessel and Special Fabrication Section serves the needs of manufacturers producing pressure vessel and specialty fabricated items for use in the petroleum, chemical, food and hazardous materials industries. Bi-annual conferences enable Section members to network, tour supplier facilities such as steel plants and welding supplier’s operations, and to learn about construction forecasts and opportunities from leading industry engineering firms. Section members are heavily involved with ASME code work.

What is the Shop Fabricated Atmospheric Tank Section?

The Shop Fabricated Atmospheric Tank Section serves the needs of companies producing steel atmospheric tanks up to 70,000 gallons, for underground or aboveground storage of petroleum and hazardous liquids, and oil/water separators. Technologies include essential features such as corrosion prevention, secondary containment, monitoring capability, and fire protection. Licensing of technologies, a mandatory quality assurance inspection program and annual educational seminars, as well as certification programs for AST Tank Inspectors and Cathodic Protection Testers are available through this Section. Many industry-specific standards have been developed, as well as technical papers, design software and spreadsheets.

Who are Affiliate Members of STI/SPFA?

The Affiliate Members of STI/SPFA provide technical expertise, products, materials and/or services, to the steel tank, pipe and vessel manufacturing industry. Affiliate Members of STI/SPFA include the major steel suppliers, coating manufacturers and fabricators of components, fittings and testing equipment and other products, as well as the providers of engineering, inspection and testing services, and providers of insurance coverage to the steel fabricating industry. The group actively encourages participation in annual meetings, recommends expert speakers and gives technical presentations. Affiliate Members sponsor educational events, offer intensive tours of their manufacturing facilities, and provide invaluable technical expertise and support in the manufacturing process as well as in the development of standards for the industry. Affiliate Members are actively involved in participation with relevant industry code authorities including AISI, NACE, SSPC and NFPA, etc.

How do I Join?

Companies must meet membership requirements specified in our Membership Applications and submit to STI/SPFA at All applications are screened by the Member Services Committee as part of the membership review process and formally approved by the STI/SPFA Board of Directors.

Can I place an ad in Tank Talk?

STI/SPFA does not include advertising materials in any of its publications. Companies are invited to submit technical articles for consideration of publication in Tank Talk. Send your completed article to

Can I get a Reciprocal Link to your Site?

STI/SPFA links only to its members, or to industry code and regulatory agencies which are directly connected with our areas of interest and dedication.

Can I purchase your mailing list?

STI/SPFA does not sell its membership list.

“STI branded technologies have allowed Hall Tank Company to be recognized as an industry leading tank manufacturer.”

Robert Hall
Hall Tank Company

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