Low elastic modulus of aluminum alloy gives prominence to lateral and local buckling of members, especially when thin walled sections are adopted to save material usage. Under certain conditions of loads and constraint, local buckling would occur in aluminum beams. A numerical study to assess the local stability of aluminum I section beams is presented in this paper. The study focused on two aspects: the local buckling of aluminum flange plate under compression, the local buckling of aluminum web plate under bending and shear. An extensive parameter analysis including width-to-thickness ratio, initial imperfection, material constitutive relation and restriction effect from adjacent plates was carried out with the purpose of extracting several governing parameters and investigating their effects on the local buckling of aluminum plate. Based upon the results of finite element analysis (FEA), a new design method in connection with the local stability of aluminum I section beams has been developed. By virtue of the proposed design method, three key indicators that include the critical value of width-to-thickness ratio to prevent local buckling of aluminum flange plate under compression, the local stability of aluminum web plate under bending/shear and the bearing capacity of aluminum I section beams under the condition that the post buckling strength of web is taken into account, could be obtained to provide more rational and efficient designs. The proposed design method is different from the current Eurocode but acts in accordance with Chinese code for design of steel structures (Chinese steel code) in order to satisfy applicability.