This paper investigates the load–deflection behaviour of shape memory alloy (SMA) reinforced concrete (RC) beams through a parametric study. The effects of the cross-section height, cross-section width, reinforcement ratio, reinforcement modulus of elasticity, and concrete compressive strength were considered. The sectional analysis methodology was adopted to predict the moment–curvature relationship for the considered sections. Deflection was then estimated using the moment–area method. The applicability of this method for SMA RC beams was demonstrated through comparisons with available experimental results. Based on the results of the parametric study, an assessment of the available models for deflection analysis of SMA RC beams was conducted. The accuracy and reliability of the different models were evaluated, and suitable models were recommended. A companion paper provides the development of an artificial intelligence based model that can predict the deflection of SMA RC beams more accurately than existing models.