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Engineering: Engineering Standards

Standars and Codes

"What is a standard?

A standard is a document that provides requirements, specifications, guidelines or characteristics that can be used consistently to ensure that materials, products, processes and services are fit for their purpose" (From the International Organization of Standards.)

ABOUT CODES AND STANDARDS (From  "A Reporter's Guide to Fire and the NFPA")
"The earliest building code is thought to have been developed sometime between 1955 B.C. and 1913 B.C., during the reign of King Hammurabi of Babylon. The code didn’t specify how to build a building - but laid out the consequences of not building well. If a house fell and killed the owner or his child, then the builder, or his child, would be slain in retaliation.

Today’s codes are more elaborate, and less punitive. But like Hammurabi’s code, they express society’s will on a particular technical issue, specifying a desired outcome.

  • code is a model, a set of rules that knowledgeable people recommend for others to follow. It is not a law, but can be adopted into law.
  • standard tends be a more detailed elaboration, the nuts and bolts of meeting a code.


One way of looking at the differences between codes and standards is that a code tells engineers what is needed to be done, and a standards tells engineers how to do it. A code may say that a building must have a fire-alarm system. The standard will spell out what kind of system and how it must work. The NFPA has few codes; most of its documents are standards."


ACCA (Air Conditioning Contractors of America) produces technical manuals. Most of the manuals meet ANSI stanadards.

The library has four manuals available. They are on a 2 Day Checkout Period. Go to the Circulation Desk on the 2nd floor to request the books and to check them out.


ANSI (American National Standards Institute), which was founded in 1918, covers many areas, such as "acoustical devices to construction equipment, from dairy and livestock production to energy distribution".

Obtain a free copy of a standard if a student and professor can demonstrate how it will be used in a classroom design. 


"ASHRAE was formed as the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers by the merger in 1959 of American Society of Heating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHAE) founded in 1894 and The American Society of Refrigerating Engineers (ASRE) founded in 1904."

There are 1990s standards in the Library. There are older ASHRAE standards in RBN 1001. For more recent ones, consult this site and then contact the STEM librarian about obtaining the latest version through interlibrary loan.

A professor can order examination copies of certain publications, such as some guides or manuals.


ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers) started publishing standards in 1914. These self-paced courses teach students about standards.

The ASME standards are listed here. It may be possible to obtain a copy through Interlibrary Loan.


ASTM's former name was the American Society for Testing and Materials

The library has the 2013 print version of these standards in the Reference Section. The books can't be checked out, but scans or copies are permitted.

Houston Engineering Center students can read the 2003 print versions in the HCC Library. RBN 1001 has the 2001 print versions.

Distance students can request a 2013 copy of a standard through Interlibrary Loan.

This site contains the latest ones. Contact the STEM librarian about a possible request through Interlibrary Loan.

Institute of Electrical & Electronic Engineers

Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers - They work in other areas, such as health informatics and transportation.

Access is available by logging in with the UT Tyler username and password. If the standard is not free, contact the STEM librarian.

The 13 Color Books have been used in the industrial and commercial fields. It is being replaced by 3000 or "dot" standards.

The upgrade will take many years, because portions of each color book are being implemented into a new 3000 standard. For example,  "P3000.x Power Systems Design series of standards" will combine elements from the existing "Gray, Red, and White, Books." It is estimated that seventy 3000 series standards will be created.


ISO (International Standards Organization) produces international standards. The headquarters is in Geneva, Switzerland.

ISO has produced books about using standards and its benefits.

Approximately 19,000 ISO standards are available. These standards might be available through Interlibrary Loan. Contact the STEM librarian for more information.

National Fire Protection Association - Fire, Electrical, and Building Safety Issues

National Fire Protection Association -  Access the codes and standards at no cost, but registration is required. The latest version of JAVA must be installed in order to read these documents.

2014 National Electrical Code -  Electrical Wiring & Installation - Free access but registertation is required.

United States Military Specifications (MIL-SPECS)

Mil Specs are requirements, developed by the Department of Defense of the United States Government, for products that are made for the armed forces. The ASSIST database is used to search for MIL Specs.