Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Standards and Codes

An introduction to codes and standards: what they are, where they come from, how to get them.

Standards are Complicated!

Finding standards can be complicated and confusing. There are thousands of standards from a mind-boggling array of sources. You'll encounter cryptic numbering systems and frequent changes.

Please don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions about standards. I worked in industry for many years and have a lot of experience with standards.

See my contact information on the left side of this page.

Paul Hottinger
Engineering Librarian

Codes and Regulations

When standards are adopted by a governing body they become part of the regulatory code of that body. These standards (regulations or code) are no longer voluntary and must be adhered to by the affected parties. For example the Code of Federal Regulations is the codification of standards accepted and made into law by the U.S. government.

Engineers frequently encounter building codes. See the Building Codes tab of this guide for more information. provides a thorough explanation of the difference between standards and codes/regulations: