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ME 322: Engineering Design VI

Introduction to Codes & Standards

What are Standards?

Standards are a set of technical definitions and guidelines that function as instructions for designers, manufacturers, operators, or users of equipment.

What are Codes?

Codes are laws or regulations that specify minimum standards to protect health and safety.

What are Technical Regulations?

Technical regulations are a mandatory government requirement that defines the characteristics and/or performance requirements of a product, service or process.

Why are Standards, Codes and Regulations important?

  • They ensure a common language is being used relating to products and practices
  • They protect the public from questionable designs, products, practices and/or services
  • They provide a legal, enforceable means to evaluate the acceptability of products, practices and/or services

Standards and codes can be national or local.

Codes and Standards: USA and International

Codes and Standards in the USA

Within the USA, standards are developed by the federal government as well as professional societies, trade associations and other Standard Development Organizations (SDOs).

The official coordinator of Standard Development Organizations (SDOs) and standards is the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).

Codes and Standards outside the USA

Outside of the USA, standards are also government-based. SDOs exist in most major industrial nations and some are shared between countries.

The largest international SDOs are:


Other Resources for Codes and Standards (from ANSI)

  • Downloadable learning modules
  • Why standards matter
  • US standards system
  • Legal issues

ASTM Learning Modules

ANSI Webstore

IHS Markit Standards Store

The source for enginering specifications, standards, manuals and technical publications.


Codes and Standards at the Samuel C. Williams Library

Use the Codes and Standards Toolbox to link to databases and websites that can help with research into Codes and Standards.