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Civil Engineering

Introduction to Standards, Codes, and Regulations

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." (ISO, 2013) A code is a collection of standards; for example, the Canadian National Building Code. Standards and codes that are incorporated into law are often referred to as regulations.

Organizations that develop standards are called standards developing organizations (SDOs) or standards setting organizations (SSOs). This includes organizations, committees, companies, governmental agencies, and other groups. There are hundreds of thousands of standards and codes in force worldwide.

Standards apply to everything from Christmas trees to nuclear power stations and children's toys to medical scanners. Standards are why a smartphone made in South Korea will work on a North American cell phone network.

For more information on Standards and Codes, please visit our Standards and Codes LibGuide. 

Regulations are the rules used to carry out the intent of statutes (Acts) enacted by the Parliament of Canada. They are instruments of legislative power and have the force of law. Regulations contain more specific guidelines than Acts. These can include definitions, licensing requirements, performance specifications, exemptions, forms and other details. 


Major Standards Collections

Queen's subscribes to several standards collections of interest to biomedical engineers. Make sure to also check Omni for standards published by other organizations.


Use Omni to search the library's catalogue for books, articles, videos, maps, government documents, music, data sets, open access materials, and more. You can discover materials that are not available at Queen's but that you can freely request either within Omni or through interlibrary loan. 


Regulations, Guidelines, and Environmental Assessments

  • Municipal by-laws: for most municipal jurisdictions find by-laws and regulations at the municipal web site, for example the City of Kingston website includes the city property standard

Federal Regulations

  • Use CanLII to find federal and provincial legislation and regulations.

Ontario Regulations