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CIVL 460: Civil Engineering Design

What are standards?

What are standards?

Standards are documents that describe the important features of a product, service or system. For example, CSA Standard Z262.34-00 Ice Hockey Pucks specifies a hockey puck's material, size, mass, hardness at room temperature and test methods.

There are thousand of standards in use around the world. They cover everything from the simplest screw thread to the most complex information technology network.

By applying standards, organizations can help to ensure that their products and services are consistent, compatible, safe and effective. Today, products are assembled from components made in different countries, and are then sold around the world, so standards are more important than ever.

Standards affect nearly every product or service we encounter in our daily lives. Just imagine how difficult and dangerous it would be to change a light bulb if there were not standards concerning electric safety, voltage, and light bulb sizes.

The Standards Council of Canada is a federal Crown corporation with the mandate to promote efficient and effective standardization in Canada. It has accredited four standards development organizations: the Canadian General Standards Board (CGSB), the Canadian Standards Association (CSA), Underwriters' Laboratories of Canada (ULC) and the Bureau de normalisation du Quebec (BNQ).

Two of the most important international agencies for standardization are the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). ISO and IEC standards are often adopted by countries as voluntary standards, or included in national rules and regulations.

Standards prepared by some American associations are used as international standards. Here are some examples: American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE).

The Engineering and Science Library collects standards of CSA, CGSB, ANSI, ISO, ASTM, ASME, SAE, IEEE and many other organizations.

Standards Collections

Indexes to Standards

AISC (American Institute of Steel Construction)

ASTM Standards
Full-text access to active ASTM standards

CSA Online Subscription Service (Canadian Standards Association)
Full-text access to the entire collection of CSA standards and standard-related documents.

Global Engineering Documents
This service indexes national, international and industry standards. Use keywords or document number to identify standards or search for known ones to check currency.

Searches National and International Standards

Search the history of standards and their current status, please note that we do not have subscription to this collection, but it is a good starting point to define the needed standards for your project.

List of Standards compiled by the University of Waterloo
Most standards writing organizations(e.g. ANSI and CSA) maintain indexes to their own standards at their web sites. The University of Waterloo Library keeps a comprehensive list of these organization