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Finding Engineering Standards and Specifications

Online Databases
In Print

Web sites
Standards FAQ

Online Databases

Industry Standards- Click on any of the following title links and select "IHS Standards Expert"- Our subscription only includes the current standards.

NOTE: We don't subscribe to ANSI standards, UNLESS they are co-sponsored by one of the following groups:

  • AASHTO - American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials
  • ACI - American Concrete Institute
  • API - American Petroleum Institute
  • ASCE - American Society of Civil Engineers
  • ASHRAE - American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers
    • For ASHRAE handbooks type "ashrae handbook" in the keyword search field [older print handbooks can be found in the catalog.]
  • ASME - American Society of Mechanical Engineers
  • ASTM - American Society for Testing and Materials
  • AWS - American Welding Society
  • ICC - International Code Council - NEW
  • IESNA - Illuminating Engineering Society of North America - NEW
  • NFPA - National Fire Protection Association
  • ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code: To access the BPVC you need to click on "ASME BPVC Advantage"

    bpvc screenshot

Search Tips:

  • Do not include dates (ASTM F1511-2005)
  • Do not search for general terms such as "pump standards." Search by document title or number; if you don't have this information type specific words that should appear in the title, for example "titanium welding."
  • If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to e-mail the Engineering Library or call us at (512) 495-4511

IEEE Xplore - provides full-text access to IEEE and IEE standards covering electrical and computer engineering, electronics, computer science, and physics.

SAE Handbook 2008-Ground Vehicle Standards - an authoritative source of ground vehicle standards "J Reports" and is used for design, procurement, and technical guidance. Available only in the University of Texas Libraries on library work stations.

PLEASE NOTE: International Standards (ISO, IEC, ITU, DIN, etc.) are not collected or purchased by the University of Texas Libraries.  For purchase information go to IHS Standards Store  to purchase copies of standards from all national or international organizations and many companies.

In Print at the Library

ACI (American Concrete Institute) Manual of Concrete Practice. Now available online via our IHS subscription

TA 439 A252 V.1- V.6 Most recent edition is available in Engineering Library Reference LIBRARY USE ONLY
Check the catalog for older volumes

International Building Code - International Code Council. Now available online via our IHS subscription

KF 5701 A329 I524 2015 - only available in print in the Architecture Library

International Existing Building Code. Now available online via our IHS subscription

TH 420 I573 2006 - Architecture Library Reference Collection LIBRARY USE ONLY
TH 420 I573 2003 - PCL - Engineering Collection - PCL Stacks 6AA-BB

NACE (National Association of Corrosion Engineers ) International book of standards

TA 462 N334 2001 V.1 - V.2 - PCL - Engineering Collection - PCL Stacks 6AA-BB

Military and Federal Agencies

National Resource for Global Standards (NSSN) - is a search engine for standards.

ASSIST-Quick Search provides direct access to Defense and Federal specifications and standards available in the official DoD repository.

Department of Energy (DOE) Technical Standards Program

NASA Technical Standards Program (NTSP) - The primary mission is the enhancement of NASA's engineering capabilities by providing technical standards required to meet the needs of the Agency.

National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) - NIST, an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, was founded in 1901 as the nation's first federal physical science research laboratory. 

National Information Standards Organization (NISO) - a non-profit association accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), identifies, develops, maintains, and publishes technical standards to manage information in our changing and ever-more digital environment.

Commercial Providers 


Industry Standards FAQ

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." - ISO

Types of standards:

  • Category, type, dimension, structure, equipment, quality, grade, component, performance, durability, or safety 
  • Methods of manufacturing, methods of designing, methods of drawing, methods of using, or methods of operation of safety condition of production
  • Methods of testing, analyzing, appraising, verifying, or measuring 
  • Terms, abbreviations, symbols, marks, preferred numbers, or units 
  • Design, methods of execution, or safety conditions

What are some points to remember when using standards? 

  • Some standards are government-mandated, and others are voluntary.  There may be various penalties associated with not adhering to the standard. 
  • Standards are updated frequently to keep pace with changing technology -- check to see if the standard you are using is the latest version. 
  • Older, superceded versions of standards may be useful in many cases, such as legal disputes concerning the performance of a product that was manufactured when the older standard was in force.  The Engineering Library DOES NOT maintain historical or superceded standards. 

Learn more about standards

Who creates standards?

Standards are created by a wide variety of organizations.  The most common are:

  • Professional societies, such as the IEEE 
  • Industrial or manufacturing associations, such as the American Wire Rope Manufacturers 
  • Governmental agencies or bodies, such as the U.S. Department of Defense
  • Companies, such as General Motors [Company standards are often proprietary and therefore are available only to approved subcontractors.]  
  • International bodies

Many countries also have national standardization organizations.  Country standards are in the language of the country.  English translations are not typically available.

There is also the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).  The ISO is a non-governmental organization that both creates and approves international standards.  ISO deals with all subject areas except electrical and electrotechnical matters; these are handled by the International Electrotechnical Association (IEC).


  • Company standards are often proprietary and therefore are available only to approved subcontractors. 
  • Country standards are in the language of the country.  English translations are not typically available. 


What is a specification?

Specifications are concise statements of requirements for materials, products or services that are to be purchased by an industry or government agency.  Specifications are limited to a specific project or government agency. Standards are specifications that are recognized as the most practical and appropriate current solution, that is agreed upon by a recognized authority, for a recurring problem.