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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.

  • 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 hdbk" in the document number 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
    • Fire Code:  see NFPA 1
    • Life Safety Code: see NFPA 101
    • National Electrical Code: see NFPA 70
  • 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 (Society of Automotive Engineers) Handbook - Available only in the University of Texas Libraries on library work stations. The SAE Handbook is an authoritative source of ground vehicle standards and is used for design, procurement, and technical guidance. This database contains 1,600 SAE J-reports and more than 2,200 document summaries covering current and cancelled documents is also provided.

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

Now available online via our IHS subscription

KF 5701 A329 I524 2012
KF 5701 A329 I524 2009
KF 5701 A329 I524 2006
KF 5701 A329 I524 2003
KF 5701 A329 I524 2000

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 Engineering Library Reference LIBRARY USE ONLY

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

TA 462 N334 2001 V.1 - V.2
Engineering Collection, PCL, 6th Floor

Selected Standards Organizations on the Web

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

American Concrete Institute (ACI)- serves the various components of the concrete industry. It has about one hundred technical committees, and the documents produced by these committees are arranged into five groups in the ACI

American National Standards Institute Online (ANSI)- is a private, nonprofit organization that facilitates the development of voluntary national consensus standards.

American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM)- is composed of 132 technical standards writing committees. They have published approximately 9,100 standard specifications, tests, practices, guides, and definitions for materials, products, systems, and services. ASTM has published standards dealing with metals, flammability, chemical products, lubricants, fossil fuels, textiles, paint, plastics, rubber, pipe, forensic sciences, electronics, energy, medical devices. ASTM standards are available for UT affiliates in IHS.

American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE)- ASHRAE fulfills its mission of advancing heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration to serve humanity and promote a sustainable world through research, standards writing, publishing and continuing education.  ASHRAE standards are available for UT affiliates in IHS.

American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)- serves the technical interests of its members, with a goal toward being increasingly professional in its outlook. ASME standards are available for UT affiliates in IHS.

American Welding Society (AWS) - works to advance the science, technology, and application of welding and related joining disciplines. AWS has published more than 140 standards under the guidelines of the American National Standards Institute. AWS standards are available for UT affiliates in IHS.

IEEE Standards - IEEE standards are available for UT affiliates in IEEE Xplore.

National Association of Corrosion Engineers (NACE) - Develops and disseminates surface preparation standards and other standards relevant to the Corrosion Industry.

National Electrical Manufactures Association (NEMA)- is the trade association through which the electrical industry develops and promotes positions on standards and government regulations.

National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)  - advocates scientifically-based consensus codes and standards, research, and education for fire and related safety issues. The NFPA standards are available for UT affiliates in IHS.

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. NISO standards apply both traditional and new technologies to the full range of information-related needs, including retrieval, re-purposing, storage, metadata, and preservation.

Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE ) - SAE publishes many new, revised, and reaffirmed standards each year in three categories: Ground Vehicle Standards (J-Reports); Aerospace Standards; and Aerospace Material Specifications (AMS).

Underwriters Laboratories (UL) - UL is involved in the U.S. Safety System, developing the UL Mark symbol of safety. UL's activities involve evaluating more than 16,500 different types of products for safety hazards, developing standards to test products, and registering the quality systems of organizations worldwide to various quality standards, including ISO 9000 and QS-9000 standards.

Military and Federal Agencies

ASSIST-Quick Search provides direct access to Defense and Federal specifications and standards available in the official DoD repository. MIL documents are available as free PDF downloads to the public.

Department of Defense (DoD)

Department of Energy (DOE) Technical Standards Program

Department of Labor - Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

NASA Technical Standards Program (NTSP) - is sponsored by the Office of the NASA Chief Engineer. 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. 

International Bodies

British Standards Institution (BSI)

Canadian General Standards Board (CGSB) -  is a federal government organization that offers client-centred, comprehensive standards development and conformity assessment services in support of the economic, regulatory, procurement, health, safety and environmental interests of our stakeholders - government, industry and consumers.

Canadian Standards Association (CSA)

European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) - produce globally applicable standards for Information & Communications Technologies including fixed, mobile, radio, broadcast, internet, aeronautical and other areas.

International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) - The IEC is the world's leading organization that prepares and publishes International Standards for all electrical, electronic and related technologies - collectively known as "electrotechnology".

International Organization for Standardization (ISO) - is a non-governmental organization established in 1947. The mission of ISO is to promote the development of standardization and related activities in the world with a view to facilitating the international exchange of goods and services, and to developing cooperation in the spheres of intellectual, scientific, technological and economic activity.

International Telecommunication Union (ITU) - ITU-T Recommendations (standards), form the foundations of the information and communications technologies of today.

Commercial Providers 

IHS Standards Store - a comprehensive source of hardcopy and PDF technical industry standards and government and military standards. Additionally, IHS publishes a variety of highly acclaimed reference books, manuals, and comprehensive guides.

Techstreet - provides engineering and technical documents from over 55 standards developing nations.

Document Center - specializes in paper copy delivery of specifications and standards. This is technical information used in trade, engineering, manufacturing, and other aspects of commerce. They can be government documents, such as regulations, or industry documents.


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. The most prominent countries with national standards organizations are:

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.