Codes, Standards, and Regulations Information

NISTCodes, standards, and regulations are developed, maintained, and promoted by regulatory agencies, engineering societies, trade organizations, and private companies. Aggregators and other distributors of standards and codes disseminate them. Libraries, websites, mail order outlets, and the issuing organizations themselves are sources from which to obtain both engineering and manufacturing codes, standards, and regulations.

Suppliers may also offer additional services, including:

  • auditing and system assessment
  • certification and qualification
  • consulting and training
  • evaluation and analysis
  • obsolete codes and standards
  • update services


Engineering codes, standards, and regulations all serve to ensure the quality and safety of equipment, materials, and processes. However, they each have distinct characteristics. Engineering codes are enforced by one or more governmental entities and are critical to developing industry practices. Engineering standards ensure that organizations and companies adhere to accepted professional practices, including construction techniques, maintenance of equipment, personnel safety, and documentation. Engineering regulations are government-defined practices to ensure the protection of the public as well as uphold certain ethical standards for professional engineers. These codes, standards, and regulations also address issues regarding licensure, academic qualifications, and how incidents of misconduct should be handled.

Manufacturing codes, standards, and regulations are designed to ensure the quality and safety of manufacturing processes and equipment. Manufacturing standards ensure that the equipment and processes used by manufacturersInternational Standards Organization logo via Wikipedia and factories are safe, reliable, and efficient. Standards are voluntary guidelines, but many manufacturers may be encouraged to adopt standards by a presiding body of professionals. This interchangeability means that companies can conduct business across state or even national borders. Manufacturing regulations are government-defined and usually involve legislation for controlling the practices of manufacturers that affect the environment, public health, or safety of workers. For example, automotive manufacturers in the United States and the European Union are required by law to produce vehicles that meet certain environmental emissions standards.


There are two types of organizations that supply codes, standards, and regulations. Standards developers work with engineers, scientists, and other industry personnel to develop non-biased standards or specification documents that serve an industry and protect the public. Standards developers can be private concerns, trade organizations, or professional societies. Standards providers are distributors of codes, standards, and regulations. Alternatively, they may provide access to a database of standards. Note that the supplier may or may not be the developer of the standards distributed. 

Related Information

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