Skip to Main Content

Standards & Codes: Get Started

About Standards

What is a Standard?

A standard is a document that prescribes or recommends performance, product characteristics, designs or management objectives. If you want more details you may want to read Standards Systems: A Guide for Regulators from the Standards Council of Canada.

Standards are the reason that:

  • A lightbulb made in China for GE fits in a socket made in Thailand for Phillips and works using North American power.
  • A steam boiler won’t blow up when operated at specified temperature & pressures and will vent if it does exceed those specifications.
  • It's possible to assemble a computer from components manufactured by many companies and to use software written by other companies and have it work.
  • A test carried out by a lab in Vancouver is comparable to one done in Montreal.
  • The cable pulling your elevator box up to the 10th floor doesn’t snap under a half load.



Standards might also be called Recommended Practices, Guidelines, or Military Specifications (aka Mil Specs).

Standards for buildings & construction are often called codes. However, other standards might be called codes, such as the ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel code.


About Standard Numbers

Most standards follow a similar number format. They will look something like this ABC D123.56-07where

ABC is the organization that developed the standard
D is a broad subject category (not always present)
123.56 is a document/standard number
07 indicates the standard was approved in 2007

For example,

  • CSA B44.2-10 refers to the CSA standard B44.2 (covering maintenance of elevators and similar devices) the edition issued in 2010.
  • ABC D123.56-95 R07 refers to 1995 standard was reviewed in 2007 and determined that no changes were needed.


Submit questions, problems, and feedback to library staff

Link to Ask Us service

Your librarian

Profile Photo
Ryan Ball
Davis Centre Library
519 888 4567 ext. 42489