Engineering Standards

A guide to using the standards available at UTSA


What is a standard?

Simply put, standards make things work properly; by conforming to agreed-upon specifications for products, services and systems, engineers and designers can ensure quality, safety, and efficiency. Further, standards are instrumental in facilitating international trade and streamlining manufacturing processes.

How are standards developed?

 According to the IEEE standards association "The process of developing a standard is typically facilitated by a Standards Development Organization (SDO), which adheres to fair and equitable processes that ensure the highest quality outputs and reinforce the market relevance of standards. SDOs, such as IEEE, IEC, ISO, and others, offer time-tested platforms, rules, governance, methodologies, and even facilitation services that objectively address the standards development lifecycle, and help facilitate the development, distribution, and maintenance of standards."


Standards, Codes, Specifications, and Technical Regulations

A standard is a document that specifies the characteristics of a product, process or service, such as dimensions, safety aspects, and performance requirements.

Code refers to laws or regulations that specify minimum standards to protect public safety and health such as codes for construction of buildings. Voluntary standards are incorporated into building codes

Specifications are a set of conditions and requirements of precise and limited application that provide a detailed description of a procedure, process, material, product, or service for use primarily in procurement and manufacturing. Standards may be referenced or included in specifications.

Technical regulations are mandatory government requirements that define the characteristics and/or the performance requirements of a product, service or process.

Tips for Finding Standards

  • Do not include dates when searching in Document Number
  • Do not search for general terms such as "construction standards"
    • Search by document title or number
    • If you don't have document title or number, use specific keywords that you would expect to appear in the title, for example "fire resistance"
  • Standard revisions and drafts are typically only available to members of the standard working group prior to publication.
  • If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to e-mail Esteban Cantu