What are standards?

Engineering standards are technical document used by industry, professional organizations, and and governing bodies that may contain technical definitions and specifications, and establish norms,requirements, or minimum acceptable levels of safety, quality, and reliability. They assure uniformity and interoperability.  

For instance, The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Codes and Standards contribute to the efficiency and consistency in the design and construction of public works and facilities. These standards direct the design and maintenance of public works such as roads, bridges, water and energy systems as well as public facilities like ports, railways and airports.


Students and faculty who need access to a standard that is not held by the library can place a request by submitting a reference request.  Include as much information as possible in your request. Standards may be received via Interlibrary Loan, or the Library may purchase a copy.

Civil Engineering and Construction/Architecture Standards 


AASHTO - American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials - AASHTO represents all transportation modes: air, highways, public transportation, active transportation, rail, and water. Its primary goal is to foster the development, operation, and maintenance of an integrated national transportation system.

ACI - American Concrete Institute - Standardization is the most rigorous consensus process used by ACI. ACI standards are written in mandatory language. There are typically two types of ACI Standards – design codes and construction specifications.

ASCE - American Society of Civil Engineers - ASCE Standards provide technical guidelines for promoting safety, reliability, productivity, and efficiency in civil engineering. Many of their standards are referenced by model building codes and adopted by state and local jurisdictions. 

The institute (IIBHS) has published an online guide to building codes for all 50 states. 

The Codes and Standards page of the Whole Building Design Guide (National Institute of Building Sciences) provides an overview of the prevailing building codes and construction referenced standards developed by public and private organizations.  

FEMA has published resources to present how building codes are adapted to address hazards created by flooding, wind storms, earthquakes, and hurricanes.   These are link to code adaption, code project management and consumer advice for codes and construction projects.  The Building Codes Strategy | organizes and prioritizes FEMA activities to advance the adoption and enforcement of hazard-resistant building codes and standards for FEMA programs.


DIVISION OF BUILDINGS STANDARDS AND CODES - State agency that proposes, reviews and adapts model building codes authorized by the State Legislature.   
DEPARTMENT OF BUILDINGS - This agency oversees adaption and enforcement of building codes in NYC. 
  • UP CODES - This website provides a searchable databased and free access to all adapted NYC codes.
  • SAFEGUARDS DURING CONSTRUCTION - Chapter 33 NYCBC  Chapter 33 of the New York City Building Code presents requirements for contractors and construction managers to implement during the construction phase to protect workers, pedestrians, and adjacent buildings and property.  It contains extensive prescriptive requirements.  


Referenced Standards are technical standards created by public or private agencies that develop industry-specific standards for materials, installation, testing or safety.   
Referenced standards are incorporated into all adapted NYS codes.  This link is for Chapter 35 of the Building Code of NYS. 
Referenced standards are incorporated into all adapted NYS codes.  This link is for Chapter 35 of the Building Code of NYS. 
Federal Agencies have referenced standards in many agency-based specification guides.  The Whole Building Design Guide has Unified Master Reference list used in referenced in the Unified Facilities Guide Specifications (UFGS) of the Corps of Engineers (USACE), the Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC), the Air Force Civil Engineer Center (AFCEC), and the guide specifications of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
ASTM International is a globally recognized leader in the development and delivery of voluntary consensus standards. The American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) was formed in 1898 and in 2001,   changed its name to ASTM International. The 80+ volume Annual Book of ASTM Standards contains ASTM's 12,000+ standards and is available in print and Online formats.  The general categories for construction standards include adhesives, building performance and attributes, cement and concrete, fire and flammability, geotechnical engineering, masonry, road  and paving, roofing, steel fabrication and construction, thermal insulation and wood.  
NFPA publishes more than 300 consensus codes and standards intended to minimize the possibility and effects of fire and other risks.
Free Access: Access documents at the link to any code or standard.

Electrical and Computer Engineering Standards


Read: The basics of EE Standards - An introduction to how standards play into the EE world. 

Standards Making Bodies in Electrical and Computer Engineering include:

  • ASTM - American Society for Testing Materials
  • CSA - Canadian Standards Association
  • ISO - International Standard Organization
  • IEC - International Electrotechnical Commission
  • IEEE - Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers
  • NEMA - National Electrical Manufacturers Association
  • NISO - National Information Standards Organization
  • NIST - National Institute of Standards and Technology

Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers- and the IEEE Standards Association
IEEE is the world’s largest technical professional organization dedicated to advancing technology for the benefit of humanity. Below, you can find IEEE's mission and vision statements.

IEC International Electrotechnical Commission IEC International Standards reflect the global consensus and distilled wisdom of many thousand technical experts who are delegated by their countries to participate in the IEC. They provide instructions, guidelines, rules or definitions that are then used to design, manufacture, install, test & certify, maintain and repair electrical and electronic devices and systems.

National Electrical Safety Code® (NESC®) sets the ground rules and guidelines for practical safeguarding of utility workers and the public during the installation, operation, and maintenance of electric supply, communication lines and associated equipment.

National Fire Protection Association's Electrical Codes and Standards 
The NFPA® family of codes and standards that deal with electrical issues are as dynamic as the subjects they address—including NFPA 70®, National Electrical Code® (NEC®), NFPA 70B, Recommended Practice for Electrical Equipment Maintenance, and NFPA 70E®, Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace®


Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Standards


Standards Making Bodies in Mechanical and Industrial Engineering include:

  • ANSI - American National Standards Institute 
  • ASME - American Society of Mechanical Engineers
  • ASHRAE - American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers
  • CSA - Canadian Standards Association
  • ISO - International Standard Organization
  • SAE - Society of Automotive Engineers
  • NISO - National Information Standards Organization
  • NIST - National Institute of Standards and Technology
  • OSHA - Occupational Safety and Health Administration

How to Cite Standards in APA Style


Citing Sources

See below for basic guidelines and examples of APA citation style.
APA Style Quiz

Why Cite?

Why you need to cite sources:

  • Citing sources is the only way to use other people’s work without plagiarizing (i.e. if you are using any resource [journal article, book, website, report, interview, etc.], you NEED to give credit to the original source).
  • The readers of your work need citations to learn more about your ideas and where they came from.
  • Citing sources shows the amount of research you’ve done.
  • Citing sources strengthens your work by lending outside support to your ideas.

In-Text Citations

In-text citations give credit to sources in the body of your paper. Use in-text citations when paraphrasing, directly quoting, or using ideas from sources.

  • APA citation style uses the author-date method for in-text citations: Author(s)’ last name and the year of publication for the source should appear in the text.
  • Names may appear either in the sentence itself or in parentheses following the quotation or paraphrase, but the date should always appear in the parentheses, not in the text of your sentence.
  • Include page numbers if you are directly quoting the material. 

See APA How to Format Citations and Helpful Tips

Reference List

Citations in the Reference List must correspond to in-text citations; The word or phrase you use in your in-text citations must be the first thing that appears on the left-hand margin of the corresponding entry in the Reference List.

See APA Sample Title Page and Reference List


    • Separate page labeled “References,” double-spaced, same margins as rest of paper.
    • Indent the second and subsequent lines of citations by 0.5 inches to create a hanging indent.

Author Names

    • Alphabetized by the last name of the first author of each work.
    • Authors' names are inverted (last name, first initial).
    • List all authors of a particular work for up to and including seven authors. If the work has more than seven authors, list the first six authors and then use ellipses (...) after the sixth author's name. After the ellipses, list the last author's name of the work.

Capitalization and Punctuation

    • Capitalize only the first word of a title and subtitle and proper nouns (books, chapters, articles, web pages).
    • Italicize titles of longer works such as books and journals.
    • Do not italicize, underline, or put quotes around the titles of shorter works such as journal articles or essays in edited collections.


Access NoodleTools

NoodleTools is a citation manager that can help you generate and format citations correctly.

  • Select the type of resource you are citing (article, book, website, etc.) and NoodleTools will prompt you to enter required information. A citation is then generated in your selected format.
  • NoodleTools requires an account, so every time you log in your citations will be saved for you.
  • When you are finished entering information, a reference list can be generated for you and exported to MS Word or Google Docs.

Citation Help

For more details and examples of APA citation style, visit the following websites:


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