Standards are technical specifications or other requirements applied to products, processes and services to ensure safety and reliability. These specifications may be related to:
Recognized bodies develop standards with input from interested parties. Some standards are incorporated into law, and others are followed voluntarily.
Codes are standards incorporated into law by governments at the national, regional or local level.
Model codes, by contrast, are developed by standards bodies and can be adopted or customized by governments. Examples of model codes include the International Building Code and Canada's National Building, Fire, Plumbing and Energy Codes.
Standards are developed by national and international organizations. Generally, a single national body coordinates the process while other institutions develop the content of the standard.
The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is a network of national standards organizations; it facilitates the development of international standards in diverse fields. The two other major international standards organizations focus on particular types of standards:
The Standards Council of Canada coordinates standards development by accrediting Canadian Standards Development Organizations (SDOs) and approves certain standards as National Standards of Canada ("Standards"). The accredited SDOs are:
In the United States, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) oversees the development of standards by interested parties and facilitates common agreements.
Other major U.S. standards organizations include:
Source: ANSI. Standards activities overview.