Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment: Standards

This guide brings together resources specific to students, staff and researchers from the Faculty of Computing, Engineering, and the Built Environment.

In a survey which included 77 engineers in industry, government or government research laboratories, Kaufman et al. (2019) reported that standards and manuals and specifications were more important to the work of the engineers than journal articles or conference papers.

This page includes information about British standards and international standards (ISO, IEC, IUT, IEEE, SMPTE, SAE, ...).

British Standards

BSI is the UK national standards body. Standards can help improve business performance and manage risks while enabling them to operate in a more efficient and sustainable way.

You can access standards through British Standards Online

The examples of British standard listed below have been used in projects and for coursework:

  • Acoustics: BS ISO 23591:2021. Acoustic quality criteria for music rehearsal rooms and spaces.
  • Biometrics: BS ISO/IEC 19795-1:2021. Information technology. Biometric performance testing and reporting. Principles and framework.
  • Civil engineering: BS EN 12350-1: 2009. Testing Fresh Concrete.
  • Construction and Building: BS EN 1995-1-2:2004. Eurocode 5. Design of timber structures. General. 
  • Engineering: BS EN ISO 6410-3:2021. Technical drawings. Screw threads and threaded parts. Simplified representation.
  • Facilities Management: BS EN ISO 41014:2020. Facility management. Development of facility management strategy.
  • Fire: BS 7974:2019. Application of fire safety engineering principles to the design of buildings. Code of practice.
  • Information Management: BS 7799-3:2017. Information security management systems. Guidelines for information security risk management.
  • Manufacturing and processing: BS EN ISO/ASTM 52941:2020. Additive manufacturing. System performance and reliability. Acceptance tests for laser metal powder-bed fusion machines for metallic materials for aerospace application.
  • Networking: BS ISO/IEC/IEEE 8802-3:2021. Telecommunications and exchange between information technology systems. Requirements for local and metropolitan area networks. Standard for Ethernet.
  • Quality and continuous improvement: BS EN ISO 9001:2015. Quality management systems. Requirements.
  • Security: BS EN ISO/IEC 27001:2017. Information technology. Security techniques. Information security management systems. Requirements.

International standards

International Organization for Standardization (ISO)

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has been developing international standards that support innovation and provide solutions to global challenges since its inception in 1946. ISO's best selling standards are those relating to:

  • Quality management (ISO 9000)
  • Information security management (ISO/IEC 27001)
  • Environmental management (ISO 14000 family)
  • Food safety management (ISO 22000)
  • Occupational health and safety (ISO 45000 family).

All of these have been adopted as British standards and you can download them from British Standards Online. However, there are some ISO standards which have not been adopted (search the ISO store).


The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC)

The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) provides instructions, guidelines, rules or definitions that are then used to:

  • design
  • manufacture
  • install
  • test and certify
  • maintain and repair electrical and electronic devices and systems

Most of these have been adopted as British standards.


International Telecommunication Union (ITU)

International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is a United Nations agency publishing standards in the field of broadcasting, networking and all aspects of communications including telecommunications and radio.

The ITU recommendations were originally approved every four years at the ITU's plenipotentiary conference. These recommendations are now freely available. There is a full text search facility for the recommendations in the Radio-communications series (ITU-R).

The relationship between BSI and these organisations is detailed in this article by Dr. Martin Kidman.

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)

IEEE publishes global standards which promote innovation, enable the creation and expansion of international markets and help protect health and public safety in subjects such as:

  • networking
  • vehicle electronics
  • cybersecurity
  • blockchain technology
  • software and security
  • power and energy
  • smart grid
  • robotics and automation
  • digital health.

You can download their standards from the IEEE Xplore website.

Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE)

SMPTE provides a vital technical framework to the motion picture, television and digital media industries. Its 800-plus standards, recommended practices and engineering guidelines touch nearly every piece of motion-imaging content.

The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE)

Standards from SAE are used to advance the aerospace, automotive, and commercial vehicle industries throughout the world.

SAE standards used to be published in the annual SAE Handbook, the last edition of which is the 2004 edition in three volumes which is held in the rolling stacks in Curzon Library at 629.23/Sae. They are now published as separate documents. You can browse the standards to check on the current edition using SAE Mobilus

Other international standards

You may find reference to standards from national organisations: DIN, AFNOR, ANSI and ASTM are examples which are not freely available.

Some standards, particularly in computer science, are freely available. These include:

  • Standards from the Internet Engineering Task Force in the shape of their request for comments (RFCs) which contain technical specifications and organisational notes for the internet.
  • NIST standards, guidelines, recommendations and research on the security and privacy of information and information systems including cybersecurity.
  • European Broadcasting Union Recommendations which provide guidance to the industry on technical choices in media production and distribution.