Civil and Environmental Engineering

Civil Engineering Standards and Codes (including CSA)

Note: Previous/historical versions of these standards are available through the above links. Some CSA standards are also included in the relevant design handbook, which we may have in print - see the other box on this page.

Note: We generally do not have electronic access to ACI concrete standards, but we can usually get a copy! Email me for guidance.

National Building Code (NBCC) and Ontario Building Code

Current codes - electronic access

About building codes

The National Building Code of Canada, along with other related codes like the National Fire Code and National Plumbing Code, lays out the minimum safety and performance requirements that buildings must meet. They are frequently consulted by engineers and architects. It is updated every five years by large committees of working professionals and researchers, coordinated by the National Research Council. (If you are interested, there are more details on the process here). Canada has one of the world's most respected building codes. Currently, for example, the building codes are being updated for 2020 to ensure buildings are designed for potential future impacts of climate change.

The building codes are not legally-binding until they are adopted by each province, which can take several years. Ontario and other large provinces choose to write their own code from scratch, while still largely following the National Building Code template.


What are standards?

A standard is a document that provides requirements, specifications, guidelines or characteristics that can be used consistently to ensure that materials, products, processes and services are fit for their purpose. International standards ensure that products and services are safe, reliable and of good quality.

Source: ISO Standards


The costs associated with the development, publication, and distribution of standards are significant expenses, which is why standards organizations do not provide access to standards for free. In addition, there are copyright restrictions on standards that typically prohibit users from copying, printing, or reproducing any part of the document. These restrictions can make it difficult for libraries to provide access to standards.

Sources: Telecommunications Industry Association Standards Education and Resources and
How to best use IEC and ISO Standards: a user guide on licensing options and respecting copyright