Standards in State Library Victoria

Guide to Australian manufacturing standards, accounting standards, food code, building code and design rules

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Daniel Giddens
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Subjects: Business


This research guides explains what constitutes a standard, and identifies and differentiates  between a range of standards and other documentation produced by Standards Australia and other agencies locally and internationally. 

It will also identify and explain what is held on standards within in the collections of State Library Victoria and how to go about finding them through the Library’s catalogue and electronic resources. Further information and other potential access points are provided via agency and other professional gateways where applicable. 

What is a standard?

A standard is a published document which sets out specifications and procedures designed to ensure that a material, product, method or service is fit for its purpose and consistently performs the way it was intended to.

A standard is a means of establishing a common language for manufacturers and producers in defining quality and safety criteria and which can be communicated to users or consumers. Products made or manufactured to an identified or acknowledged standard help to define/determine the acceptability of a product for its designed use.

Standards ensure products manufactured in one country can be sold and used in another, they reduce international trade barriers and increase the size of potential markets.

Standards impact on all aspects of our everyday lives and ensure consistency in quality and performance of the goods and services used by consumers, such as safety switches, seat belts, bathroom fittings, traffic lights,  and electrical installations

Standards can be a range of different types of guidance documents, including:

  • Australian Standards®
  • international standards and joint standards
  • codes
  • specifications
  • handbooks 
  • guidelines

What are the differences between a regulation, code of practice or a standard?

An Australian standard is a national consensus standard which, in itself, is voluntary, but may be adopted into law via a regulation. 

A regulation is an instrument which contains the mandatory obligations under the law.  Failure to comply with the letter of a regulation constitutes an offence. In some instances, some Australian standards are given the status of a regulation.

A code of practice is a non-mandatory evidentiary document. In other words, compliance with a code of practice is only one way of showing that you are meeting your obligations under a particular regulation. 

Standard Organisations