The British Standard: What Is It & Types? | What Are Design Codes & Standardization Codes?

construction documents

The British Standard: What Is It? | What Are Design Codes & Standardization Codes?

construction documents


In school, students are taught based on a standard that is applicable in their country. Various codes are employed for the design and construction of buildings in the construction industry. Various codes of practice exist, and the practicing body of a country or region is responsible for producing the code of practice for the region based on the prevailing environmental conditions in the area.

In America for instance, the building codes used for construction purposes are the International Building Code (IBC) or the International Residential Code (IRC). There are special bodies set up in America to produce and make civil engineering codes available such as the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), American Concrete Institute (ACI), American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), American National Standards Institute (ANSI), American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), etc.

In India, the applicable code used mainly in civil engineering constructions is the Indian Code (IS code) while in Nigeria, the code taught and used in the design of structures is the British Standard. The Eurocode is also becoming popular nowadays.

Hence, design codes are the codes developed to ensure the safety, reliability and economy of designs as it relates to engineering or other domains of practice. Standardization codes are codes to ensure the standardization, harmonization and uniformity of elements, tools, entities, processes, designs, etc.


British Standards serve as supplementary materials for building theory and practice. Numerous recommendations for minimum material and practice criteria are supported by the Building Regulations. There are four formats in which they can be published:

Codes of Practice (BS Code of Practice for…): These serve as guidelines for best practices in certain construction-related fields, like scaffolding and structural steelwork.

Standard Specifications (BS): Refers to requirements suitable for components and materials like bricks and windows. Goods that meet requirements may bear the Institution’s seal of approval.

Draft for Development (DD): When there is insufficient evidence or information to provide a definite or affirmative suggestion, these are offered in place of a code of practice or standard specification.

Their maximum lifespan is five years, during which time enough information might be gathered to advance the draft to a Standard Specification.

Published Document (PD): These are publications that are hard to find under any of the previous headings.
Committees of experts with a vested interest in the field create standards and codes of practice.

It is important to keep in mind that these guidelines and standards are merely suggestions. But a lot of them are utilized in the Building Regulations and Approved Documents as a minimal requirement that is suitable for certain uses.


The British Standards Institution (Customer Services), 389 Chiswick High Road, London, W4 4AL, or online at, is where copies of the codes and specifications can be gotten.


Sunday Adoga

Sunday Adoga is a civil engineer, musician, producer, blogger, content creator and many more. He wants to use his God given talents for the transformation of the world in his own little way. For sponsorship, partnership, donations, structural & architectural designs, constructions and other business related information, feel free to reach out to him through the contact page.

Leave a Reply