BUILDING SYSTEMS AND CONCEPTS
L. K. Stevens
A Standard may have quite different functions depending on its objectives and regulatory standing. It may primarily be an advisory source of information on currently accepted practice for use by designers or it may serve as a mandatory whole or part of an enforceable National Standard, Building Code or Building Standard Law of a building regulatory system.
There are several hundred bodies concerned with the development of Standards across the world. Some of these are national government controlled bodies while others are associations of engineering or technical institutions with varying levels of accreditation and authority.
No Standard can be solely a technical product but will reflect in some way the national concerns and aspirations relating to economic, cultural, geographical, climatic and political factors as well as current and previous historical alliances and technological development.
As a result, there has often been a concentration on local or regional issues in the development of national Standards particularly in long established industries such as building and engineering. This has led to substantial differences both in broad philosophical content as well as in detail, for reasons which may now be irrelevant. For example, slightly different rail gauges may have seemed logical for unconnected communities but are now a serious and expensive problem. Similarly, different electricity supply voltages and the multiplicity of power point sockets now appear as quite indefensible anachronisms.