ANSI - American National Standards Institute
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Voluntary Standards Cover the Spectrum: From Graphic Symbols to Steel Structures

New York, Mar 28, 2005

In an effort to communicate the vital role that standards play in daily life, ANSI Online will publish, on an ongoing basis, a series of snapshots of the diverse standards initiatives undertaken in the global and national standards arena, many of which are performed by ANSI members and ANSI-accredited standards developers.

Graphic Symbols
Graphic symbols quietly guide us through our daily life. Graphic symbols may be in print or drawing format and are defined as a visually perceptible figure used to communicate information independent of the language of the viewer. Their subjects range from quality of life – such as symbols restricting smoking, littering, or loud music – to guidance, whether it is assembling a product or directing motorists to the local hospital. Perhaps one of the most important subjects covered by graphic symbols is safety, with symbols ranging from school crossings, work zones, or more product specific symbols that alert the user to potentially hazardous materials.

ANSI member, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers, Inc. (ASHRAE) recently introduced a new standard, ANSI/ASHRAE 134-2005, Graphic Symbols for Heating, Ventilating, Air-Conditioning and Refrigerating Systems, that covers graphic symbols for heating, ventilating, air-conditioning systems and equipment, including related controls. The standard identifies graphic symbols by name, configuration and descriptions, including recommended application where appropriate. For additional information please visit:

Steel Structures
When transforming a blueprint into a home, an office or a skyscraper, there may be hundreds of building and construction codes involved. Standards, regulations, and state and federal legislation all have a place in the construction of various structures, and many of these are specialized by geography, materials, or desired use. The American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) is an ANSI member and accredited standards developer that serves the structural steel design community and construction industry in the United States. It has recently released ANSI/AISC 360-2005, Specification for Structural Steel Buildings.

This specification is a consensus document that provides a uniform practice in the design and construction of structural-steel-framed buildings. It is based upon the limit-states philosophy, which is a condition of a structure at which the structure ceases to fulfill the desired design function, including both strength and serviceability criteria. ANSI/AISC 360 is the result of the consensus deliberations of a committee of structural engineers with wide experience, representing a wide geographical distribution throughout the United States. The committee includes an approximately equal number of engineers in private practice and code agencies, engineers involved in research and teaching, and engineers employed by steel fabricating and producing companies. For more information, visit

This "standards snapshot" was made possible by the steady stream of press information disseminated by standards developing organizations to keep the ANSI Federation abreast of their achievements. As the Institute receives news of published voluntary standards and voluntary standards initiatives with broad appeal and impact, similar articles will be posted to the ANSI Online News page. Please continue to forward your updates to the Communications and Public Relations department at (f) 212.398.0023 or (e) For additional information on the wide array of standards applications, see the Media Tips and Case Studies section of the Institute's website.

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