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Codes and Reference Standards Subscription Services

Codes and Reference Standards Subscription Services

Codes and Reference Standards Subscription Services

The purpose of this thread is to inquire about what cost effective means exist for small business to have access current industry codes and reference standards.

I am a PE currently working for a large company. As a PE, I rely heavily upon reference standards and codes. My current company subscribes to the IHS online library of codes and standards -- which is great...for a large company where the whole company benefits from sharing one individual's purchase of a standard. For an individual practitioner I do not see that this service provides any real benefit due to the fact that each standard must be purchased.

I would like to form my own small company of my own. I am preparing a business plan. As a part of the business plan I am attempting to estimate start up and operating expenses. One of the anticipated expenses will be the cost of codes and standards (e.g., ASTM, ASME, etc.). I have done some quick internet searching but have not revealed a cost effective service for the independent practitioner.

What approaches to codes and reference standards libraries have the small business owners out there seen/used/liked/disliked?

Thank you in advance!

RE: Codes and Reference Standards Subscription Services

I am a small business owner. I buy the codes/standards necessary for my business. I dislike the subscription services for two reasons....they are not cost effective for my business and for some of them, once you start you have to keep going. As an example, R.S. Means subscription for estimating. When your subscription expires, all previous versions of the software are not useable any longer. Unfortunately, RSM is one of the more recognized and accepted methods, so for forensic purposes, I continue to be held hostage by their subscription "service".

RE: Codes and Reference Standards Subscription Services

I refuse to participate in the subscription model. We do not purchase any codes by means other than "download and keep forever" and physical copies.

Like Ron we simply buy codes we need the need arises.

RE: Codes and Reference Standards Subscription Services

I only buy codes too. Its a significant cost, but its doable. There is an initial investment of maybe $2000, and after that maybe $400/yr to keep up with updates and the gradual expansion of your library.

One tip: buy second hand books on Amazon. It is hard to get the latest codes that way, but for example the NYC Building code references the 2002 version of ASCE07 which is available on Amazon for ~$20. Also, some codes are available on the internet for free these days.

RE: Codes and Reference Standards Subscription Services

Ron, CELinOttawa, glass99:
Thank you each for your helpful feedback. I really appreciate it. It seems as though the path forward for the small business is pretty straightforward and sensible in this regard.
- Buy (don't rent) the codes and reference standards, as necessary for the business only.
- To the extent practical, purchase once and keep forever model (a philosophical personal favorite approach of mine in all aspects of life).
- ball park budget of $2,000 + $400/yr updates (this is especially helpful to the business plan - Thank you).
- Buy second hand references on Amazon whenever possible (I will add that I have also had some good fortune with abebooks.com where they sell second hand books, including engineering references.)

Thank you! I really appreciate the insights/feedback!!!!

RE: Codes and Reference Standards Subscription Services

I forget what we used to pay for IHS, but it was in the 5 digits of dollars PER YEAR, which was hard to prove cost-effective. But, only in a ultra-large company did it even begin to make sense.

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