A standard is defined as a document, established by consensus and approved by a recognized body, that provides for common and repeated use, rules, guidelines or characteristics for activities or their results.
Standards are varied. They can exist for things (e.g. light bulbs) and, increasingly, for making things happen (e.g. services) but mainly standards represent an indispensable level of know-how in any given area. In the context of public contracts or international trade, standards are essential to simplify and clarify contractual relations. Standards are often referred to by their numbers. Before each number are letters identifying the standards body involved: eg BS..., IS..., ISO..., EN...
A number of national and international organisations develop and maintain standards and publish them in print or electronic form.
NSAI operates under the National Standards Authority of Ireland Act, 1996, on behalf of the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment for the publication of national standards. A search facility at the site allows information on particular standards to be traced by number or by title.
British Standards Institution (BSI Group)
British Standards is the National Standards Body of the UK, responsible for facilitating, drafting, publishing and marketing British Standards and other guidelines. The link BSI SHOP on the web page provides a search facility for information on specific standards.
ISO is a network of the national standards institutes of 148 countries, on the basis of one member per country, with a Central Secretariat in Geneva, Switzerland, that coordinates the system. ISO is able to act as a bridging organization in which a consensus can be reached on solutions that meet both the requirements of business and the broader needs of society, such as the needs of stakeholder groups like consumers and users. The site includes both Search and Extended Search facilities for standards.
CEN, the European Committee for Standardization, was founded in 1961 by the national standards bodies in the European Economic Community and EFTA countries.
Now CEN is contributing to the objectives of the European Union and European Economic Area with voluntary technical standards which promote free trade, the safety of workers and consumers, interoperability of networks, environmental protection, exploitation of research and development programmes, and public procurement.
A search facility is available via the Standards and Drafts link on the site.
The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) is the leading global organization that prepares and publishes international standards for all electrical, electronic and related technologies. These serve as a basis for national standardization and as references when drafting international tenders and contracts. Information on specific standards can be traced via the search facility on the site.