The purpose of standardization

The standards and the standardization activity regarded by ISO

1. The standards and the standardization
1.1 What is a standard?
1.1.1 The definition of a standard

The guide ISO/CEI 2: 1996 defines the standard as being a document, established by consensus and approved by a recognizer, which assures, for common and repeated use, directive lines or characteristics for activities and their results, with the purpose of obtaining the optimal order degree within a certain context.

1.1.2 The content of a standard

The standards vary as subject, volume and character. These are including more disciplines: beginning with all the technical, economical, and social data of the human activity and finishing with all the basic disciplines like language, mathematics and physics.

  • They are coherent and consequent: the standards are developed by the technical committees which are being coordinated by a specialized body that assures the overtaking of the problems between different activity domains and different political policies;
  • Resulting from the participation: the standards reflect the results of the common activity of the  involving components and are validated by consensus to represent all the relevant interests: producers, users, laboratories, authorities, consumers, etc;
  • They are active processes: the standards are based on real experience and are conducting to material results in practice (products – also goods, as well as services, test methods etc.); they define a compromise between the highest levels of progress and the economical time constraints;
  • They are up to date: the standards are revised periodically or after the circumstances are imposing to they actuality , and by this they are evolving together with the social and technological process;
  • They have reference status  in commercial contracts and in the court of law in the case of a dispute;
  • They have national or international recognition: the standards are documents that are recognized as valid in the national level, regional or international, depending the situation;
  • They are available for everyone: standards can be consulted and acquisitioned without restriction.

As a general rule, the standards are not obligatory; they are having a volunteer application. In certain cases, the implementation can be obligatory (like in security fields, electrical installations or public contracts).

1.1.3 The role of the standards

A standard represents a level of experience and technology which makes the presence of the industry in the development of the standards undependable.

This is a reference document used, especially, in the context of the public contracts or in the case of international commerce, on which are based the majority of the commercial contracts.

The standards are used by the industrials as a reference which simplifies and clarifies the commercial relationships with the economical partners.

For economical factors, the standards are:

  • A production rationalize factor: the standard is making possible the mastering of the technical characteristics, to satisfy the customer, to validate the methods of fabrication, and to increase productivity, giving a security feeling to the operators and the installers;
  • A transaction clarifier factor: in face of an overcrowded offer of products and services, that characterize extremely different practical values, they help to define necessities, they optimize relations with the suppliers, they eliminate the necessity for further;
  • A transfer factor of the new technologies: the standardization facilitates and accelerates the transfer of technology to the domains that are essential for companies as well for people;
  • A factor for strategically choosing of companies: the participation to the standardization is the meaning for the introduction of new solutions adapted to the necessities of a company.

1.1.4 Type of standards

There can be mentioned 4 types of standards.
Standards for fundamental prescriptions that are referring to terminology, metrology, symbols, conventions and signs.

  • Standards for test methods and for analysis which measure the characteristics;
  • Standards that are defining the characteristics of a product (a product standard) or a specification for a service (standards for services) and the performance levels which must be achieved ;
  • Organization standards that are referring to the description of the functions of a company and to the relations between them and the structure of the activities (the management and the assurance of quality, maintenance, value analysis etc.).

1.1.5 Life cycle

In general a standard has 7 major steps:

Identifying of partner necessities: the sector analysis for the adaptation degree and the feasibly of the techno-economical normative activity based upon two defining questions: Is the standard going to assure a “plus” technical and economical development? Is there any available knowledge for the development of a standard?

Collective programming: thinking strategy based upon necessities and the priorities defined by the partners, and taking the decision to introduce it to the work program of the involving organization;

The development of the draft of the standard, by the involved parties, represented by experts, working together inside the technical comities.

The experts consensus regarding the draft of the standard;

Validation: counseling at a higher level both national and international, under the form of a public query, which involves both of the economical partners to ensure that the project is according to general interest and there are no major objections.

The approval of the final text to be published as a standard.

Revision: the implementation of all the standards represents the object of an evaluation made in a regular way by the standardization regarding relevance, which makes possible the detection of a standard but requires other necessities.

1.1.6 Copyrights and user rights

National standards:

The standard is a collective work. The inclusion of a national standard within the national program for standardization is made under the authority of the national standardization body, which also publishes it. By instance, the standard is protected since draft project, the copyright belonging to the national standardization body.

International standards:

From the draft project phase, the international standards are protected by copyrights, of the international standardization bodies such as ISO, CEI, etc.

Standards copying

The standard can not be copied, in every way, as well as photocopies or microfilms, without the agreement of the national standardization body.

Using public networks, including Internet

At all levels – national, regional or international – the national standardization body must be consulted in case of opening a new electronic network public or private, destined to transmitting of parts or entire standards.

1.2 Standardization

1.2.1 The role of the standardization

The standardization is recognized today as being the essential discipline for all economical agents. Twenty years ago the standardization was designated just for a few specialists. Today the companies have taken the standardization as a technical and commercial element and they are being conscient that they must play an active role in this field and they must be ready to accept the standardization that is made without their agreement.

Economical integration of Europe

The quick steps towards to economical integration and to the Commission CE decision, to give the standards an open value regarding the free movement of services and goods inside the EU led to the key role that the normative tool plays. The raising competition which they determine will lead to a greater development of the exchanges inside the Unique Market. These exchanges must be according to certain rules. The commission limited itself by setting up the objectives – essential requirements – leaving to the economical agents the possibility to specify the means of achieving those purposes.

Requirement for quality

In the ’50, the requirement for quality has gained an increasing importance and is shown more and more as a determinant factor for quality. If today is easy to compare prices, it’s much more difficult to compare levels of development. The existence of a quality reference system, unanimous recognized, represents a precious tool for clarifying problems. This is the exact role of the standards.

Technical and technological evolution

Another factor for the development of the standardization is the appearance of new techniques and technologies. All the techniques which involve information, the work and transmitting of the info involve setting up a network. Regarding other techniques based upon networks, the informatical development depends on the acceptance of the users which are regarding common rules which facilitate interoperability. In a continuous developing economy, these techniques play an important role, fact shown by the expansion of the Electronical Data Interchange (EDI).

1.1.2 The international, national and regional standardization

The standards are made at international, national and regional levels. The coordination of these three activities is assured by common structures and cooperation agreements.

International standardization

  • ISO
  • IEC
  • ITU

Regional standardization

Europe

  • CEN
  • CENELEC
  • ETSI

America

  • COPANT
  • MERCUSOR

National standardization

Each country has its own national standardization system. The main bodies or the most representative bodies are members of regional and international bodies.

1.2.2.Standardization processes

At a regional or international level, the activity is lead by technical comities in which their secretariats, assume the responsibility. These technical comities are created by the relevant management councils of the regional or international bodies.

1.2.3.Standardization and OMC

Last GATT negotiations, the Uruguay round, had as a result the foundation of OMC, which was founded on the 1st of January 1995. On the 5th of February 2003 there were 145 members and observers. The agreement regarding technical problems in front of Commerce (WTO TBT) is one of the 29 texts of the OMC agreement which force the members to assure the fact that technical regulations, and the standards will correspond to the evaluation procedures of the conformity, and they are not creating problems in the way of commerce.

The TBT agreement recognizes the important contribution in which the standards and the evaluation systems can lead to the improvement of the production efficiently the to facilitate the international commerce.

The Code for Good Practice mentions the fact that the standardization bodies must use, partial of entirely, in case that existing international standards exist and heir finality is eminent.

In the context of transparency, the Code asks that the standardization bodies which have accepted the conditions must notify this thing at the Information center of ISO/CEI which has its headquarters in Geneva.

1.3 Standards for management systems

In the last few years we were able to see the development and the implementation of the “generical management standards”, in which “generical” means that the requirements can be implemented in any organization regardless to their products. Two of the most known international standards which enter this category are ISO 9000 series an ISO 14000 series. A wide array of information and assistance linked to these standards and to their implementation is available at ISO members.

2. Conformity certification according to the standards and quality assurance

2.1 Certification

2.1.1 The definition of certification

The certification is a procedure by which the third party is giving a written assurance that a product or a service is in conformity to the required specifications.

This is different from other systems for proving the conformity, like deliverer declarations, the reports of the test labs or the reports of the inspection bodies. The certification is based upon the test results, the inspections and they give trust to the client regarding the systematical intervention of a third party.

2.1.2 The role of certification

Certification is an advantage, both for the producer and buyer, consumer or distibutor. This adds to the undisputed value of the product or the service that wears the commercial trend.

To the producer or to the one that delivers services, this quantifies the goods and the services, and opens new markets to simplify the relations.

For the user, it delivers the assurance that the acquisitioned product is up to the characteristics defined or that the organizations are fulfilling the required specification. Some brands can represent the assurance of security and quality. The certification facilitates the difference between products or services apparently identical; this gives the possibility of an appeal in case of unworthiness.

2.1.3 Types of certification

The certification of the product test the fact that the product is in conformity to the characteristics for security, and d is adequate to the requirements within the standards.

The certification of the organization proves the conformity of the quality, for instance, of an organization or the system itself.

2.2 Certified test labs

The producers may require support from test labs, either to develop new ways to test new products, or to test the marketing and export step.Many countries made huge efforts to make an efficient network of test labs to provide the assurance of quality of the services tested.

At national level there are some test labs that can be contacted for further information regarding their countries.

3. Access to standards and standardization standards

Each national standardization body administers its own collection of standards and has access to other institution info.This makes possible the availability of the collection for economical agents and offers a wide array of services. These can include:

  • Tools and services for free information for identifying standards or products for announcing new standards: catalogues, informative newspapers, web servers, etc.
  • Paid services for accessing normative texts in different formats

Memberships, paper formats, CD-ROMs, online services:

  • Subscription or notification services for up to date information
  • Technical assistance, including exporters.

Members WSSN

To facilitate access to information about standards and services, WSSN maintains direct connection with the websites of the organizations from the following categories:

ISO, CEI, ITU

  • Other international standardization bodies
  • Other international/regional bodies with linked activities
  • Regional standardization bodies
  • National members of ISO and CEI

Also, there is supplied a list in geographical order of websites of the previous organizations.

In exchange, national members of ISO and CEI keep connections with similar national organizations, and when imposed the national networks regarding standardization, like NSSN, etc.

The structural index of WSSN assures a way of easy accessing of specifical websites of members/observers to the contact info and catalogues.

Non WSSN members

Info’s about organizations that enter the previous categories and do not have websites can be obtained as follows:

  • International standardization bodies – ISO/CEI: the nomenclature of the international standardization bodies contains info about 45 international bodies
  • National ISO members
  • National comities for CEI

Other information sources:

ISONET: information centers of a number of standardization bodies, regional bodies and international bodies cooperate within ISONET, the informational network ISONET is an agreement between the standardization bodies to combine their efforts, for obtaining data about standards, new regulation and other aspects.

Information centers OMC TBT and OMC SPS

These OMC agreements are forward looking upon building new information centers to supply information and assistance according to relevant specifications, for standards and evaluation procedures of conformity.

Free services or paid services?

Depending on the type of need info’s, the supplied answer can be free or can enter in the paid services.

As a general rule, the information regarding standardization and certification systems, the identification of the information regarding standards, the products and services will be offered for free by each member of WSSN. In a similar way, the services catalogue of WSSN members is available, and permits identifying references to the standards that are used in each country, will also be free of charge.

The publications of the standardization bodies are paid.

The services for documentation purposes are also paid

Tools

ICS, international classification for standards

Because of the fact that an increasing number of catalogues are structured according to ICS, the users benefit of a key for accessing main of the standards collections. Users can make an overall image upon their own domains.ICS has 40 domains, that are divided into groups, that are divided also into 895 subgroups.




Last update
: 5-feb-08