You are here
What is a standard
A standard is a document that provides requirements, specifications, guidelines or characteristics that can be used to ensure that materials, products, processes and services are tailor-made for their purpose. Standards make sure that products and services are safe, reliable and of good quality. They are strategic tools that reduce costs by minimising waste and errors in order to increase productivity. They ease companies to access new markets, level the playing field for developing countries and facilitate free and fair global trade.
A standard consists of a technical specification or other precise criteria designed to be used as a rule or guideline that can be considered as a summary of best practice. Their creation derives from the experience of all interested parties who represent the meeting between the demands of society and technology harmoniously coordinated by Standardisation Bodies.
Standardisation Bodies on European level are:
- CEN (European Committee for Standardisation)
- CENELEC (European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardisation)
- ETSI (European Telecommunications Standards Institute)
On international level, the most important standardisation bodies are ISO (International Organisation for Standardisation) and IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission).
European Standards (ENs) are documents that have been ratified by one of the three European Standards Organisations (CEN, CENELEC or ETSI). They are the result of a consensual process between the actors involved in their development. CEN, CENELEC and ETSI alone produce more than 2000 standards per year. In addition, the regular reviews of standards which further increase the knowledge and proper implementation of existing standards.
European Standards must be transposed into a national standard in all member countries which must also withdraw any conflicting national standard: the EN prevails over any national standard. This ensures the manufacturers an easier access to the market of all European countries.
A harmonised standard is a European standard, drafted and adopted by one of the European Standardisation Organisations, following a mandate issued by the European Commission after consultation of Member States.
Compliance with harmonised standards, of which the reference numbers have been published in the Official Journal and which have been transposed into national standards, provides “presumption of conformity” to the corresponding essential requirements of the European directives.