How are ISO Standards Created?

BY James Slade ON 25th January 2016.

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There are over Twenty Thousand ISO standards currently in use around the world, everything from Aeroplanes to Zoos’ have applicable standards for their operation and industry. But where do they come from?

ISO, the International Organization for Standardization, is a global, non-governmental organisation whose purpose is to implement and review approx. 20,500 standards. ISO use a range of individuals, committees and delegates from each country (i.e. BSI for the United Kingdom, ANSI for the United States) to create an International Standard.

When the need for a standard is required, say for instance due to an advance in technology, a group of the above experts will meet to discuss an initial draft of a new Standard. Much negotiation is required at this stage to get the standard into an initial draft, as members will often have differing technical and professional opinions, as well as trying to keep their own nations legislation in mind.

If the entire Technical Committee approves the initial draft, it is transferred to a “Working Group”. This group is comprised of experts and technical representatives. This Working Group then investigates and negotiates all elements of the standard – many of these elements you will recognise from the ISO 9001 Quality Management standard, such as Scope and Definitions.

When in agreement, a Technical Committee (ISO has over 250) will review the draft, and if approved, the working draft will be shared with all 163 Members (BSI, ANSI Etc). These members must all reach consensus before they can proceed.

After this stage, the proposal moves into FDIS (Final Draft International Standard) stage, and must be approved again by all 163 members.

When approved, the standard joins the 20,500 plus standards which ISO maintains, and can be purchased and implemented within organisations across the globe.

See our info-graphic below, that demonstrates how ISO Standards come to be.

Creating a Standard Infographic