Organisations which initiate, publish and maintain standards 

BS EN ISO – all refer to organisations which initiate, publish and maintain standards.

Standards are documents which specify requirements for processes, equipment, workmanship and parameters. Standards are often used as the basis for contracts between businesses. They are produced by a committee of experts drawn from interested organisations and are based on current industry knowledge. They cover a wide range of subjects in a wide range of industries.

National standards specify the requirements for application in the particular country. British Standard – BS denotes Britain's National Standards which are controlled by the British Standards Institute (BSI). EN denotes a Standard which is adopted by the European community and is controlled by the European Committee for Standardisation (CEN).

European standards are aimed at facilitating commerce between the countries of the European community. As a necessity they are a compromise between the different national standards. Once a European Standard has been agreed it supersedes any existing national standard and becomes the new national standard. In Britain these Standards are then prefixed with BS EN.

ISO denotes a worldwide standard issued by the International Organisation for Standardisation. Once an International Standard has been adopted as a European Standard it supersedes the existing European standard. In Britain these Standards are then prefixed with BS EN ISO, e.g. "BS EN ISO/IEC 17020: 2004 General criteria for the operation of various types of bodies performing inspection". This superseded EN 45004:1995.

For more information on BS, EN and ISO standards see:

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