C3.4.1 What is a Standard?


Standards are so much a part of our daily routine that we use them without even being aware of doing so, and without giving thought to how they are created or the benefits they provide.

International Standards are basic technology and economic building blocks similar to DNA because they affect everything we do. It is estimated that more than 500,000 Standards exist in the world today to support the global marketplace.

Standards have existed for thousands of years. For example, the first long distance roads in Europe were built by Imperial Rome for the benefit of their legions. The ruts created by the Roman chariots were then used by all other wagons and later became a gauge for laying the first railway lines.


A Standard is an agreed way of doing something.

It can be recorded and published formally, or may simply be a company’s informal unwritten procedure.

Formal Standards, such as British, European or international Standards vary according to what they provide. For example, they may specify requirements for the features or characteristics of a product, such as the components for solar heating equipment, or recommend the best way of doing something, such as the service supplied by furniture removal companies, or for a system such as a company’s system for managing information security.


Why are Standards important?

Standards provide benefits to business and to individuals, by defining accurate measurements and lowering production costs; improving product performance, quality, uniformity, interoperability and functionality; and providing a method to improve health, safety, the environment, communications, competition, international trade, and improving the quality of life.

Standards help to ensure variety reduction and a more consistent and cost effective approach.