C3.4.5 Benefits of Standards


How do Standards help industry?


Standards support innovation by:

  • sharing best practice, so designers can focus on developing better products
  • setting benchmarks for performance, quality and safety
  • ensuring similar products work together (e.g. making sure all CDs are the same dimensions)
  • making technical requirements
  • reducing risks
  • reducing costs


Example: DIY retailer selling timber

  • Standards ensure the timber is of suitable quality, e.g. not rotten
  • Standards enable the retailer to innovate by getting hold of environmentally friendly timber
  • Standards enable the company to strengthen market reputation for responsibility and innovation


Standards enable ideas from one country to become accepted internationally by:

  • exporting ideas that open up overseas markets and raise the profile of national industries and commerce
  • competitive advantage from being world leaders
  • international meetings lead to exchange of ideas


Example: nanotechnology

  • from self-cleaning windows to silicon structures that can take drugs to the exact location of the tumour, nanotechnology is predicted to create a market worth over $1trillion within the next 10 years
  • Standards are being developed to assist in the safe development of the technology and to deliver it to the marketplace.


Standards balance the needs of the producer and user by:

  • creating market-led solutions (i.e. what do people want to buy?)
  • reflecting all interests, including small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), consumers, regulators, industry and the environment
  • promoting fair competition and avoiding unhealthy concentrations of economic power
  • reducing costs for development and production
  • increasing the diversity and quality of suppliers for producers and consumers


Example: Millennium Bridge, London

  • almost 100,000 people walked across the Millennium Bridge in London when it opened, yet two days later it was closed because it wobbled due to Synchronous Lateral Excitation
  • engineers immediately began working on a solution and, together with BSI, produced a modified British Standards Code of Bridge Loading
  • future bridge builders will now be able to carry our stringent tests to make sure their bridge and its users won’t experience the same problem