Last edited 10 Sep 2021

British Standards Institution BSI

The British Standards Institution (BSI) is the UK National Standards Body (NSB). It was established in 1901 by the Council of the Institution of Civil Engineers as the ‘Engineering Standards Committee’. In 1929 it was granted a Royal Charter and became the British Standards Institution. Its status as UK National Standards Body is set out in a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the UK government. It is a non-profit distributing company run by a board of directors.

The British Standards Institution publishes standards and provides a range of books, self-assessment tools, conferences and training services. It also represents UK economic and social interests in European and international standards organisations.

BSI defines a standard as 'something that is generally accepted'. British Standard (BS) publications are technical specifications or practices that can be used as guidance for the production of a product, carrying out a process or providing a service.

The BSI Kitemark, first introduced in 1903, is commonly found on a range of products, including construction products. It indicates that the product has been independently tested by BSI to confirm that it complies with relevant British Standards, and that BSI have licensed the product manufacturer to use the Kitemark. Manufacturers have to pay to have their products and manufacturing processes tested, and these tests are repeated regularly to confirm continued compliance. See Kitemark for more information.

Publicly available specifications (PAS) are fast-track standards, specifications, codes of practice or guidelines developed by sponsoring organisations, under the guidance of BSI, to meet an immediate market need. Within 2 years, they are reviewed to assess whether they should be revised, withdrawn, or whether they should become formal British Standards or international standards. See Publicly available specifications for more information.

ISO’s (International Standard Organisation) are international standards intended to be used throughout the world. EN-ISO’s are intended to be used throughout the European Union. BS-EN-ISO’s are published as Britain adopts EN-ISO’s.

NB In June 2018, it was announced that the UK would apply to stay in the European standards system for industry products and services after Brexit

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