- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 25 Apr 2018
International Organisation for Standardisation ISO
The International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) is an independent organisation responsible for the production of voluntary international standards. ISO have 165 member countries with a Central Secretariat based in Geneva. The name ISO is derived from the Greek ‘isos’ which means equal.
ISO was formed in 1947 with 67 technical expert groups and in 1949 moved into offices in Geneva with 5 members of staff. The first standard was produced in 1951, ISO/R 1:1951 Standard reference temperature for industrial length measurements.
There are over 165 members of ISO with one member representing each country. Members are the standards organisations within their country, it is not possible for an individual or a company to become a member.
ISO offers three different levels of membership:
- Full members (or member bodies) – have powers to influence the development of standards and can sell ISO standards nationally.
- Correspondent members – observe the development of standards and can sell ISO standards nationally.
- Subscriber members – are kept informed about the development of standards but cannot participate and do not sell standards nationally.
The main products produced by ISO are the international standards and over 19,500 standards have been produced covering a wide variety of industries. Technical reports, technical specifications and other guides are also produced by ISO.
Examples of the standards that have been produced include:
- ISO 9000 – Quality Management.
- ISO 14000 – Environmental Management.
- ISO 31000 – Risk Management.
- ISO 20121 – Sustainable events.
The standards provide consumers with confidence that they are reliable, safe and of good quality. They can assist governments when formulating policies and regulations, and businesses can be assisted in ensuring they operate in an efficient and productive manner.
ISO work alongside the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) and International Telecommunication Union (ITU). The three organisations joined to form the World Standards Cooperation to enhance the standards systems of the separate groups.
The members of ISO pay a subscription and additional revenue is generated for the organisation through the sale of the standards.
 ISO Strategic plan 2011 – 2015
 Find out more
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki.
- British Standards Institution BSI.
- ISO 50001 Energy Management.
- BS ISO 10845.
- ISO 10845.
- ISO 9000.
- ISO 9001.
- ISO 14001.
- British Board of Agrément.
- CE mark.
- Publicly available specification.
- Structural engineering codes.
- Third party accreditation.
 External references
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