- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 18 Oct 2018
In the construction industry, the term 'standards' typically refers to published documents that are intended to define the common specifications, methods and procedures that are to be used. By establishing common standards, greater reliability and consistency is ensured in terms of the quality, compatibility and compliance of the particular product, service, material, and so on.
The Building Regulations establish minimum standards to be achieved in the construction of buildings. They are supported by a series of approved documents that provide guidance about how the building regulations can be satisfied in common building situations, and these in turn are supported by a wide range of reference documents. For more information, see Building regulations.
There are several organisations that provide standards for the built environment, some of which are set out below:
The British Standards Institution publishes standards and provides a range of books, self-assessment tools, conferences and training services. 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.
British Standards are often initially developed as Publicly Available specifications (PAS). These are fast-track standards, specifications, codes of practice or guidelines developed by sponsoring organisations to meet an immediate market need.
The Kitemark was first introduced by BSI (the British Standards Institute) in 1903. It is commonly found on many products, including construction products. It indicates that the product has been independently tested by BSI to confirm that it complies with relevant British Standards.
For more information, see British Standards Institution.
 International standards
The International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) is an independent organisation responsible for the production of voluntary international standards. The standards are documents that provide requirements, guidance, specifications or characteristics that are used to ensure consistency of materials, products, services and processes.
For more information, see International Organisation for Standardisation.
 Other standards
The National House Building Council (NHBC) is the UK’s leading standard-setting body and provider of insurance and warranties for newly-built homes. NHBC standards set technical requirements, performance standards and guidance for the design and construction of houses.
For more information, see National House Building Council.
In December 2016, the International Ethics Standards Coalition (IES) published the first set of ethics principles for professionals in land, property, construction, infrastructure and related professions.
For more information, see International Ethics Standards Coalition.
The International Property Measurement Standards Coalition (IPMSC) is a group of more than 80 professional and not-for-profit organisations working to develop international standards for measuring property. The standards are intended to establish a consistent approach to measuring buildings, particularly important given the growth of cross-border property investment and the expansion of global corporations.
For more information, see International Property Measurement Standards Coalition.
The Common Minimum Standards (CMS) summarise existing government policy on construction. CMS states that central government construction projects (including departments, executive agencies and the non-departmental public bodies for which they are responsible), should be carried out '…with full reference to the CMS'. Where public projects have been devolved to the wider public sector, reasonable measures should be taken to ensure that the CMS are adopted.
For more information, see Common minimum standards.
For more information, see Minimum energy efficiency standard (MEES)
Designing Buildings Wiki has a range of articles relating to different standards, including:
- BIM standards.
- Building control performance standards.
- Clean indoor air for healthy living - New air filter standards.
- Common minimum standards.
- Draft housing standards.
- Education, training and standards for 21st century conservation professionals.
- Housing standards review.
- International Construction Measurement Standards (ICMS).
- International Property Measurement Standards.
- Lift Standards: EN 81-20 and EN 81-50.
- Limiting fabric standards.
- Low carbon building standards strategy for Scotland.
- Minimum energy efficiency standard (MEES).
- Minimum space standards.
- NHBC technical standards 2016.
- Professional standards for architects.
- Scottish building standards.
- Solid Wall Insulation: Unlocking demand and driving up standards.
- Sprinkler systems explained: A guide to sprinkler installation standards and rules.
- Technical housing standards - nationally described space standard.
- The role of codes, standards and approvals in delivering fire safety.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
Featured articles and news
The structural feasibility of modular high-rise buildings.
BRE conference on ways of providing and maintaining quality indoor environments.
CDBB publish foundational definitions and values to guide the development of the National Digital Twin.
Despite the reduction in staffing, most users remain satisfied with the service.
We run through the top 37 styles in history - but how many would you recognise?
Improving approaches to risk in the built environment sector.
Megatrends: Smart Building Technology
Share your BREEAM knowledge to help improve the industry.
Are you innovating without realising it?
Is timber a carbon source rather than a carbon sink?