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Last edited 26 Apr 2021
Standards in the construction industry
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- BIM standards.
- Building control performance standards.
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- Common minimum standards.
- Draft housing standards.
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- 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.
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- Technical housing standards - nationally described space standard.
- The role of codes, standards and approvals in delivering fire safety.
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