Standards are ...
To put it simply, standards document the state of the art and contain generally accepted specifications for products and services.
They define, for example
- Product requirements
to ensure fitness for use, compatibility, safety, health and environmental protection
- Procedures and processes
e.g. on the expert performance of tasks or the awarding of contracts
- Test and measurement methods
for proving compliance with limit values or requirements
- Terms and definitions
to facilitate communication with business partners, customers, testing institutes and authorities on the basis of harmonized terminology
As a result, standards
- facilitate the comparability of products and services
- ensure rational planning and production processes
- reduce routine work, and
- dismantle barriers to trade – at a national, European and international level – and
- thereby facilitate access to markets
Generally accepted standards
On principle, standards are “qualified recommendations” rather than laws. This means that they are applied on a voluntary basis, but compliance with them is highly advisable.
In special cases, the Austrian legislator (at the national or regional level) can declare standards or parts of them to be binding by law or ordinance. In that case, compliance with those standards is mandatory. However, compliance with standards can also be agreed in contracts by business partners.
Standards specifications are adopted by experts of the subject field concerned in a dialogue and consensus. The experts input their know-how, their interests and their experiences and, thus, define what is “standard”. Before it is published, each standard is submitted to a public inquiry in order to ensure its acceptance and its feasibility in practice. For further details, see principles of standardization .
Support for compliance with legislation
In many fields, standards complement legal provisions and support manufacturers and exporters/importers in complying with the legal framework. This applies particularly to European Standards (EN) – “ÖNORM EN” in Austria. Many of these are developed under a mandate of the European Commission so that manufacturers and importers can meet the essential requirements of European directives in practice and can be sure that their products may be placed on the market.
After all, European directives are transposed into national law in Austria – just as in all other EU member states. Thus, (harmonized) European Standards are a tool supporting compliance with the legal framework. And this is one of the basic conditions for importing products into Austria and, hence, the European market (CE marking).
Standards raise safety
Standards define requirements for products and services as well as test methods for demonstrating that these requirements are met. This ensures a high level of (product) safety – both for the final consumer and for the manufacturer or importer, for example in case of damage or issues of product liability.
Access to standards
Which standards are available?
In Austria , more than 20,000 ÖNORMs are in force (as per June 2007). More than 80 percent of them originated at the European or international level. This means that they are identical in all EU and EFTA countries so that many technical barriers to trade have been eliminated within the European Economic Area (EEA).
Standards exist in almost all economic sectors, from A as in acoustics to Z as in zippers. An overview of all subject fields covered and the related standards in force is available on the Website of the Austrian Standards Institute. Link to the ON committees and their standards
Where to get standards
You can search for standards free of charge in the online Web shop of the Austrian Standards Institute around the clock: www.on-norm.at/shop . You only have to enter a search term, a document number, the title of a document in full or in part in the search field.
Around 200,000 documents are available and can be purchased. These documents include
- all ÖNORMs and ON Rules (ONR)
- all European Standards (EN) in German and English
- all International Standards (ISO, IEC), as well as
- a great number of foreign standards (e.g. German DIN standards – also in German and English).
Please visit the full research and delivery-service for standards and guidelines from more than 160 countries or contact
Sales & Service
- +43 1 213 00-805
- +43 1 213 00-818
Who is responsible for standards?
Responsibility for standardization in Austria lies with the Austrian Standards Institute (ON). It is required by law (Normengesetz or Federal Act on Standardization adopted in 1971) to provide the infrastructure and organizational framework for standardization.
The standards themselves, however, are not prepared by ON, but by around 5,500 experts working in approximately 200 ON committees. These experts come from industry, administration, science, testing institutes and consumer organizations and elaborate the contents of standards in line with internationally recognized principles.
ON’s committee managers
- are responsible for ensuring the smooth functioning of ON committees and working groups
- co-ordinate the participation of Austrian experts in the technical committees (TCs) of the European and international standardization bodies, and
- maintain close contacts to co-operation partners in all countries around the world.
Links to standardization bodies - for further information please contact
Mr. Karl Grün
- +43 1 213 00-714
- +43 1 213 00-722
Information on standards for export
Standardization is a dynamic process. New standards are developed to meet the needs of the economy, administration and society. Existing standards are regularly reviewed and, if necessary, updated to reflect the current state of the art.
Therefore, it is essential to stay informed on the standards and versions of normative documents currently in effect. For this purpose, the Austrian Standards Institute offers several options for obtaining information: In addition to ON’s online shop, subscriptions are available for numerous subject fields, there are update services and online standard management systems. Moreover, ON offers selected technical literature and software facilitating the application of standards.
Sales & Service
- +43 1 213 00-805
- +43 1 213 00-818
Conformity with standards - certification
Standards define quality requirements for products and services, regulate procedures and processes, and lay down test methods. Manufacturers and service providers can credibly demonstrate that their products and services meet all the requirements defined in a standard by means of certification.
The Austrian Standards Institute offers several possibilities for obtaining a certificate evidencing that products are in conformity with standards, such as the “ÖNORM ... geprüft” system. Other conformity marks available from ON are: ON Certified Product, ON Certified Service, ON Certified Person, Keymark, CENCER.
Moreover, ON is a notified body authorized to issue EU conformity certificates and certificates on factory production control that are a prerequisite for the CE marking of construction products . For more details please contact
Mr. Wolfgang Höhnl
- +43 1 213 00-524
- +43 1 213 00-520