To put it simply, standards document the state of the art and contain generally accepted specifications for products, procedures 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
- dismantle trade barriers – at a national, European and international level
- facilitate the comparability of products and services
- ensure rational planning and production processes
- reduce routine work, and
- thereby facilitate access to markets
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 (about 5% of all standards), 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 from companies and organisations contribute their know-how, their interests and their experiences and, thus, define what is “standard” in committees. Before it is published, each standard is submitted to a public inquiry to ensure its acceptance and its feasibility in practice. For further details, see principles of standardisation.
Implementing requirements of EU-directives
Standards are in many fields an important instrument to meet the essential requirements of European directives in the best way. European standards (EN) - adopted as ÖNORM EN in Austria – thus support manufacturers and exporters / importers in complying with the legal framework.
Many of the European standards 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 within the EU or EWT and get CE marking (if applicable).
Standards raise safety
Standards define requirements for products, procedures 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.
Which standards are available?
In Austria, more than 23,000 ÖNORMs are in force (2016). More than 90% of them originated at the European or international level (EN or ISO). This means that they are identical in all EU and EFTA countries including Macdonia and Turkey. Many of these standards are in force worldwide and therefore eliminate many technical trade barriers.
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 Austrian Standards website. Link to the standardisation committees by subject field.
Where to get standards
Norms, standards and other regulations from Austria and around the world can be obtained directly from Austrian Standards. You can search for the relevant standards online in the Austrian Standards Webshop for free and can order around the clock. 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. In the navigation menu at the left hand side you can refine the search results by validity, date of publication, topic, publisher and ICS number.
Around 200,000 documents are available and can be purchased. These documents include
- all ÖNORMs including all European Standards (EN) in German and English
- ONR (other national normative documents)
- all International Standards (ISO, IEC), as well as
- a great number of foreign standards (e.g. DIN standards – also in German and English), SNV (Switzerland), BSI (United Kingdom) etc.
- and standards issued by various standard developers from all over the world like ASTM, IEEE, etc.
On request Austrian Standards will provide you with national standards from around the world.
For more information please visit https://www.austrian-standards.at/en or contact
Responsibility for standardisation in Austria lies with the Austrian Standards International. Its task is to provide the infrastructure and the organisational framework for the development of standards and to enable the participation of Austrian experts at European and international level (CEN and ISO).
The standards themselves, however, are not prepared by the Austrian Standards International, but by around 4,000 experts working in approximately 170 committees. These experts come from industry, administration, science, universities, testing institutes and consumer organizations and elaborate the contents of standards in line with internationally recognized principles. For detailed information on participating/working in committees see: https://www.austrian-standards.at/en/standardization/shaping-standards
- are responsible for ensuring the smooth functioning of committees and working groups
- co-ordinate the participation of Austrian experts in the technical committees (TCs) of the European and international standardisation bodies (CEN or ISO), and
- maintain close contacts to co-operation partners in all countries around the world.
For further information please contact:
Mr. Karl Grün, Director Standards Development
Standardisation 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 and in update process. For this purpose, Austrian Standards offers several options for obtaining information: In addition to the webshop there are update services and online standard management systems. Moreover, Austrian Standards provides selected technical literature, software and seminars facilitating the application of standards.
Sales & Service
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.
Austrian Standards offers several possibilities for obtaining a certificate.
For more details please contact:
Austrian Standards Certification
Mr. Peter Jonas, Director Certification