How are ISO Standards Developed?

The standards released and manufactured by the International Organization for Standardization must have been assured as compliant to each committee or member body prior to its release. This is because the value and merit of each standard must not be sacrificed and must have reached the organization’s consensus.

However, before the process for standardization, each standard must follow the three (3) main principles of the organization. Let us see and explore more into the development of the ISO standards and how they are manufactured.

Principles of ISO Standards

There exists three main principles with which each standard of the organization adheres by:

  • Consensus – This principle or phase takes into consideration and accounts for the significance of all perspectives and views upon a certain standard. This includes the interests of manufacturers, consumer groups, vendors or businesses, laboratories, governments, engineering professions, and research organizations.
  • Market response – This takes heed in accordance with the satisfaction of industries and customers across the world. For instance, the ISO is the one to decide which standards must be released. They are only the one which develops the standards from which they have been contacted by a certain stakeholder.
  • Voluntary – International standards comply with what the market wants and need. Because of this, each standard must be according to the voluntary association of all interests existing in the market.

After these three have been observed, the process of standardization through which all standards go by is then commenced and is processed as follows.

The Process of Standardization

Each standard undergoes a six stage process which includes the proposal, preparatory, committee, inquiry, approval, and publication stage.

  • Proposal stage – This stage deals with the idea or proposal that has been expressed by a certain sector or stakeholder. The idea will then be proposed to a national member body – the one which will escalate the proposal to ISO as a whole.
  • Preparatory stage – This is the stage in which a working draft will be developed. The completed working draft will be forwarded to the committee stage.
  • Committee stage – The completed working draft will be distributed for any comments or suggestions for edits, revisions, etc. Once a consensus has been approved, the Draft International Standard (DIS) will be issued as the resulting product.
  • Inquiry stage – This is the stage in which the DIS has circulated and distributed among all member bodies and will be voted upon. Once the DIS has passed the required percentage of 75%, the DIS will be issued as a Final Draft International Standard (FDIS).
  • Approval stage – The FDIS will circulate once again through all member bodies and will be voted upon for the last time before its publication.
  • Publication stage – The FDIS will be forwarded to the ISO Central Secretariat for publication purposes.

However, if the DIS does not pass the inquiry stage, the DIS will be subjected to return to lower stages for further edits and revisions.

Most standards that have been released must undergo a periodic revision. There are several factors upon which a standard may be considered outdated like new materials and methodologies, technological evolution, as well as new safety and quality requirements.

Each ISO standard must be reviewed every five (5) years at most as a general rule to keep track of the standards and render them up to date.