Different types of standards

What are the different types of standards?

Standards all have the same basic purpose of setting out agreed principles or criteria, so that their users can make reliable assumptions about a particular product, service or practice.

However, they can vary in two major respects:

  • the type of agreement
  • the number of people, organizations or countries who were involved in making the agreement.

In some standards, the type of agreement essentially amounts to advice and guidance; others are much more prescriptive and set out absolute requirements that have to be met, if a user wishes to make a claim of compliance with the standard.

Different subject areas and different user groups have needs for differing forms and levels of standardization, and BSI tries to cater for all these needs.