Assured Confidence

About Standards

Furthering the development and promotion of standards. Image of the Dublin docklands area

Standards: What they are and what we do

Standards - definition

Standards are agreed criteria designed to ensure that products and services meet minimum thresholds.
They cover areas such as:

  • Quality
  • Performance
  • Design
  • Safety
  • Environmental impact.

Standards create a climate of trust in the marketplace for goods and services. For customers, a certified standard is a badge of quality. For business, it can provide protection against unfair competition and help instil consumer confidence.

Standards and trade

As a cost-effective way of complying with regulations, Standards help to stimulate trade both in domestic and overseas markets. Many public sector contracts are required to comply with specified standards.

Voluntary standards are a form of flexible self-regulation for business and can remove the need for government-imposed regulation, which tends to be more rigid and less adaptable.

NSAI works closely with the Irish Government and provides support to the Department of Enterprise, Trade, Employment and Innovation on the subject of the removal of technical trade barriers.

Legally enforceable standards

The standardization of most products and services is a voluntary process. However, some standards are established by law, through European Directives and Irish legislation.

These are designed to protect the public and employees, and include:

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Standards development

Within Ireland, NSAI develops standards through a consultative process, which usually involves the following stages:

  • Identifying the need to set a standard
  • Defining the scope of the standard (e.g. the technical, environmental or safety specifications which need to be set)
  • Consulting with other interested parties with a view to achieving a consensus
  • Publishing the agreed standards for the relevant product or service
  • Issuing certification.

The following links provide details on standards consultative committees:

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Reaching agreement

In determining standards, the views of all stakeholders are taken into account. Depending upon the product or service under scrutiny, these might include:

  • Industry
  • Manufacturers
  • Distributors
  • Consumer groups
  • Governmental organizations
  • Research organizations.

To aid the process of building consensus, NSAI has established a number of Standards Consultative Committees across various sectors.

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European representation

NSAI is the Irish member of:

  • CEN (Since 1995)
  • CENELEC (Since 2011)
  • ISO (Since 1951)
  • IEC (Since 2011)

Together with the national standards bodies from the other countries of the European Union and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), NSAI is involved in setting standards for a range of products and services, including:

  • Toys
  • Pressure vessels
  • Electrical and electronic products
  • Building products
  • Industrial machines.

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ISO Standards

NSAI is affiliated to the International Organization for Standardization, better known by its acronym, ISO.

A non-governmental organization that spans the public and private sectors, ISO coordinates the work of 161 national Standards Authorities. ISO has developed over 17,500 International Standards.

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Electro-Technical Council of Ireland

NSAI participates in the work of the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) in conjunction with the Electro-Technical Council of Ireland (ETCI). ETCI is the body nominated to harmonize electrical standards under the Low Voltage Directive.

The ETCI represents Ireland on the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) and on the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization (CENELEC). The ETCI is sponsored by NSAI

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Get involved in consultation

NSAI formulates Standards through consultation with all interested parties. We have a range of Standards Consultative Committees. For more information on how to get involved in this process, see Standards Committees.

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New Standards

Standards are continually evolving as new information comes to light and new processes and products are developed. You can access listings of new Irish standards published in 2016 or you can search for and buy Standards online.

NSAI, 1 Swift Square,
Northwood, Santry,
Dublin 9, Ireland

T: +353 1 807 3800
F: +353 1 807 3838
E: nsai@nsai.ie

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News & Events
21/03/2017

Quarter of all Irish Trade Growth Linked to Standards

Standards play a pivotal role in supporting Ireland’s continuing economic recovery by significantly boosting trade & GDP & creating new jobs, according to a major new study published by NSAI. Learn more...

21/03/2017

UN World Water Day 2017

Water is one of the world’s most essential commodities – and the most precious. Find out how standards can help lead to a more sustainable future  Learn more...

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