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What is the role of Standards?

According to the BSI website

‘Standards are agreed ways of doing something, written down as a set of precise criteria so they can be used as rules, guidelines or definitions. However, standards aren’t the same as regulations and following a standard doesn’t guarantee that you’re within the relevant laws. In fact, standards rarely cite the law as legislation could change within the lifetime of the standard. In a case like this, compliance with the standard will often mean you’re compliant with the relevant legislation, although there are usually ways of being compliant with legislation without using a standard.’ 

They contain recommendations and guidance. Users may also justify substitution of any of the recommendations in a code of practice with practices of equivalent or better outcomes.

Further information:

It should be noted as per BS 0:2016, A standard for standards - Principles of standardization published by BSi, clause 9:

'British Standards are voluntary in that there is no obligation to apply them or comply with them, except in those few cases where their application is directly demanded by regulatory instruments. They are tools devised for the convenience of those who wish to use them.

Particularly for the purpose of preventing anticompetitive effects or impeding innovation, whenever possible, provisions are expressed in terms of performance rather than design or descriptive characteristics.

Standards are always subordinate to the law. It is important that they are drafted so as to avoid any confusion between the provisions of a standard and requirements imposed by law. In general, it is not acceptable for standards to contain provisions that are already requirements imposed by law, nor to contain any statement recommending or requiring compliance with the law...


Read next - What is the problem with an over-reliance on British Standards within the Fire Industry?

Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a comprehensive guide to all of the aspects of the building regulations but rather a useful source of background information. Whilst every care has been taken to ensure that the contents of this post are correct at the time of publication, it should never be used as any form of substitution for the guidance documents. Plumis shall be under no liability whatsoever in respect to the contents of this post. It should be noted that there may be specific additional requirements dependent upon local authority building regulations and/or fire authority.