Additional information about standardization products

The information below concerns standards and other normative documents such as technical specifications (TS) and workshop agreements (WA) published by SIS. Here we refer to these documents under the umbrella term ‘standards’.

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Standards and the law

The use of standards is voluntary, whether the standards are drawn up by SIS, CEN or ISO. Legislation takes precedence over standards and users of standards are expected to comply with legislation. Standards do not contain contractual requirements or statutory requirements and do not replace legislation. Nor should they conflict with legislation or include requirements that legislation must be complied with. However, standards may contain information about relevant legislation in the area or areas that they standardize. They can also be used to complement legislation. Standards can be cited in legislation, contracts or other contexts and thus become binding.

Provisions in standards

There are five categories of provisions in standardization. These are described below. More information is available in Läs- och skrivanvisningar för regler i standarder. (Swedish)

  • Requirement
    A requirement is an expression, in the content of a document, that conveys objectively verifiable criteria to be fulfilled and from which no deviation is permitted if conformance with the document is to be claimed. A requirement uses the auxiliary verb shall (or shall not).

  • Recommendation
    A recommendation is an expression, in the content of a document, that conveys a suggested possible choice or course of action deemed to be particularly suitable without necessarily mentioning or excluding others. A recommendation uses the auxiliary verb should (or should not).

  • Instruction
    Instructions are expressed in the imperative mood and are used to convey an action to be performed. They may be subordinate to another provision, such as a requirement or a recommendation. They may also be used independently, and here are to be seen as a requirement.

  • Statement
    A statement is an expression, in the content of a document, that conveys information. A statement may express permission, possibility or capability. Permission is indicated using the auxiliary may. Possibility and capability are expressed using the auxiliary can (or cannot).

  • External constraint
    In addition to the above categories of provisions, it is also possible to provide information in the form of what are termed external constraints. An external constraint is a constraint or obligation, for example due to legal requirements or laws of nature, that is not stated as a provision in the standard. External constraints are referred to using the verbal form must.

Conformity assessment

When assessing conformity it must be checked that the requirements of a product, process, service, person, system or organization are met. Conformity can be demonstrated by a manufacturer or supplier (first party), a user or purchaser (second party) or an independent organization (third party).

Standards that contain requirements are written in line with the neutrality principle, such that conformity can be assessed by a first, second or third party. Conformity is assessed against requirements and it is therefore not possible to use standards that do not contain requirements for this purpose.

Technical barriers to trade and the World Trade Organization principles

The Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) is part of the WTO Agreement and seeks to ensure that unnecessary barriers to trade are not created or maintained. Standardization is covered by the Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade and Sweden has undertaken to comply with the agreement. Annex III to the agreement, Code of Good Practice for the Preparation, Adoption and Application of Standards, is particularly relevant to the work of SIS.

Standardization applies the following principles linked to the agreement.

  • Transparency
  • Openness
  • Impartiality and consensus
  • Relevance and effectiveness
  • Coordination with other standardization organizations