What are They?

  • Standards Australia is the country’s leading independent, non-government, not-for-profit standards organisation.
  • Australian Standards (AS) establish a common language to define quality and safety.
  • In a nutshell, a standard is an industry-backed solution to a market-based problem.

Why are they Important?

  • Australian Standards provide you with the technical ‘how-to’. They set the benchmark for performance, creating a level playing field. This gives the building industry the freedom to innovate and go beyond established benchmarks to achieve a competitive edge.
  • Standards provide a common and repeatable basis for doing things and help bring ‘order’ to the world.
  • When using standards you already have a tried-and-tested solution for a product, design, installation method, test method or service at your disposal. Instead of having to prove a building design or concept from first principles, which can be costly and time-consuming, you can rely on industry-agreed data that has already gone through a process of validation.

How are They Developed?

  • Standards Australia works with over 1,500 technical committees to develop and maintain a catalogue of over 7,000 Australian Standards across a range of sectors.
  • Standards are developed as voluntary documents, through a consensus-based process. They are voluntary, but many because of their rigour are called up by commonwealth or state governments into legislation and become mandatory. This is a decision made by governments, not Standards Australia. Voluntary Standards are sometimes incorporated into legal documents, are considered a ‘benchmark of acceptability’ and are sometimes referred to in law courts and become case law.

What is the Benefit?

  • With stronger standards in place, Australia can enjoy greater economic efficiency and increased prominence on the international stage. This work enables economic growth by reducing technical barriers to trade and facilitating global trade.

What is the Hierarchy of Standards?

  1. International standards are developed for countries to adopt for national use by the:
    1. Organization for Standardization (ISO),
    2. International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), and
    3. International Telecommunication Union (ITU).
  1. Regional standards are prepared by a specific region, such as the European Union’s EN standards.
  2. National standards are developed either by a national standards body (like Standards Australia) or other accredited bodies.  Any standards developed under the Australian Standard® name have been created in Australia or are adoptions of international or other standards.

How are the Australian Standards Interpreted?

  1. Normative content must be complied with if you want to claim conformance to the Australian Standard—they are the mandatory requirements of the standard. In normative clauses or normative appendices of Australian Standards, the words ‘shall’ or ‘shall not’ are used to express a requirement. ‘Must’ is generally not used in Standards writing.’
  2. Informative content is an element of a standard that gives additional information, recommendations and/or guidelines. This type of content does not affect claims of conformance to the Australian Standard. The words ‘should’ or ‘should not’ are used for informative provisions.

Credit: All content has been taken from the NSW Fair Trading Course: The Value of Australian Standards 2021

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