Development of a standard
Rules govern the operation of the standardization system. They are laid down at different levels:
- by the state (decree fixing the status of the various members in the standardizing system...),
- by the European Union which, under its policy known as the New Approach launched in 1985 and intended to avoid technical barriers to trade, encouraged the use of so-called "harmonized "standards to prove the conformity of products or services to the essential requirements of the EU directives,
- by ISO for international standards and standardizing documents,
- by CEN for the European standards with special rules obliging the National bodies to publish the European documents at national level and to withdraw conflicting national documents,
- by WTO (World Trade Organization) which recommends to support the national regulations on international standards to minimize technical barriers to trade,
- by the French standardization system itself where, under the responsibility of AFNOR, a Coordination and Monitoring Committee (CCPN) defines the Rules for the French Standardization (RNF). This Coordination and Monitoring Committee is in charge of preparing the French standardization strategy, defining objectives and overall priorities for the standardization main programmes and ensuring their consistency with the national, European and international policies.
- In addition, on the initiative of the interested parties, a standardization committee has elaborated a standard for the requirements applicable to the standardization offices (NF X50-088, available from AFNOR).
Development of a French standard
When the need for a new standard is identified by a standardization office, the latter checks and comes to a conclusion about the feasibility of this project (in technical terms, in terms of resources…) and decides on its inclusion in the program of a standardization committee.
In case of a new activity for which there exist no standardization committee, the project is referred to the strategic committee of the domain (standardization system monitoring committee) to decide the set up of a new standardization committee.
Within the standardization office, the committee gathers interested experts who prepare a draft standard. The public enquiry procedure launched by AFNOR allows checking the consensus about the draft (Access to the AFNOR public enquiry site). The draft is then finalized and the approval procedure is launched. The government's representative in charge of standardization has a right to veto the draft approval.
Access to the rules of the French Standardization System
Development of European standard (CEN)
New work can be requested either by a national body, or a Technical Committee (TC), or the European Commission... A preliminary draft standard is prepared by a TC or derives from a reference document (national, professional, international…). The secretariat of this TC submits the draft to public enquiry. The draft is amended to take into account the comments received during the enquiry and is adopted by the TC and submitted to the formal vote. The final text is approved and the standard is adopted if at least 71% of the weighted votes were positive. The standard must be published at the national level within the next 6 months, together with the withdrawal of any conflicting national documents.
Development of an international standard (ISO)
A new work item can be required by a national body, a Technical Committee (TC), or the secretariat of ISO. The TC secretariat submits the item to an enquiry; 5 members at least must undertake to take part in the work. The item is then registered within the program of a TC which prepares a preliminary draft standard. The draft (CD) is circulated for public enquiry to the national bodies and then for vote (DIS) to be recorded as a final draft International standard. The final draft (FDIS) is finally submitted to the national bodies' approval. The international standard publication in ISO is carried out within the next 2 months. There is no obligation to publish this ISO standard in the national collections, and this is decided on a case-by-case basis by the countries and their standardization committees.