19 April 2018


CEN is the European committee for standardisation who brings together the national standardization bodies of 34 European countries. It is one of three bodies (CENELEC and ETSI) that have been recognized by the EU and European Free Trade Association (EFTA).


European draft standard (prEN)

This is the European equivalent of a DPC or a DIS. It is published by BSI as a DPC.


European pre-standard ENV

These were like BSI’s draft for development and were used in areas where a technology was still changing. They have been replaced by technical specifications.


Ratified text

The final text produced by CEN or CENELEC and sent to members for publishing as a national standard. Although an administrative document, Ratified texts are used as substitutes, in the case of publishing delays.


CEN technical specification (CEN/TS)

This is a standard which failed to achieve sufficient support to be ratified but is still useful. They often refer to rapidly evolving technologies or to subjects where full consensus could not be obtained but may be achieved in the future when there is experience of the TS in use.


CEN technical report (CEN/TR)

Document adopted by CEN/CENELEC containing informative material that is not usually suitable to be published as a European standard or a technical specification.


CEN report (CEN/TR)

Document adopted by CEN/CENELEC containing informative material not suitable to be published as a European standard or technical specification.


CEN guide

Publication by CEN or CENELEC relating to standardization principles or practice. They are often free of charge.



CENELEC is the European committee for electrotechnical standardization. They produce European standards, technical specifications, technical reports and workshop agreements. (See above.)


CENELEC publications European ratified texts

These ratified text documents are now available as an advance warning copy of the BS EN implementation. Customers purchasing these documents will automatically receive a copy of the official BS EN implementation document on publication. Ratified text documents are priced in accordance with their early availability – the official BS EN will be supplied at no additional cost. BSI has an obligation to publish all ENs and to withdraw any conflicting British Standards (BSs) or parts of BSs.


Harmonization document (HD)

Only issued by CENELEC and have largely fallen into disuse. They have the status of standards and require the withdrawal of conflicting national standards.


European Telecommunications Standards Institute

ETSI (European Telecommunications Standards Institute) is the standardization body for the European telecommunications industry. European Publications EN (Telecommunications Series) have been approved and are now endorsed by BSI. Therefore, in addition to being European standards, they now have the status of national standards. Other ETSI European publications:

  • EG – ETSI Guides
  • ES – ETSI Standards
  • SR – Special Reports
  • TS – Technical Specifications
  • TR – Technical Report


Adopted International Standards

Standards (ISO, IEC, ISO/IEC)

BSI has the option of adopting any international standard as a British standard. (However, it need not do so.) These are then republished with the designation of BS ISO, BS IEC or BS ISO/IEC.  Some standards are developed jointly by both ISO and IEC via a Joint Technical Group). ISO and IEC standards are routinely adopted as BSs unless:

  • BSI voted against them when they were being developed.
  • The subject is irrelevant to the UK.

The relevant UK committee will often include useful information in the National Forward regarding their concerns, reasons for not approving, or areas within the standard that they feel require further clarification.


Other international publications

BSI also has the option of adopting other types of international publications that do not have the status of full standards; however, they rarely do so.


International Workshop Agreements (IWA)

There is a procedure in ISO for a group of interested parties to get together in a workshop to agree the content of a standard without going through the normal committee process or comment period. This agreement is then published by ISO but cannot claim to represent the views of anyone except the workshop participants. These could theoretically be adopted in the same way as a standard. The procedure has only been used a few times.


ISO Technical Report (ISO/TR)

These are purely informative documents and do not function as standards. If adopted, this document would become a PD.


ISO/IEC Technical Specifications (TS)

This is a document representing the technical consensus of a Technical Committee but does not require the full consensus of an international standard. They require the support of two thirds of the participating members. There are two types of TS:

  • Pre-standardization publications - where the subject is still under development or that a standard will not be possible to attain at this stage.
  • Technical Specifications (TSs) - developed as standards but which failed to secure sufficient support at the FDIS stage. Would be adopted as a Draft for Development (DD).


ISO Publicly Available Specification (ISO PAS)

These are documents that represent a consensus within an ISO working group, but not the full consensus of a standard or even the degree of consensus required for a TS.

In IEC, a PAS may also be a ‘dual logo’ standard developed in collaboration with an external organization.


Draft International Standard (DIS)

This is the enquiry draft of an ISO standard equivalent to BSI’s Draft for Public Comment (DPC). Commonly published by BSI as DPCs.


Final draft standard (FDIS)

When all the comments on a DIS have been considered a final draft is circulated to ISO members for vote. This FDIS is not usually sold to customers – ISO 9000:2000 (now withdrawn) was a rare exception to this rule.


Technical corrigenda

ISO and IEC issue corrigenda to correct drafting or printing errors in standards, technical specifications or publicly available specifications, if the error affects the understanding of the publication. They are published as separate documents. In the UK, BSI commonly edits them into the national adoption and issues a new edition, as with an amendment.


This article has been repurposed from a technical article originally written by NBS Information Specialist Stephanie Longmuir (and revised by Jess Sharman) for the Construction Information Service.