FAQ – Frequently asked questions about standards

For those who would like to know a little more about standards, how they are developed and what their contents are.

Who benefits from standards?

For trade and industry, standards make it easier to develop and manufacture products. Standards indicate a way of doing things that makes the products easier to sell. In addition, standards make it easier to collaborate with other businesses and suppliers, because they know what they are dealing with.

Standards also reduce the costs related to different types of tests and approvals. As a general rule, when a product complies with a standard, the product can be freely exported to other EU countries without further requirements being made for the product. This reduces technical barriers to trade. In general, standards help make trade less bureaucratic.

Consumers also benefit greatly from standards. Standards mean safe and more well-functioning products. Examples are prams that are not hazardous to children and office chairs that can be adjusted ergonomically. Consumers will also have more products to choose from because enterprises will have easier access to the market. The lower manufacturing costs and increased competition across national borders may even result in the products becoming cheaper.

Who makes the standards?

In Denmark, there are typically 5-20 members in a standardization committee. Members mainly come from enterprises which, in this way, make it possible to influence the design of standards. It also means that, at a very early stage, they will gain knowledge of future standards in fields that are essential to their business development and competitiveness.

In addition to enterprises, also consumer and interest organizations, research and educational institutions, and authorities, participate.

The committees are initiated and operated by Danish Standards, which also ensures that you can participate in the European and international committees of, for example, ISO and CEN, of which we are a member on behalf of Denmark. In this way, Danish interests will be represented in the development of European and international standards.

Why participate in a standardization committee?

A large number of enterprises are members of one or more standardization committees, and in this way represent the interests of the Danish business sector in the development of European and international standards. In this way, enterprises will be able to influence the design of standards and, at a very early stage, acquire knowledge of future standards in areas that are important to their business. In addition, also interest organizations, research and educational institutions, and authorities, participate. This means that observing the interests of Danish trade and industry will not be at the expense of overall public interest. Consumer and worker safety as well as environmental interests also weigh heavily in the development of standards. Everyone can participate in a standardization committee.

Developing a standard – from start to finish

1. Establishing standardization committees
If there is interest in a given standardization project among Danish businesses, authorities, interest organizations and/or research and educational institutions, and if funding is available, Danish Standards will set up a standardization committee.

2. Drafting of proposals
Most often this is a European or an international standard, the task of the committee being to ensure maximum Danish influence on the contents of the standard and thus ensure that Danish interests are catered for. A purely national standard will be prepared only in very few instances.

3. Consultation proposal
All proposals for new European standards will be published and submitted for consultation, because Denmark has undertaken to give all approved European standards the status of Danish standards. Proposals for national standards will, of course, also be submitted for consultation, and some proposals for international standards will also be published for consultation.

4. Consideration of comments
It is the standardization committee involved that considers the Danish comments on the European or international proposal received under the national consultation procedure. All Danish comments on the proposal are subsequently submitted.

5. Approval
In the case of a proposal for a European standard, the final approval is made by a weighted vote among the countries of the European Member States. Large countries have 29 votes, whereas Denmark has seven votes. 71% of the weighted votes for the proposal shall be provided. In the case of a proposal for an international standard, each country has one vote and at least two-thirds of active members shall vote in favor.

6. Publication
Once a standard is approved, it can be purchased from Danish Standards. Danish Standards has the exclusive right to publish standards in Denmark and has copyright on the contents.

7. Assessment and revision
A standard is reassessed at least every five years. If necessary – e.g. on the basis of technological developments or new knowledge – the standard is revised.

8. Withdrawal
Standards that are no longer relevant will be withdrawn by Danish Standards.

What are the contents of the standard?

A typical standard begins with:

  • introduction and foreword
  • description of what the standard addresses
  • the scope of the standard
  • references to other standards required for the application of the standard
  • definition and explanation of basic terms
  • an account of symbols and abbreviated terms.

The main part of the standard includes:

  • requirements for a product, a system or a method, and possibly requirements for marking and instructions for use
  • possibly also requirements for other than the product itself, e.g. for its packaging
  • test methods to be used to demonstrate compliance with the requirements
  • if any, annexes that can elaborate the requirements and test methods of the standard or provide guidance and information.

What is a DS handbook and a DS booklet?

In addition to standards, Danish Standards has various other publications to offer. Some are collections of standards that can save you a lot of money if you need several standards in a specific field. Others are handbooks or booklets, which are interpretations or instructions for one or more standards or standards-related fields. Differences in their contents are:

  • A DS booklet provides guidelines for a particular field of expertise in abbreviated form
  • A DS handbook is often a collection of standards within a particular field (including an associated foreword), but may also be a publication that contains detailed information on a particular subject.

What does the designation of a standard mean?

Standards are given a designation and a title, e.g. DS 475:2012, Code of Practice for trenching for underground pipes and cables. The designation of the standard will also show which version we are dealing with and when the standard was approved.

And if “DS” is part of the designation, this means that it is a Danish standard. European standards are designated by the letters EN or ETS, and international standards by ISO or IEC.

All European standards have to be approved as a Danish standard. They are designated DS/EN, if they were developed by CEN and CENELEC. If, at the same time, the standard is an international standard, the designation is DS/EN ISO.

Who owns standards?

Standards are covered by the Danish Copyright Act. This means that, without our approval, other parties cannot dispose of, or produce copies of standards and work documents. This also applies to enterprises, organizations or persons who are members of one or more standardization committees. Therefore, committee members are not free to use the work documents or the completed standard, e.g. by copying and distributing it to others.

According to applicable Danish law, copyright usually belongs to the provider of the standard or to whom the copyright has been transferred to. However, when standards are developed at the regional, European or international level, the relevant standardization body reserves all rights, including copyright, to the further use of work documents or standards. In practice, this means that committee members who participate in writing the standards waive copyright which ultimately accrues to the national standards organizations – such as Danish Standards.

If you wish to reproduce text from Danish standards for use in books, publications, brochure material, or wish to enter into agreements on electronic representation on the company's intranet, please contact Danish Standards on phone +45 39 96 61 31.

What do the words mean?

See our Dictionary.



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