Article Index


A Regulation is a binding document which contains legislative, regulatory or administrative rules and which is adopted and published by an authority legally vested with the necessary power. References made to standards in regulations may have one of two effects:

  • Standards made mandatory: the standard or the part of the standard which is referred to must be followed, or a specific result in a standard test must be achieved in order to obey the statutory requirement. This means that the text in the standard ceases to be voluntary in the context of the legal requirement.
  • Standards deemed to satisfy: in this case, compliance with the standard is indicated as one way of fulfilling a regulatory requirement. It is possible to choose another route to fulfil the requirement, but those doing so may be required to prove that their alternative complies with the regulation.

Structure of a typical standard

The following is the structure of a typical IEC standard specification:

  1. Foreword (followed by preface and introduction where appropriate), giving the background to the specification and its international development;
  2. Scope;
  3. Object;
  4. Definitions;
  5. Conditions For Operation in Service;
  6. Classification;
  7. Characteristics;
  8. Marking;
  9. Standard Conditions for Construction; and
  10. Tests.

This structure has been criticised in the past in that it sometimes leads to a certain degree of repetition in different clauses. However this disadvantage is offset by the considerable advantage that all the requirements are clearly stated in each clause, and all the test requirements are gathered together in the final section rather than being distributed throughout the text. It is thus perfectly clear exactly what has actually been tested and what the product has achieved if it successfully complies with the specification.

Testing, certification and approval

To confirm compliance of products with standards, it is necessary to test and to mark the appropriate products to identify compliance with the appropriate standard and/or that the manufacture is maintained at an acceptable level of quality.

The local certification and assessment body is responsible not only for the certification of products but also for the assessment of the capabilities of manufacturers and the service industries. The growing realisation Of the importance of quality and reliability in goods and services has caused rapid growth in the percentage of firms seeking registration.

Registration and maintenance to such a quality standard has a dual advantage. Compliance is not only an attraction to customers, it is also a benefit to the efficient business of the registered firm improving its competitiveness and ensuring the maintenance of that quality by independent assessment to standards.

Electrical Engineers Reference Book
16th Edition
M. A. Laughton