Standards Australia

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Standards Australia
Industry Standards organisation

Standards Australia is a standards organisation established in 1922 and is recognised through a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Australian government as the primary non-government standards development body in Australia. It is a company limited by guarantee. As of 1998, it had 73 members representing groups interested in the development and application of technical standards and related products and services. [1] The MoU recognises Standards Australia as Australia's representative on the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) and the Pacific Area Standards Congress (PASC). [1]


Standards Australia develops internationally aligned Australian standards (AS) and participates in standards-related activities. Standards Australia and Standards New Zealand work together to develop joint standards (AS/NZS).

Licensing of the sale of standards

In 2003, Standards Australia sold its standards publication business and entered into a renewable contract giving the company SAI Global exclusive licensing rights to the sales of its standards, [2] and SAI Global was floated on the Australian Stock Exchange. Initially, Standards Australia retained a 40% interest in SAI Global, but progressively sold this shareholding down to zero in order to focus exclusively on its core business of developing and maintaining its suite of approximately 7,000 Australian standards and representing Australia's interests in international standardisation. The contract was further renewed through 2018. [2] In 2016, SAI Global was acquired by Baring Private Equity Asia and delisted from the ASX. [3]

Standards for the construction of buildings were reported to cost an average of A$120 in 2017, and the National Construction Code directly or indirectly referenced several hundred such standards. [4] After negotiations broke down in 2016 with National and State Libraries Australia, the standards ceased to be accessible from the nine libraries that had been offering public access to the standards at an annual cost of A$14,000 per library. [2] As a result, in 2018 several groups including the Building Products Innovation Council, the Master Builders Association, an Australian Senate Economics Reference Committee and the Choice consumer advocacy organisation called for the publication rights to be brought under government control and for the standards to become freely accessible. [4] [2] Several groups advocated that a national standard should be provided free of charge to the relevant members of the industry. The publishing agreement currently held by SAI Global was due to expire in 2018, [2] and the imminent release of the new AS/NZS 3000:2018 Electrical installations standard sparked a renewed campaign for a change of the licensing model.

An analysis of the price of a standards document (ISO 45001) to an end user, was that 40% was ascribed to the cost of sending the PDF document, [5] 54% was a royalty payable to the distributor (SAI Global), and 6% was a royalty to the IP owner (Standards Australia). [5]

The high price of standards document in Australia is seen, by some industry observers, to be at cross-purposes with the implicit objectives of the non-profit organisation, Standards Australia, and inconsistent with the initial creation of the intellectual property for their standards using industry volunteer labour. [5] [6]

Public and industry comment on standards

Standards Australia allows comments to be made on draft standards only. [7] Standards Australia provides no mechanism to identify and record difficulties in the application of standards that are currently in force or internal inconsistencies within those standards. In case of such issues, it is necessary to wait, perhaps years, until the standard is revised and as part of that process generates a new draft.

Examples of notable standards

See also

Related Research Articles

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  1. 1 2 "About Standards Australia". Standards Australia. 10 April 1998. Retrieved 13 February 2014.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 Cormack, Lucy (7 June 2016). "Free access to Australian standards no longer available in public libraries". The Sydney Morning Herald . Retrieved 27 March 2018.
  3. "Company Overview - SAI Global".
  4. 1 2 Heaton, Andrew (12 September 2017). "Australian Construction Standards Should be Freely Available". Sourceable. Retrieved 27 March 2018.
  5. 1 2 3 NINNESS, JOHN (17 December 2018). "Australian Standards : The Unfair Exchange". Australasian Mine Safety Journal. Retrieved 23 August 2023.
  6. efront (11 September 2019). "A Question of Standards". ACA - Association of Consulting Architects Australia. Retrieved 23 August 2023.
  7. "Public Comment on Draft Standards - Consumers' Federation of Australia". Retrieved 23 August 2023.
  8. "AS_NZS 3788: 2006 Pressure equipment – In-service inspection". SAI Global . Retrieved 4 September 2015.