Designated Standards

Designated Standards allow businesses to show their products, services or processes comply with essential requirements of the legislation.

A designated standard is a standard which is recognised by the Government. This is done by publishing its reference GOV.UK in a formal notice of publication. Designated Standards allow manufacturers to demonstrate that their products, services or processes comply with the essential requirements of the legislation.

Depending on the type of product, a designated standard can be a standard which is adopted by any recognised standardisation body:

  • British Standards Institution (BSI)

  • European Committee for Standardisation (CEN)

  • European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardisation (CENELEC)

  • European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI)

  • International Organization for Standardization (ISO)

  • International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC)

  • International Telecommunication Union (ITU)

Whilst the quality and technical adequacy of the standards remains the fundamental responsibility of the standardisation body, the UK Government encourages UK stakeholders to shape the content of the standards. This is done via BSI who represent the interest of UK stakeholders in the development of international and regional European standards. If you are a stakeholder, you can get involved in standards development by:

  • viewing and commenting on proposals for new standards

  • viewing and commenting on draft standards

  • apply as a BSI committee member and provide input on the standards-making process

The GB regulatory framework, which came into effect on 1st January 2021, gave powers to the relevant Secretary of State to "designate" standards for regulatory conformity purposes. The coordination of this is now led by the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) which enables a consistent approach.

When deciding if a standard is appropriate for designation, the responsible government department or agency will review the standard and assess how far it covers the essential requirements set out in the relevant GB legislation. The Government may decide to designate a standard in full, designate with restriction, or not to designate. Any such restrictions are published on GOV.UK.

Designated standards are prefixed "BS", "EN", "EN ISO" or "EN IEC". The "EN" prefix indicates that the standard has been adopted by a regional European standardising body. Where the designated standard is prefixed "EN", it is acceptable to reference this version in technical documentation, or a version of the standard with the national prefix (e.g. "BS EN"). This is because regional European standards are adopted identically by the 34 national members of CEN and CENELEC.

Whilst the essential requirements of GB legislation remain the same as equivalent EU legislation, the informative Annex ZA/ZZ and any references to EU legislation in the designated standards should be read as applying to the legislation for GB in the same way, subject to any restriction or points made in the relevant notice of publication. This will change if and when the essential requirements in GB change.

A list of the designated standards relating to construction can be accessed here.