1. I do not find a standard in the web shop. What do I have to do?
We will gladly obtain standards published around the world for you. Please contact us about this.
2. Can I make a standard that I bought accessible to others?
It is forbidden by data protection legislation and the general terms and conditions to copy a standard, e-mail it, post it on a public computer drive or share it in any other way. We will be happy to advise you on a multi-user license which gives you the right to make multiple copies.
3. Why do standards cost money?
Anyone using standards in their daily work benefits from a series of economic advantages:
- Easier market access – nationally, Europe-wide and globally
- Streamlined quoting and tendering practices
- Increased efficiency
- State of the art/innovation/science
- Simplified quality-assurance documentation process
- Reduced risk in terms of product liability
- Improved product safety
- Legal certainty
Standards contain the pooled knowledge of all partners participating in the respective market – knowledge established during a fair development process managed by the standardization organizations. Additional information!
By purchasing standards, users1 also ensure that standardization continues to be organized by the private sector. The work of the SNV is predominantly funded through the sale of standards and via membership fees. Alongside the drafting of texts for standards, this work encompasses ensuring that there is no duplication of effort in the standardization process as a whole, alignment with European and international standards, and continuous assessment of standards to ensure they reflect the current state of technological and scientific development.
The cost of developing the standards is therefore shared by those users who derive a benefit from standardization through use of the respective standards. The economy is therefore self-regulating in terms of which standards are in line with the market conditions – a fair approach.
4. Why isn’t the standardization process funded by the state?
Contrary to popular belief, the SNV is note a state-funded institution, but is instead a private-sector organization with the status of a private-law association. The work of the SNV is predominantly funded through the sale of standards. This ensures that the users of the standards decide which standards are in line with the market conditions. Standards are developed by practitioners, for practitioners.
5. Why do I have to pay for a standard even when it is referred to in legislation? After all, laws don’t cost anything.
Laws are developed by state committees and funded through taxes. By contrast, the SNV is a private-sector organization. Even though state bodies have a stake in standardization and also promote it – intellectually, staffing-wise and not least financially – the result of the standardization work ultimately remains the product of a private rule-making institution and is thus copyright-protected, so that technical rules are generally provided as paid products.
Even if the legislator refers to Swiss standards, this does not make said standards a publicly owned product and they are therefore also not available free of charge. However, they can be read for free.
6. Who sets the price of standards?
The prices are set by management in coordination with the Board committee.
7. Why do I pay less for a reference book containing several hundred pages than I do for a standard with just a few pages?
The cost of printing and distributing Swiss standards plays only a minor role in price-setting. The price is predominantly determined by the process costs involved in the SNV’s development and project-management work. Specifically, this involves the following:
- Developing the individual standardization documents, which contain the commonly recognized state of technological and scientific development – as established through the involvement of all the relevant stakeholders – and are therefore highly reliable
- Implementing a public appeal procedure involving the publication of the draft standards
- Publicizing new standards via Information Switec and the SNV’s online services
- Managing the overlap-free standardization process as a whole
- Ensuring the alignment with European and international standards
- Continuous assessment of standards to ensure they reflect the current state of technological and scientific development
Furthermore, the SNV’s investments in IT services to simplify the standardization process and the accessing of standards – such as the document management system for the standardization process (Livelink), web conferences and the development of standard portals offering bundled standards for specific sectors at reduced prices – are also partially funded through the sale of standards.
The content of the standards is provided by around 3000 experts working in industry, research, consumer affairs and the public sector. As part of the standardization process, they put their knowledge at the disposal of the general public – by practitioners, for practitioners.
8. How can I acquire standards more cheaply?
With an SNV membership.
9. How do I ensure that my standards are up to date?
You will receive various subscriptions from us to monitor them and ensure they are up to date. We will be happy to advise you and will be pleased to accept your order.
10. Who should take part in the SNV further training courses?
We address both beginners and the advanced, experts and managers. The seminars offer great benefits for the respective groups of people depending on subject and content.
11. How large are the seminar groups?
On average, five to ten people take part in our seminars, ensuring that they can derive the best possible benefit.
12. Do I get a discount as an SNV member?
Yes, as an SNV member you receive 20% off the participation fee.
13. What is included in the seminar price?
The attendance fee includes the seminar documents (one or more standards), lunch and the refreshments during breaks.
14. Are standards mandatory?
Only the directives issued by a government authority (such as laws or ordinances) which has sovereign legislative competence on the basis of the constitution have a generally binding legal force. Standards on the other hand are issued by private-law organizations. These organizations, however, are not authorized to pass legislation, which means that technical standards are in principle not legally binding and do not have the character of a legal rule. Standards are nevertheless regularly referred to in Swiss laws and ordinances, and also in EU directives, which means that in such cases the standards may indeed have legal implications. Legal effects also arise if standards have the status of recognized rules of technology, which is generally assumed to be the case in the construction sector according to the Swiss Federal Supreme Court.
15. What is meant by «state of the art»?
Standards are (or should be) an expression of the latest technology, the state of the art. They reflect the prevailing view of technical practices. Because technical products (devices and equipment) must meet the recognized rules of technology with regard to safety, the standards which are themselves non-binding do also have legal significance in this sense, or a third-party effect. Thus, for example, it is assumed that a machine built in accordance with European harmonized standards meets the required health and safety requirements.
In Switzerland, the technical legislation (such as the Federal Act on Product Safety or the guidelines to implement EU directives) also require that the recognized rules of technology are complied with, and require compliance with the current state of knowledge and technology.
16. Why are European standards important for Switzerland, even though Switzerland is not a member of the EU?
The New Approach concept introduced in 1985 by the EU in the field of product requirements (replaced in 2008 by the concept of the New Legislative Framework [NLF]) results in a connection between legislation and standardization. Both concepts are characterized by the fact that only the essential requirements for the product are specified in the harmonization legislation of the EU for the placing of products on the market. It is assumed that these essential requirements are met if the project was manufactured in compliance with harmonized standards. These harmonized standards are developed by European standardization organizations (CEN, CENELEC, ETSI) based on a mandate issued by the EU Commission.
In Switzerland, the harmonized standards are designated by the competent federal office and published in the Federal Gazette. Because Switzerland coordinates its technical regulations with those of its most important trading partners (Article 4 of the Swiss Federal Act on Technical Barriers to Trade – Bundesgesetz über die technischen Handelshemmnisse, THG), and usually incorporates European standards unchanged into its own national set of standards, harmonized standards also apply in Switzerland by way of references made in Swiss law.
17. Why are there so many different names for ISO 9001, such as EN ISO 9001, SN EN ISO 9001, DIN EN ISO 9001, NF EN ISO 9001? Are the standardization organizations not able to use the same names?
Standards are agreements formulated by experts on products and services in various different economic regions:
- ISO standards are developed for the international market.
- EN standards are developed for the European market (EU and EFTA).
- SN standards are developed for the Swiss market.
The standards of the recognized standardization organizations (ISO, IEC, ITU-T, CEN, CLC, ETSI, SNV, CES, asut) are developed by consensus. The representatives of all the countries and interest groups contribute to ensure that the requirements for goods and services are as far as possible identical around the world, with the standards also describing the achievement, monitoring and measurement of such requirements.
In order to incorporate an international ISO standard or European EN standard into the national set of standards, the national standardization organizations always provide the core information in a national cover sheet, or a national foreword, and more rarely in national annexes. Thus an ISO 9001 becomes an EN ISO 9001 when it is adopted into the European set of standards, and an EN ISO 9001 in turn becomes an SN EN ISO 9001 when it is adopted into the Swiss set of standards. The designations SN (Switzerland), NF (France) or DIN (Germany) specify towards which market the foreword and the specific annexes are directed. The actual content of the ISO 9001 standard remains the same everywhere.
This procedure ensures that an SN EN ISO standard is identical in its normative part to a French NF EN ISO or a German DIN EN ISO, for example. The additional benefit of an SN EN ISO consists in the specific national implementation aids provided by Swiss experts and extra information in the foreword or the national annexes.
18. What is a WTO Enquiry Point?
All WTO Member States are required to establish an enquiry point for matters concerning TBT (Committee on Technical Barriers to Trade) and SPS (Committee on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures), which answer questions relating to technical standards and regulations.
19. What is meant by a «notification»?
Should technical regulations be imposed or amended either abroad or in Switzerland, the WTO members are to be informed in accordance with international agreements. This report is referred to as a «notification».
20. What is meant by a harmonized standard?
A harmonised standard is a European standard developed by a recognised European Standards Organisation: CEN, CENELEC, or ETSI. It is created following a request from the European Commission to one of these organisations. Manufacturers, other economic operators, or conformity assessment bodies can use harmonised standards to demonstrate that products, services, or processes comply with relevant EU legislation.
In order to achieve a presumption of conformity based on the harmonised standard, the reference of harmonised standard must be published in the Official Journal of the European Union.
21. What can I find in the draft standard portal?
The draft standard portal lists the current draft standards of all subject areas. The portal also offers the possibility to comment on the drafts.
22. What can I find in the national work programme?
The national work programme lists all purely national standards and draft standards of all subject areas.
23. What is the information SWITEC?
The SWITEC info is a monthly publication that documents the changes in the Swiss set of standards and provides information on the current status of European standardization.