What's an ÖNORM? Why do I need it? How is it created and how can I take part?
“Standards, standards, standards,” says Ms. Pospisil. “I do understand what standards are, but what is an ÖNORM?”
The master carpenter types her question into the search box of her favourite search engine and gets the following answer:
An ÖNORM is an Austrian standard.
“Aha.” Ms. Pospisil continues to read.
Like all standards, ÖNORMs are applied on a voluntary basis. They are developed, for example, upon a proposal made by stakeholders.
ÖNORMs are also issued when European or International Standards are taken over at the national level.
They are published by Austrian Standards International.
Ms. Pospisil finds a graph illustrating the structure of ÖNORM references.
She learns that “EN” stands for a standard recognized all over Europe and, moreover, that not every international standard becomes a European one. Some of them are directly taken over in Austria so that “EN” is not included in the reference.
Ms. Pospisil scrolls back to the launch of ÖNORM development and something catches her eye: “Upon a proposal made by stakeholders…? So, we can get involved, too! But how do we go about this?”
Development of an ÖNORM
If Ms. Pospisil wants an existing standard to be revised or has an idea for a new one, she can submit a project proposal using an online form.
If there is already a committee dealing with relevant subjects at Austrian Standards International, it will examine – jointly with Ms. Pospisil, the applicant – the project proposal for the development/revision of a standard.
For this purpose, it will check:
whether similar standardization projects are already underway at the European level. If yes, Austria cannot go ahead with developments (this is called a “standstill obligation”);
any relevant legal provisions, patents and trademark rights, international and foreign standards that have to be taken into account.
Furthermore, the parties interested in the subject, i.e. the stakeholders, are determined.
It is also possible to consider the development of an ONR (ON-Regel or ON Rule).
After this examination by the committee, Ms. Pospisil’s project proposal is submitted to the public for comments for four weeks. Project proposals currently open for comments are listed here.
On the basis of the comments received and the previous examination, the competent committee decides on whether to include the project proposed in its work programme.
“And now,” Ms. Pospisil wants to know, “what happens now?”
When the committee has adopted the proposal for developing a national ÖNORM standard, it informs the public and specific potential stakeholders. They may take part in the standardization project. Furthermore, the other CEN members (i.e. national standardization organizations) are also informed (i.e. "notified") of the project.
The committee will then draft the proposed standard within a pre-defined time schedule. A committee manager of Austrian Standards International will support the project during its entire cycle. After completion of work, the committee will decide on whether the proposal can be submitted as an ÖNORM-Entwurf (draft Austrian standard) to the public for comments.
After the release of the draft ÖNORM, the public, i.e. everyone, has six weeks to comment on the substance of the document.
“And how,” Ms. Pospisil wants to know, “how can I submit my comments?”
Comments on draft standards can be submitted online at the Draft Standard Portal.
The comments received in this procedure are discussed by the committee (if possible, with the participation of those persons who submitted the comments). The comments will be either accepted or rejected with a statement of reasons.
Depending on the kind and extent of amendments resulting from public consultation, the committee will decide whether:
- the document can be published as a (finalized) ÖNORM,
- the draft is to be revised and again submitted to the public as a "2nd draft ÖNORM", or
- the project is deleted from the work programme.
Ms. Pospisil is pleased: “If it’s so easy, I am going to submit a proposal right away,” she says.