Explanatory information on ÖNORM standards
1. ÖNORM – obligations or recommendations?
ÖNORM standards are recommendations. On principle, everybody is free to decide whether he/she wants to use an ÖNORM standard and to which extent. However, compliance with ÖNORM standards can be agreed in contracts. In just a few cases, standards are made mandatory by acts of parliament, regulations or administrative decisions.
2. What does SHALL mean? What does SHOULD mean?
ÖNORM standards use the modal verbs shall or should. The difference is:
- If a user wants to demonstrate that his/her product, service, etc., is in conformity with an ÖNORM standard, the requirements identified by “shall” and “shall not” (negation) in an ÖNORM have to be met.
- “Should” and “should not” (negation) designate further recommendations and describe one option (out of several ones) – without mentioning or ruling out other solutions. A product, a service, etc., still is in conformity with a standard if something differs from the way it “should” be done.
3. How can you demonstrate that an ÖNORM is complied with?
The fact that products, services or procedures meet the requirements laid down in an ÖNORM standard can be demonstrated by:
- the manufacturers or service providers themselves (“first party”, self-declaration),
- the users or clients (“second party”, supplier assessment) or
- an independent body (“third party”, certification).
The type of evidence used can be freely selected and is not specified in the relevant ÖNORM standard.
4. How do ÖNORM standards come about?
It all starts with a problem that can/should be solved by the development of standards — predominantly European and/or international standards (EN, ISO). When there is such a need you can contact a standardization organization such as Austrian Standards International (A.S.I.) to initiate the process at the European/international/national level. Before work starts, an inquiry is launched to find out whether there is sufficient interest in a standard among the stakeholders.
Rules for the development of purely national ÖNORM standards and for participation in European and international standardization work are laid down in the Internal Regulations of A.S.I.
5. Who creates ÖNORM standards?
All enterprises and organizations interested in a specific topic can and should take part in developing European, international and purely Austrian standards. Industry, public administration, consumers, academia, testing institutes and professional organizations — to name just a few — delegate experts to the standardization committees of Austrian Standards.
The organizations and enterprises represented on a specific committee and contributing to ÖNORM standards are identified on the website of Austrian Standards
On principle, any organization or expert interested can directly join in the work of a standardization committee and, as a result, develop purely Austrian standards but also help shape European standards (EN) and/or international standards (ISO).
Moreover, anybody who does not directly work in a committee can:
- submit comments on ÖNORM projects Link zu Projektanträge zur Abstimmung;
- submit comments on draft ÖNORM standards (Link zu Normen-Entwurf-Portal);
- input experiences and propose improvements for existing ÖNORM standards (Link wohin? https://www.austrian-standards.at/ueber-standards/ihr-partner-bei-der-entwicklung-von-standards/);
- apply for membership in a committee (Link wohin: https://www.austrian-standards.at/ueber-standards/ihr-partner-bei-der-entwicklung-von-standards/).