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Standards and legal acts

In essence, standards are voluntary documents, the adherence to which is never in essence obligatory, i.e. no standard must be adhered to simply because it exists.

Standard can be made mandatory for everyone only by referring to standards in legislation. There may naturally be situations, in which your trade partner requires adherence to the requirements of a standard from you or you wish to participate in a public tender, the technical specification of which states adherence to certain standards as a prerequisite for participation. In that case, you will also have to follow the requirements of the standard and the standard is de facto compulsory for you. On this page, however, we will concentrate on the cases where standards are made obligatory for the public at large by means of legislation and talk about different ways of referring to standards in legislation.

There are several ways in which it is possible to refer to standards in legislation. The nature of the reference indicates how and which version of the standard must or may be adhered to. In Estonia, referring to standards in legislation is regulated by the Product Conformity Act. Pursuant to the Act, the following situations may occur in referring to a standard in legislation:
• the reference may be recommended or obligatory;
• a standard may be referred either directly or in general;
• the reference may be dated or undated;
• a part or a series of standards may be referred to.

According to clause 6 of § 42 of the Product Conformity Act, in the Estonian national law it is not generally permitted to refer to the standards in the mandatory manner.  Exceptions are allowed only if the European Union law (directives or regulations), or any international agreement requires it.

Obligatory versus recommended reference

In case an obligatory standard exists, anyone whose activity is regulated by a relevant act must follow the requirements of the standard referred to.

In the case of a recommended reference, the requirements of the standard may not be mandatory but to follow such standards often provides assurance that by following the requirements of the standard, the requirements of legislation will be fulfilled or it is possible to acquire other advantages (e.g. an easier conformity assessment procedure, etc).


Obligatory reference
• The procedure for assessing professional competence must correspond to the requirements of the standard EVS-EN ISO/IEC 17011:2004 "Conformity assessment. General requirements to accreditation institutions accrediting conformity assessment institutions".

Recommended reference
• In marking a sizing system by means of size characteristics and their numerical values, it is recommended to proceed from the Estonian standard EVS-EN 13402 or another equivalent standard.

Dated or undated reference

A reference to a standard is dated, if the marking of the standard referred to includes the year of adoption of the standard. In case of a dated reference, the standard is adhered to as at the date. If a standard referred to in such manner has later been republished, amended or withdrawn, in case of a dated reference, the verision of the standard which was valid at the date must be adhered to, disregarding subsequent amendments. In that case, it is possible that a standard already declared invalid must be adhered to.

An undated reference is a reference to a standard without specifying the year of adoption. In that case, the latest valid version of the standard must always be adhered to. If amendments have been published, the initial text with amendments must be adhered to.


Dated reference
• Petrol and diesel fuel must correspond to Estonian standards EVS-EN 228:2004 and EVS-EN 590:2004.

Undated reference
• In labelling textiles and clothing, it is recommended to proceed from the Estonian standard EVS-EN ISO 3758 or another equivalent standard.
• An appraisal report must adhere to the requirements for an appraisal report stated in the Estonian standard EVS 875-4.

Direct or general reference

A reference to a standard is direct, if it includes the standard reference. A reference to a standard is general if standards are referred to as adopted by a certain standard organisation or defined on some other basis and if the reference does not include the standard reference. If it is always unambiguously clear in the case of a direct reference regarding which standard must be adhered to; it is somewhat more difficult in the case of a general reference to determine the standards considered. In such cases, it is recommended to apply standards by using an ICS group based search and to consult our customer service, if necessary.


Direct reference
• The medical gas pipeline systems stated in this regulation must adhere to the standard of the Estonian Centre for Standardisation EVS-EN 737-3 "Medical gas pipeline systems. Part 3: Pipelines for compressed medical gas and vacuum".
• As of entry into force of this regulation, fire hydrants with screw threads conforming to the requirements of EVS-EN 620-3:1996 will not be installed.

General reference:
• In parts unregulated by chapters 1 and 2 of this regulation, corresponding Estonian standards (EVS) or in the absence thereof, the International Electrotechnical Commission standards (IEC) or documents equivalent to those stated must be proceeded from in performing the electrical safety requirements laid down in the Electrical Safety Act.
• If it is impossible to presume the safety of a product on the basis of the provisions of subsection (1) or (2) of this Act, product safety shall be assessed by taking into account the following:
1) Estonian standards transposing relevant European standards other than harmonised standards;
2) original Estonian standards …

Reference to a part of a standard or a series of standards

If only a part of a standard is referred to in legislation, the referred part of the standard must be adhered to and other aspects of the standard may be disregarded in the framework of the legislation.

A registration plate number issued from 01.07.2004 must correspond to rules established in clause 3.6 of the Estonian standard EVS 597:2004.

If a series of standards is referred to, all standards in the corresponding standard series must be adhered to.

The test projects are assessed by a committee pursuant to good practice in assessing immovable property and internationally established principles and requirements stated in the property assessment standard series EVS 875.

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