FAQ

What does “EVS” mean?

“EVS” is the designation of the Estonian standard. The meaning of “EVS” has not been officially confirmed but it has been explained as an abbreviation of “Eesti Vabariigi standard” (Standard of Estonian Republic). “EVS” is also used as the acronym of the Estonian Centre for Standardisation as an organisation.

Why do I have to pay for standards?

Standardisation organisations are typically private non-profit associations. Resources are required to operate any organisation or system. Even if the standardisation process was founded on the work of non-paid experts, input would be required, both in the form of manpower and money, to keep the standardisation system going. The price is determined based on the cost-orientation principle – the revenue from the sold standards must cover the costs required to operate the Centre for Standardisation and ensure that there are sufficient funds to develop the Estonian standardisation system.

How is the price for a standard determined?

The price list of Estonian standards will be confirmed by the board of the Centre for Standardisation. The price of each specific standard will be determined based on the price list and the number of pages in the standard. This calculation includes only the content pages and does not include first pages, intentionally blank pages, etc. The prices for the standards of other standardisation organisations will be determined by those standardisation organisation who issue them.

Are standards obligatory?

Standards are not at all obligatory. It is possible that the state has made some standards obligatory with a legal act (act or regulation). In such a case, the standard must be adhered to.

Why are standards not obligatory?

Mostly, standards are documents that have been developed voluntarily and mostly under private initiative, intended not to serve as legislation, but rather as instructions and guidelines for those who wish to use standards and consider them useful. The current standardisation system has been built-up taking into consideration the initial purposes of standards – serving as sources of information and tools, not coercive measures.

Why should (voluntary) standards be used?

Standards help to ensure the overall quality and safety of a product or service. Standards guarantee compatibility and replaceability, reduce the variety of unnecessary variants as well as the production cost of processes and procedures. Standards help to protect the health of people and animals, as well as the environment, and create transparency regarding technical and technological issues, providing, for instance, unified terminology. In areas with rapid technological development, the standards may be the basis for assessing future risks. Unifying standards is an important step towards the free movement of international goods. The standards could also help with meeting the obligatory requirements of legislation. Therefore, there are many reasons why standards should be used. For each organisation, the need for standards will rise from the peculiarities of the area of activity and related options.

How to initiate development of a standard?

To develop a standard, you should contact a recognised standardisation organisation. In Estonia, such an organisation is the Estonian Centre for Standardisation. You can find comprehensive information on the different aspects of standard development from the section Information for those interested in standard development.

What are the advantages of participating in standardisation?

Standards are not obligatory; however, as their practical value is great, using them is, in fact, inevitable. Any group that actively participates in the standard development process will be able to:

  • impact the rules and code of practice that will take effect in their field;
  • acquire information on the development of a standard early on and thus make gradual preparations to implement it;
  • acquire information on the newest trends among the customers and the requirements the customers have;
  • possible valuable information on what the competitors think and what their strengths are as well as information on the general market situation;
  • obtain new professional contacts.

How are standards translated? / How are Estonian language standards created?

The Estonian Centre for Standardisation takes care of organising the translation of standards into Estonian. The Centre for Standardisation organises translating each standard, for which there is a need or for the translation of which a proposal has been made, if it is possible to find the necessary funds. You can find more information on the translating of standards from the section Preparation and translation of a standard. As the Centre for Standardisation usually hires experts to ensure a high-quality translation, translating standards is relatively resource-intensive. In the case of limited resources, the standards to be translated will be selected primarily depending on the market need – i.e., the proposals of technical committees as well as the usability of the standard in Estonia will be considered.

Who will be responsible for the correct terminology used in the standards?

The standards are prepared and the standard translations are approved by expert teams (technical committees), meaning that the terminology used in the standards is approved by experts in the field. The task of the Centre for Standardisation is to ensure that competent experts are involved in the preparation and approval of the standard and its translation and that the final result would reflect their consensus position.

What should I do if I find an error in a standard?

You should definitely notify the Estonian Centre for Standardisation if you find an error in a standard. We will organise a standard corrigendum or amendment together with the standard compilers/translators and publish the corrected version of the standard.

What is the difference between standards, legislation, and norms?

Standards are technical guidelines or descriptions established by following particular standardisation rules of private standardisation organisations and they are voluntary. Legislation is a regulatory instrument (e.g. act, regulation) of the state or some other authority, the following of which is obligatory and the disregard of which may result in the application of sanctions. A norm may, depending on the context, refer to legislation, a standard, some other established technical description or set of rules or simply a well-established practice.

What is the association between legislation and standards?

You can read more on the links between standards and legislation from the section Standards and Legislation.

Does the protection of intellectual property apply to standards?

Very often, it is wrongly thought that standards are public documents that can be used and distributed without any limits. In fact, standards are objects of copyright and the rules of copyright protection must be followed when using them. You can read more on the standards copyright from the section Standards and Copyright.

Why can standards not be copied/distributed?

Standards are protected by copyright, and internationally established rules apply to their distribution and usage, according to which it is not allowed to illegally distribute and copy the standards. For many standardisation organisations, including the Estonian Centre for Standardisation, revenue from the sale of standards is an important source of income. Most standardisation organisations operate as non-profit associations, due to which the sustainable operation and development of the system requires that the resources used by standardisers would not be reduced due to the illegal distribution of standards.

How is the standardisation system financed?

The majority of national standardisation organisation budgets comes from the sale of standards and services. As many standardisation bodies are also associations, they receive membership fees. Certain work programmes are often financed by industry, while national authorities may also financially support programmes either on a contractual or regular basis. State funding is common in smaller countries, in which the standardisation organisations often need additional funds because the market of standard users is small.

Are Swedish standards the same as Estonian standards?

The standards of different countries are different if they are not based on regional or international standards or have not been prepared as a result of co-operation between national standardisation organisations. Therefore, Swedish and Estonian standards that are based on European standards are identical and you can recognise them by the abbreviation “EN” included in their designation. Standards of different countries that are based on ISO or IEC standards are the same. Original Swedish standards are typically different from Estonian standards.

What is the role of national, European and international standardisation organisations?

National standardisation organisations (e.g. EVS) ensure the required standardisation infrastructure and the execution of agreed procedures on the national level. National standardisation organisations prepare and distribute national standards, which can be based on European and international standards. National standardisation organisations are members of European and international standardisation organisations or co-operate with them, mediating national positions at the European or international level. European standardisation organisations (CEN, CENELEC, ETSI) co-ordinate standardisation at the European level. The objective of these organisations is to create common standards across Europe and thereby diminish problems arising from different countries having different standards. At European standardisation organisations, the standards are prepared by experts appointed by national standardisation organisations. The role of international standardisation organisations (ISO, IEC, ITU) is similar to those of European standardisation organisations: creating common standards at the global level.

How could I participate in the standardisation process at the European and international level?

In most standardisation sectors, a national standardisation organisation organises participating in European and international standardisation processes. Therefore, if you would like to participate in European or international standardisation, you should contact the Estonian Centre for Standardisation. You can find more information from the section Information for those interested in standard preparation.

How to stay informed about standardisation activities?

There are several ways to acquire information on standardisation activities and selecting the most suitable depends on how much you want to be involved in the standardisation process. If you want to actively participate in standardisation, either at the Estonian, European or international level, we recommend that you become a member of some technical committee or form a technical committee with other parties active in the same sector. If you want to be updated about amendments made to the standards and the publication of new standards, we recommend using the standards information service or the standards monitoring service (both services are free).

How do standards become harmonised standards?

Harmonised standards are standards that are linked to European Union directives or regulations and help to comply with their technical requirements. As a rule, a harmonised standard provides a compliance prerequisite with regard to the performance of the directive requirements if a relevant reference regarding this standard has been published in the Official Journal of the European Union. The purpose of harmonised standards is to describe technical solutions for the performance of requirements laid down in the directives. As a rule, the use of harmonised standards provides a so-called presumption of conformity with regard to the performance of the directive requirements, which makes the use of harmonised standards the easiest way to prove the performance of important requirements of directives.

Are harmonised standards obligatory?

As a rule, harmonised standards are not obligatory. When following a harmonised standard, it is presumed that the requirements covered with the scope of a respective directive or regulation have been met, at the same time, retaining the right to meet the requirements by using some other technical solutions. The construction products sector is an exception, as a standard must be followed in order to meet the requirements of regulations. The mandatory nature and legal meaning of a harmonised standard arises from the text of each relevant directive or regulation and may differ by areas.

Is it forbidden to use an invalid harmonised standard?

A standard’s validity and its status as a harmonised standard are not individually related. It is possible that there is a still a reference about an invalid standard in the Official Journal of the European Union. In such a case, the standard’s referenced, invalid version should be used to meet the requirements of a directive.

What does the CE-mark mean?

The CE-mark indicates compliance with those European directives or regulations that require the CE-mark as a mark of conformity. Such legislation is referred to as the new approach directives, within the framework of which the CE-mark is the product’s so-called “passport” used for entering the European Union market. The CE-mark is not a mark of quality or certification.

Can a manufacturer use the CE-mark on a product before the relevant standard has been accepted as a national standard?

Yes. In most areas, implementing a harmonised standard is not obligatory. In such fields, there is no need to follow the standard to receive the CE-mark. Moreover, harmonised standards are identical in all European countries, meaning that there is no need to wait until the standard is recognised as an Estonian standard, as the standard of another country may also be followed.