From proposal to publication: how are standards created?

The development of a standard is a meticulous and complicated process involving numerous parties. There are a lot of things to consider at each step of the standardisation process. Because of this, it takes up to three years to develop a standard.


Standard development: what are the steps that a standard goes through?

  1. Proposal: at the request of companies or sectors, NBN submits a proposal to the Comité Européen de Normalisation (CEN) or the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) to develop a standard in a specific field. Once approved, the proposal is assigned to a standards committee (also referred to as a technical committee or TC). In those committees, the interested parties agree on the specific characteristics and requirements of a product, process or service.
  1. Draft standard: the standards committee prepares a draft standard in collaboration with national standardisation bodies. For Belgium, this is NBN together with its sector operators. And experts – specialists who collaborate on the recasting of existing standards and the formulation of new standards – will be asked to contribute to this process.
  1. Public enquiry: each country that is a member of CEN or ISO subjects the draft standard to a public enquiry. Once all the comments have been reviewed, the adapted draft standard is approved and then the standard is published.
  1. Publication: the standard is published and made available.


Which institutions are involved in the standardisation process?

Most standards are developed at an international level. NBN coordinates Belgian participation and brings experts together to sit on a standards committee. Companies, authorities or other interested parties can also take part.

NBN manages a number of standards committees itself. In addition, sector operators are also a crucial part of the standardisation process. They may also manage standards committees and take charge of the administrative and technical follow-up process for these committees within a particular field. They form the link between the experts on these committees on the one hand and NBN on the other. They also ensure that all interested parties are able to take part in the standardisation process.

See who else helps to develop standards


NBN: your ideal partner for developing standards

Are there no standards for your sector (yet)? NBN can help you! We would be pleased to make our standards expertise and experience in developing standards available to your organisation. We can offer you the chance to enhance your expertise, help define the market and even enter into cross-sector partnerships with potential new partners from our network.

Discover even more benefits to be gained by taking part as an expert


How should you go about implementing standards?

Would you like to take part in the standardisation process as an expert? Register to participate in one of our committees and help us develop new standards based on your practical experience. Click here for a list of committees, along with the sector operator that supervises the committee.


Want to find out more about joining a standards committee?

Send an e-mail to or call 02 300 78 53.


Interested in standards development?

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