There are different standards in place to support different industrial sectors – these can range from the requirements to manufacture hospital beds through to the production, inspection and certification of pressure vessels.

Within the world of standardisation, the industry has:

BS – British Standard

CEN / EN – European Standard

ISO – International Standard

In the UK there are also documents with the prefix of PD (Published Document)

CEN there are CR (CEN Reports)

ISO standards there are TR (Technical Reports) 

Some countries for example the USA adopt American Society of Mechanical Engineering (ASME) codes for pressure components and American Welding Society (AWS) for steel structures and components.

Formerly in the UK only British Standards were used as application standards for manufacturing purposes and the approval of welding procedures and welders. Circa early 1990s the UK saw the adoption of European standards (EN) and wherever there was a conflicting standard in the BS system this had to be withdrawn.

Following on from EN superseding BS the Vienna Agreement was signed in 1991, it was written to prevent the duplication of effort and to reduce time when preparing standards. This resulted in new standard projects being jointly planned and delivered between CEN and ISO with ISO leading the projects.

The world of standardisation in welding and fabrication has evolved and we now have globalised standards recognised worldwide.

Andy Spence has Chaired the UK National Committee (BSI WEE36) since the early 1990s and has represented the UK at European (CEN) and ISO level for Welding Procedure and Welding Qualification standards.

Andy brings a wealth of understanding and experience in the application of welding standards.

Below is a list of key words that need to be considered when looking at the BSI website in relation to the status of standards.



Confirmed the standard has been reviewed and confirmed as being current.
Current    the document is the current, most recent published one available
Partially Replaced the standards has been partially replaced by one or more other standards
Proposed for confirmation the standard is being reviewed an it has been proposed that it is conformed as the current standard
Proposed for obsolescence   the standard is being reviewed and it has been proposed that it is made obsolescent
Proposed for withdrawal  the standard is being reviewed and it has been proposed that it is withdrawn
Revised      the standard has been revised
Superseded    the standard has been replaced by one or more other standards
Under review  the standard is under review
Withdrawn  the document is no longer current and has been withdrawn
Work in Hand     there is work being undertaken on the standard
Draft for Public Comment   a national stage in the development of the standard
Obsolescent:   indicating by amendment that the standard is not recommended for use for new equipment but needs to be retained to provide for the servicing of equipment that is expected to have a long working life.

There are also similar abbreviations in CEN and ISO systems.

There are important stages during the creation of a standard, some of the abbreviations are shown below:

prEN:      Provisional European Standard

EN:          European Standard

WGD:     Working Group Document

CD:          Committee Draft

DIS:         Draft International Standard

FDIS:      Final Draft International Standard

ISO:         International Standard