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Frequently Asked Questions

What are standard specifications?

Standard specifications, generally called standards, are documents produced by accredited organisations to ensure the quality of products. The organisations producing the standard specifications may be

  • International, eg., International Standardisation Organisation (ISO), Comite Europeen de Normalisation (CEN)
  • National, eg., British Standards Institution (BSI), American National Standards Institution (ANSI), Deutsches Institut fur Normung (DIN), Association Francaise de Normalisation (AFNOR) etc.
  • Organisations within a country which produce standards widely accepted within that country or worldwide, and whose specifications may or may not have been adopted by their national standards organisation, eg., American Welding Society (AWS), American Petroleum Institute (API), American Society for Mechanical Engineers (ASME).
  • Company specifications to which their suppliers and sub-contractors must conform, eg., Ford, Shell, Rolls Royce etc.

The current trend is to produce international standard specifications, as goods are increasingly produced for a worldwide market.

Why use standard specifications?

Quality and reliability are of prime concern to industry. Consumers, sales persons, producers and insurance companies need to be sure that products are fit for purpose, and are correctly manufactured.

In order to achieve agreement between the parties, standards have evolved through the work of committees comprising representatives of each of these sectors plus acknowledged experts, such as respected academics and senior research staff from internationally recognised research institutions such as TWI.

The resulting standards are updated regularly to take into account the most recent developments in manufacturing methods, materials and testing methods.

Through the use of such documents assurance can be given of the integrity of a product and, where necessary, rules laid down for the inspection of components to ensure their performance meets expected levels.

Who can help me?

TWI offers help with the identification of standards, and the following page on the website will help you to find commonly used welding and joining related standards.

TWI's Information Services offer help with the identification of standards, and provide general information from the thousands of specifications from many countries held in the library stock or accessible by the information services staff.

Please contact which have web sites, with links through to those sites, has been produced.

For more information please email: