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Old 20th Jun 2019, 10:26 am   #13
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Dundee, UK.
Posts: 1,297
Default Re: BS3693 Lettering Style on Meter Scales, Etc?

This is a very complex issue with a number of strands and some considerable conflicts.

The principle of standards is a good one and BSI and ints predecessors have done a great deal to set the quality. At one time prices seem to have been more accessible but now they have become prohibitive to a degree which makes them largely inaccessible to the general public and even municipal libraries. This is exacerbated by the very poor value for money, especially of some of the shorter standards. There can be as little as 3 or 4 pages of technical content in a 16 pages document consisiting of front and rear covers, committee lists and list of related standards. Allowing for definitions and lists of symbols, the actual useful information may be only a few lines.

Take as an example BS1746:1987 Specifications for Domestic Pressure Cookers which might reasonably be of interest to a householder. In 1999 the 8 page standard cost 14.00 to non-members. (1.75 per page, allow 3.50 per page for today's prices) It has been replaced by BS EN 12778:2002, a harmonised standard which means that it now covers most of the pressure cookers likely to be on sale in the UK. It's now 30 pages long but costs 176.00 to non-members. (5.86 pe rpage). As much of it's content is harmonised between different countries, any basic research has alrady been done and if harmonisation is only needed once, the cost could be amortised over many years.

However, if for some reason you would like a copy of an obsolete standard, you will be charged the full price of the corresponding current version.

This prohibitive pricing policy must surely negate one of the founding principles of BSI, to disseminate and encourage the use of standards.

The point has already been made about UK statute law quoting British Standards which is little short of beurocratic hypocrisy. Access to the law is free, but .....

It would be difficult for one state to issue harmonised standards at a much lower price, or without charge, as it would affect all the other issuing states. Who would buy a British Standard at the current price if essentially the same standard was free in Ireland, for example?

The independence of BSI from Government is an important principle, but my belief is that Standards should be paid for by a Grant-in-Aid from Government funds and be freely available on-line. Let the member states for harmonised standards sort it out between themselves.

As an aside, and without comment on the content or philosophy, BS7671, The Wiring Regulations is good value for money at an typical price of around 80 for 560 pages! (0.14 per page).

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