|Type||Non-profit distributing incorporated body operating under Royal Charter|
Number of locations
|90 offices in 31 countries|
|Products||standards and standards related services|
Number of employees
The British Standards Institution (BSI) is the national standards body of the United Kingdom. BSI produces technical standards on a wide range of products and services and also supplies certification and standards-related services to businesses.
BSI was founded as the Engineering Standards Committee in London in 1901. It subsequently extended its standardization work and became the British Engineering Standards Association in 1918, adopting the name British Standards Institution in 1931 after receiving a Royal Charter in 1929. In 1998 a revision of the Charter enabled the organization to diversify and acquire other businesses, and the trading name was changed to BSI Group.
The Group now operates in 195 countries. The core business remains standards and standards related services, although the majority of the Group's revenue comes from management systems assessment and certification work.
In 2021, BSI appointed its first female chief executive officer, Susan Taylor Martin.
BSI produces British Standards, and, as the UK's National Standards Body, is also responsible for the UK publication, in English, of international and European standards. BSI is obliged to adopt and publish all European Standards as identical British Standards (prefixed BS EN) and to withdraw pre-existing British Standards that are in conflict. However, it has the option to adopt and publish international standards (prefixed BS ISO or BS IEC).
In response to commercial demands, BSI also produces commissioned standards products such as Publicly Available Specifications, (PASs), Private Standards and Business Information Publications. These products are commissioned by individual organizations and trade associations to meet their needs for standardized specifications, guidelines, codes of practice etc. Because they are not subject to the same consultation and consensus requirements as formal standards, the lead time is shorter.
BSI also publishes standards-related books, CD-ROMs, subscription and web-based products as well as providing training on standards-related issues.
With 80,000 clients, BSI is one of the world's largest certification bodies. It audits and provides certification to companies worldwide who implement management systems standards. BSI also runs training courses that cover the implementation and auditing requirements of national and international management systems standards.
It is independently accredited and assesses a wide range of standards and other specifications including:
Within Testing Services, BSI's best known product in the UK is the Kitemark, a registered certification mark first used in 1903. The Kitemark – which is recognized by 82% of UK adults – signifies products or services which have been assessed and tested as meeting the requirements of the related specification or standard within a Kitemark scheme.
BSI also conducts testing of products for a range of certifications, including for CE marking. CE marking must be applied to a wide range of products intended for sale in the European Economic Area. Frequently manufacturers or importers need a third-party certification of their product from an accredited or 'Notified' body. BSI holds Notified Body status for 15 EU Directives, including construction products, marine equipment, pressurised equipment and personal protective equipment.
BSI also conducts testing for manufacturers developing new products and has facilities to test across a wide range of sectors, including construction, fire safety, electrical and electronic and engineering products.
Within Healthcare, BSI provides regulatory and quality management reviews and product certification for medical device manufacturers in Europe, the United States, Australia, Japan, Taiwan, Canada and China. It is the market leader in the US, the world's biggest healthcare market.
Starting in 1998, BSI Group has adopted a policy of international growth through acquisition as follows:
In 2021, BSI Group, supported by the Construction Products Association, led the development of a system known as BSI Identify, which has been established in response to Dame Judith Hackitt's recommendation that
The built environment sector ... needs to accelerate the adoption of readily available means of providing product traceability. ... [T]here is a strong case for materials and products to carry permanent marking to ensure their identification and traceability...and...a consistent labelling and traceability system.
BSI Identify uses new Digital Object Identifier (DOI) technology "to deliver a unique, constant, and interoperable identifier", known as a BSI UPIN, "which can be assigned to products to help UK manufacturers to directly manage information about their products in the supply chain". The aim of the BSI Identify programme is that "wherever you are with [a] product, you can take a snapshot of the QR code with your mobile device and it will immediately take you to the product technical data sheet. You can see exactly what product it is, you can answer any questions about it, you can see installation advice etc."