The key principles in standard development are following below:

1.  ISO standards respond to a need in the market.

2.  ISO standards are based on global expert opinion.

3.  ISO standards are developed through a multi-stakeholder process.

4.  ISO standards are based on a consensus

ISO standards are voluntary. ISO is a non-governmental organization and it has no power to enforce the implementation of the standards it develops. A number of ISO standards – mainly those concerned with health, safety or the environment – have been adopted in some countries as part of their regulatory framework, or are referred to in legislation for which they serve as the technical basis. However, such adoptions are decisions by the regulatory authorities or governments of the countries concerned. ISO itself does not regulate or legislate. Although voluntary, ISO standards may become a market requirement, as has happened in the case of ISO 9000 quality management systems, or ISO freight container dimensions.

Standards are a vehicle of communication for producers and users. They serve as a common language, defining quality and establishing safety criteria.  Costs are lower if procedures are standardized; training is also simplified.

A standard can be defined as a set of technical definitions and guidelines, “how to” instructions for designers, manufacturers, and users. Standards promote safety, reliability, productivity, and efficiency in almost every industry that relies on engineering components or equipment.  Standards can run from a few paragraphs to hundreds of pages, and are written by experts with knowledge and expertise in a particular field who sit on many committees.

A standard is a document that provides requirements, specifications, guidelines or characteristics that can be used consistently to ensure that materials, products, processes and services are fit for their purpose.

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO).