ISO standards make a positive contribution to the world we live in by facilitating trade, spreading knowledge, disseminating innovative advances in technology, and sharing good management and conformity assessment practices.

In the United Kingdom, standards made an annual contribution of GBP 2.5 billion to the economy, and 13 % of the growth in labour productivity was attributed to standards. Standards were identified as enablers of innovation and facilitators of technological change. The economic return on investment in standards made sound business sense at both macro- and micro-economic levels.

Standards also provide tangible and quantifiable benefits to companies. A series of ground-breaking case studies by ISO and partner organizations based on the experiences of 11 companies operating in a variety of business sectors in 10 countries, shows that implementing standards can provide economic benefits from between 0.5 % and 4 % of their annual sales revenues.

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The benefits of an effective certified management system for Companies can include:

  • more efficient use of resources
  • increased competitiveness
  • improved risk management
  • increased customer satisfaction as services and products consistently deliver what they promise
  • Reduced exposure of employees and other parties to occupational health and safety risks , and
  • Reduced impact on the environment

Construction Sector

The Construction sector is subject to public purse constraints and industry and governmental initiatives which impact on processes, technological advances and standards implementation. The transient nature of construction teams also necessitates increased controls on the selection, appointment and supervision of the contracted supply chain.

All SCS auditors operating within the Construction Sector have relevant qualifications and industry experience.


The continual growth of SCS will see development into additional Technical Areas and the adoption of additional schemes and standards. Current undertakings include but are not limited to Aerospace and Information Security Management, whilst industry developments include impending standards such as ISO45001 for Occupational Health & Safety Systems.


The process of auditing and certification comprises a series of steps as follows.

Application - A detailed application form acquires information to enable a specific quotation is prepared for certification services required.

Acceptance - On signing the quotation in cognisance of terms and conditions, legal relations for the execution of certification services is formed.

Audit Planning - An audit is scheduled as agreed and a plan is prepared to advise when client personnel are likely to be required and which are operations are subject to audit. A formal plan is not produced for Stage 1 Audits.

Initial Audit - The initial certification audit of a management system is conducted in two stages: Stage 1 and Stage 2. Stage 1 is generally completed on the Client's site and evaluates the location, management system and preparedness for Stage 2. Stage 2 is the main audit, to evaluate the implementation, including effectiveness, of the client's management system.

Corrective Actions - For any nonconformity there will be a proposed corrective action to remedy any defects in either products or processes. All corrective actions must be cleared to the satisfaction of the Audit Team Leader or a nominated representative before certification.

Certification - On receipt of the Audit Report & details of closed corrective actions, the certification body will undertake a review of the recommendation of the Audit Team Leader and approve the decision (or otherwise) to grant certification. The final step is a review of impartiality risk and authorisation by the Certification Secretary, whereupon the appropriate certificate is issued.

Continuous Surveillance - To ensure the ongoing maintenance and implementation of the management system processes, regular surveillance audits are conducted within the 3 year cycle. Surveillance audits do not normally address all elements of the system.

Re-Certification - Every 3 Years the Management System is subject to a full system audit and the cycle begins again, taking cognisance of organisational changes, growth and/or product/service extensions etc.

Engineering & Manufacturing Sectors

The engineering and manufacturing sectors have experienced increased competition from world markets, pressure on margins, demands for better performing products and equipment, and huge impacts on people demographics and skills availability, associated with the global economic situation.

All SCS auditors operating within the Engineering and Manufacturing Sectors have relevant qualifications and industry experience.


Due to recent proliferation, many organisations seek to implement and certify multiple management system standards. This has led to the need to easily combine or integrate them in an effective and efficient manner. The reality is that the various management system standards all have many apparently common requirements, terms and definitions that are subtly or substantially different which has caused confusion and inconsistent understanding and implementation. Annex SL has been produced with the objective of delivering consistent and compatible management system standards.

Annex SL describes the framework for a generic management system. However, it requires the addition of discipline-specific requirements to make a fully functional quality, environmental, service management, food safety, business continuity, information security and energy management system standards.

In future all new management system standards will have the same overall 'look and feel'. Current management system standards will migrate during their next revision. This should be completed within the next few years.

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