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Standards Key Facts

The South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) provides standards that enhance the competitiveness of South Africa and are the basis for consumer protection, health and safety. They also address environmental issues. We have more than sixty years of experience in developing national standards and maximising the benefits of the internationalisation of standards. Crucial to this process are the more than 300 technical committees and subcommittees administered by the Standards Division of the SABS to produce standards. At present, approximately 7300 standards are maintained and new standards are developed at a rate of approximately 250 a year. 
Growing environmental awareness and the increasing awareness of quality implies the need for standardised requirements and test methods.
SABS is South Africa's leading National Standards Body (NSB) and was the country's first such body. It represents South African economic and social interests across the globe by developing solutions for local organisations of all sizes and within all sectors and services. The SABS works with manufacturing and service industries, businesses, governments and consumers to facilitate the production of standards.​​

Did you know?​​

  • The SABS has about 7 400 current standards at any one time (the exact number changes from week to week with new publications and withdrawals).
  • There are approximately 600 standards in different stages of development at any one time.
  • Bestselling standards include the latest editions of: SANS 10142-1 The wiring of premises; SANS 9001 Quality management systems; SANS 14001 Environmental Management System (EMS); SANS 241-1 Drinking water Part 1: Microbiological, physical, aesthetic and chemical determinants and SANS 241-2 Drinking water Part 2 Application of SANS 241-1; as well as SANS OHSAS 18001 Occupational health and safety management systems — Requirements.
  • Standards are priced according to the number of pages. Prices range from R105 to R3000.
  • Over 45 000 standards are sold each year as well as various subscriptions to either the full, or part of the, South African National Standards (SANS) collection.  
  • The oldest standard developed by the South African Bureau of Standards is SANS 5630:1968 Determination of resistance to grain cracking of leather, while some of its​ most recent ones are for tourist information offices, geographic information, adventure tourism, alternating-current generator circuit-breakers and wildlife rehabilitation.

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Participate in the Process

Become a member of the SABS technical committees and contribute to development of national standards either as a professional, organisation or representative of government.

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Propose a Standard

Standards are found in virtually every aspect of our daily lives, from the towering sky scraper, the cars that we drive, electronics we use and the houses we live in.

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