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Standards development process

Technical Committees (TCs) develop new standards, and revise and amend published national standards. These TCs can have sub-committees (SCs) and both TCs and SCs can form working groups (WGs). Organisations and association are members of TCs and SCs, while experts are members of the WGs:

Standards development process-01.jpg Standards are developed by using a consensus building process within a balanced technical committee, followed by a 60 day public comment period. Once all comments have been addressed, a standard is reviewed for approval by the Standards Approvals Committee (SAC). Once approved, a South African National Standard (SANS) is published, and then becomes available for sale from the SABS Web Store ​



PWI - Preliminary Work Item

WG – Working group

WD  - Working draft

CD  - Committee draft

DSS - Draft South African Standard

SANS - South African National Standard

Homegrown process

A homegrown (HG) standard is a standard developed by South African experts based on South African experience and best practice. It addresses a South African need.

  • Proposal
  • Relevance and Committee alignment
  • Ballot of New Work Item Proposal (NWIP)
  • Economic Impact
  • Standards Approvals Committee (SAC) approval of NWIP
  • Working group develops Working Draft (WD)
  • Committee develops Committee Draft (CD)
  • Committee ballot and approve CD
  • Technical review, edit
  • Draft South African Standard (DSS) – 60 days public comment 
  • Preparation for publication and final edit
  • SAC approval
  • Publication 

​Adoption process​​

If the need for a standard can be addressed by using an international standard, it can be nationalised through an adoption process. An adopted standard is an international or foreign national standard that has been identified by South African experts, based on their experience, that will address one or more South African needs. For example, if the international standard for standards atmospheres can address all prescriptions for test conditions in South Africa, and our experts decide it should also be our national standard, then we can adopt ISO 139 to become SANS 139. In the case of an international adoption we will use a dual number i.e. SANS 139:20xx ISO 139 : 20xx.​

  • Proposal
  • Relevance and committee alignment
  • Ballot of New Work Item Proposal (NWIP)
  • Economic impact
  • Standards Approvals Committee (SAC) approval of NWIP
  • If Technical Committee (TC)/Sub-committee (SB) agree, straight to DSS (skip WD and CD stage)
  • Draft South African Standard (DSS) – 30 days public comment for international adoptions; 60 days for regional adoptions
  • SAC approval
  • Publication

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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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