ISO and Construction: Great Things Happen When the World Agrees

iso and construction

ISO is the International Organization for Standards, and is responsible for creating consistent guidelines and specifications to ensure products and services meet rigorous guidelines– How do ISO and construction benefit each other? iso and construction

We’ve discussed what ISO means in the supply chain and we’ve debunked the myths – but what does it mean for the construction industry?  


The world’s rapid population growth and rampant urbanization have brought an increasing need for a high-quality, safe and sustainable built environment. In the world of building and construction, ISO standards help codify international best practice and technical requirements to ensure buildings and other structures (known as civil engineering works) are safe and fit for purpose.

Updated on a regular basis to account for climate, demographic and social changes, ISO’s standards for construction are developed with input from all stakeholders involved – this includes architects, designers, engineers, contractors, owners, product manufacturers, regulators, policy makers and consumers.



ISO standards help to make the construction industry more effective and efficient by establishing internationally agreed design and manufacturing specifications and processes. They cover virtually every part and process of the construction project, from the soil it stands on to the roof.

ISO standards also provide a platform for new technologies and innovations that help the industry respond to local and global challenges related to demographic evolution, natural disasters, climate change and more.


Regulators can rely on best-practice test methods, processes and harmonized terminology that are constantly reviewed and improved, as a technical basis for regulation and policy related to construction.


ISO standards give consumers confidence in the construction industry, providing reassurance that buildings and related structures such as bridges are built to internationally agreed safety and quality standards. These help ensure that the buildings people live, work and study in are safe, comfortable and function as intended.


Of the more than 21 700* International Standards and related documents, ISO has over 1 100 related to buildings and construction, with many more in development. These cover :


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ISO standards are developed by groups of experts within technical committees (TCs). TCs are made up of representatives from industry, non-governmental organizations, governments and other stakeholders who are put forward by ISO’s members. Each TC deals with a different subject, such as buildings and civil engineering works or specific construction materials like cement or timber, often in close collaboration with other relevant international or intergovernmental organizations. As an example, ISO/TC 59, Buildings and civil engineering works, through its subcommittees and working groups, has published over 110 International Standards on aspects of quality and performance in the built environment. Visit our Website to find out more about the standards developed in a particular sector by searching for the work of the relevant technical committee.


Ensures the components of structures are strong enough to withstand appropriate loads and everything fits together as it should is the objective of a number of ISO standards for construction. By establishing defined specifications and test methods, they help ensure structures are designed and built to agreed levels of quality.

  • ISO/TC 98, bases for design of structures, lays down the basic requirements for the design of structures. With standards focusing especially on terminology and symbols, loads and forces, it ensures constructions are built to last and can withstand outside forces such as extreme weather events and natural disasters.
  • ISO/TC 167, steel and aluminum structures, develops standards that specify requirements for the structural use of steel and aluminium alloys in the design, fabrication and erection of buildings and civil engineering works. Its scope of work includes materials, structural components and connections.
  • ISO/TC 165, timber structures, deals with the strength and load requirements of structural timber, while geotechnical analysis (interactions between soil and structure) is the focus of ISO/TC 182, Geotechnics. 


Being able to count on reliable, quality materials is essential for the construction of safe and robust buildings. ISO has more than 100 standards related to the raw materials used in construction, such as concrete, cement, timber and glass. These include standards on terminology, testing procedures and the assessment of safety levels.

We also have over 500 standards on building products, such as doors and windows, wood-based panels, floor coverings, ceramic tiles and plastic pipes and fittings. These not only determine the correct dimensions and specifications to ensure products are manufactured to agreed quality levels, but also define test methods for assessing product safety and resistance to things like crushing or chemicals, so that they do not fail or deteriorate prematurely.


From insulation to energy-using products, improving the energy performance of buildings can make a significant contribution to climate-related targets. As a result, building regulations increasingly require energy-efficient designs and measures are put in place to help improve overall performance. 

  • ISO/TC 163, thermal performance and energy use in the built environment, has more than 130 standards providing guidelines and methods for the calculation of energy consumption in buildings, covering areas such as heating, lighting, ventilation and so forth. 

ISO’s energy standards portfolio includes the recently published series ISO 52000, Energy performance of buildings – Overarching EPB assessment, which defines methods to help architects, engineers and regulators assess the overall energy performance of new and existing buildings in a holistic way.

  • ISO/TC 205, building environment design, has a range of standards defining methods and processes for the design of new buildings and retrofit of existing buildings, to create acceptable indoor environments and practicable energy conservation and efficiency

ISO also produces standards that measure carbon emissions from buildings and structures – these include:

  • ISO 21930, sustainability in buildings and civil engineering works – cores rules for environmental product declarations of construction products & services, which establish good practices for environmental claims and communications in the construction sector. 


Fires cause destruction and devastation, costing the lives and livelihoods of people. With the increased density of housing, protecting against fires and detecting fire risks have never been more important.

  • ISO/TC 21, equipment for fire protection and fire fighting, develops standards covering fire protection and fire-fighting apparatus and equipment, including fire extinguishers and fire and smoke detectors.
  • ISO/TC 92, fire safety, develops standards to assess fire risk to life & property, and mitigating such risks by determining the behaviour of construction materials and building structures. 
  • ISO 7240, fire detection and alarm systems, defines the specifications of fire detection and alarm system equipment used in and around buildings – including their testing and performance – in order to ensure they function effectively. 


Since most construction works are project-based, having documentation that is clearly understood by all stakeholders is essential to ensure each project is realized in a costeffective manner. Building information models (BIM) are shared digital representations of the physical and functional characteristics of any built object (including buildings, bridges and roads) and form a reliable basis for decision making. They also help protect against the loss of valuable information between stages and processes.

  • ISO TC 59/SC 13, ORGANIZATION OF INFORMATION ABOUT CONSTRUCTION WORKS, develops standards that define the common terms of reference and terminology used in BIMs, as well as requirements for the digital exchange of documentation and data. 

An example is:

  • ISO 16757-1, Data structures for electronic product catalogues for building services – Part 1 : Concepts, architecture and model 
  • ISO/TS 12911, Framework for building information modelling (BIM) guidance 


Rising urbanization and denser populations mean buildings across the world are getting taller. Efficient lifts and escalators are thus essential to cope with the increased loads and access needs and must be operable in times of disaster, such as fire, to evacuate high-rise structures.

  • ISO/TC 178, lifts, escalators and moving walks, has over 50 standards, either published or in development, for all kinds of lifts. These cover requirements for everything from planning and installation to energy performance and safety. 

One prominent example is:

  • ISO/TS 18870, lifts/elevators – Requirements for lifts used to assist in building evacuation


  • ISO/TC 59/SC 14, design life, develops standards that offer a methodology and guidance on how to plan the service life of buildings, including predicting costs and the frequency of maintenance and repairs over their life cycle. The ISO 15686 series on service life planning deals with a wide range of subjects in this area, such as performance audits and reviews, lifecycle assessment and maintenance and life-cycle costing. 

An example is: 

  • ISO 15686-5, buildings and constructed assets service life planning part 5: life-cycle costing, which helps track the cost performance over an asset’s lifespan.


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Learn more about ISO Certifications here:



find more information on quality & safety at Hercules SLR



Hercules SLR is part of the Hercules Group of Companies which offers a unique portfolio of businesses nationally with locations from coast to coast. Our companies provide an extensive coverage of products and services that support the success of a wide range of business sectors across Canada including the energy, oil & gas, manufacturing, construction, aerospace, infrastructure, utilities, oil and gas, mining and marine industries.

Hercules Group of Companies is comprised of: Hercules SLRHercules Machining & Millwright ServicesSpartan Industrial MarineStellar Industrial Sales and Wire Rope Atlantic.

Hercules SLR Certifications: ISO 9001—Debunking the Myths


Hercules SLR is proud to have the ISO 9001:2015 certification—this means our quality management system is held to their international standards and helps us consistently provide products and services that meet our customers needs.

What is ISO 9001?

ISO 9001 is a standard that sets out the requirements for a quality management system. It helps businesses and organizations be more efficient and improve customer satisfaction.

Is it very complicated?iso-9001-certification-hercules-slr

No. ISO 9001 can seem difficult at first but the concepts behind the standard are simple. The seven quality management principles are a good place to start, and will be of great help when it comes to defining your quality management system. In addition, supporting information is available from your ISO member, the group of experts responsible for the standard and the ISO Website (

Isn’t it an old document designed for the way businesses worked in the 1990s?

First published in 1987, ISO 9001 has been around for many years, but it is regularly updated to ensure that it remains relevant to today’s business environment. In its latest version, ISO 9001:2015 incorporates elements such as a stronger focus on stakeholders and the wider context of an organization to fit the evolving needs of modern business. The standard is designed to be flexible enough for use by different types of organizations. For this reason, it does not specify what the objectives relating to “ quality ” or “ meeting customer needs ” should be. Instead, it requires organizations to define these objectives themselves and continually improve their processes in order to reach them.

Isn’t it used only by big business?

No. The standard can be used by any organization, regardless of size or type. While small companies may not have staff dedicated to quality, they can still enjoy the benefits of implementing the standard. Tips for small businesses can be found in the publication ISO 9001 for small businesses. What to do, available from your ISO member or through the ISO Store.

Is it very expensive?

The standard itself is reasonably priced and can be purchased from the ISO member in your country or through the ISO Store.

Getting certified to the standard – which is not compulsory – will incur extra cost that can vary according to the certification body you choose and where you are based (ISO does not perform certification). Some companies may also decide to use an external consultant. This is not strictly necessary. but helpful advice can be found in supporting publications available from ISO and its members.

Isn’t it just for manufacturers?

No, the standard can be used by any organization, including service providers such as hospitals, banks or universities. In fact, the most recent version of the standard was specifically designed to be more accessible to organizations outside the manufacturing sector.

Will it help me increase my profits?

ISO 9001 can help bring financial benefits in a number of ways:

  • Using ISO 9001 can increase productivity and efficiency, thus lowering the costs of an organization.
  • Using ISO 9001 can improve customer experience, resulting in repeat business, increased sales and additional income for your business.
  • Getting certified to ISO 9001 can enhance your reputation, attracting new customers to your organization.

Does it mean lots of extra paperwork?

Not necessarily! The standard requires you to document a number of things but, actually, these are relatively limited. Its flexibility means that you’ll find a way to use it that fits your organization—without requiring unnecessary paperwork.

What benefits will it bring to my business or organization?

Implementing a quality management system will help you:

  • Assess the overall context of your organization to define who is affected by your work and what they expect from you. This will enable you to clearly state your objectives and identify new business opportunities.
  • Put your customers first, making sure you consistently meet their needs and enhance their satisfaction. This can lead to more repeat custom, new clients and increased business for your organization.
  • Work in a more efficient way as all your processes will be aligned and understood by everyone in the business or organization. This increases productivity and efficiency, bringing internal costs down.
  • Meet the necessary statutory and regulatory requirements.
  • Expand into new markets, as some sectors and clients require ISO 9001 before doing business.
  • Identify and address the risks associated with your organization.

Information via International Organization for Standardization (ISO)—find the original article here or download the brochure here: iso_9001_debunking_the_myths


Hercules SLR is part of the Hercules Group of Companies which offers a unique portfolio of businesses nationally with locations from coast to coast. Our companies provide an extensive coverage of products and services that support the success of a wide range of business sectors across Canada including the energy, oil & gas, manufacturing, construction, aerospace, infrastructure, utilities, oil and gas, mining and marine industries.

Hercules Group of Companies is comprised of: Hercules SLRHercules Machining & Millwright ServicesSpartan Industrial MarineStellar Industrial Sales and Wire Rope Atlantic.