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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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.

Are the Technicians Inspecting your Gear Qualified?

LEEA Header

LEEA – Lifting Standards Worldwide™

Hercules Inspectors are LEEA trained nationally. LEEA, the Lifting Equipment Engineers Association is the respected and authoritative representative body for those who work in every aspect of the industry, from design, manufacture, refurbishment and repair, through to the hire, maintenance and use of lifting equipment.

The next time your equipment is due for inspection, make sure Hercules SLR is your first choice for expert advice and service.


Established across the globe LEEA has over 1170 member companies based in 69 countries. Hercules SLR is proud to be one of them.

LEEA has played a key role in this specialized field for over seventy years, from training and standards setting through to health and safety, the provision of technical and legal advice, and the development of examination and licensing systems.

LEEA represents all its members at the highest levels across a range of both public and private bodies, including various government departments, as well as nationally and internationally recognized professional and technical institutions.

LEEA are ISO 9001:2015 registered and an Associate Member of DROPS (Dropped Objects Prevention Scheme).

LEEA is actively involved in all aspects of the industry, promoting the highest technical and safety standards and offering a wide range of services and support to their Members worldwide.

History of the Association

The origins of the Lifting Equipment Engineers Association (LEEA) can be traced back to wartime Britain in 1943; a small group of competing companies came together to address what they perceived as a serious threat to their livelihoods. On 3rd June, nine people representing eight chain testing houses met at the Great Eastern Hotel, near Liverpool Street Station, and the idea to form an association to take on the might of government was conceived. Several weeks later, a draft set of rules and regulations was drawn up. During that process, a decision was made that, regardless of size, all members should be considered equal, both in terms of influence and financial contribution and the annual subscription was set at £4 and 4 shillings (£4.20).
The London Chain Testers Association was the name chosen by the founding members and was a clear reflection of the nature and location of the businesses involved. However, evidence shows that as this small group quickly made headway in negotiations with the government, attention turned to other areas where it was felt that co-operative action could be of mutual benefit. These included exploring the potential for pricing agreements, block insurance, the use of collective purchasing to secure more favourable deals from manufacturers, and adherence to British Standards to improve quality and consistency within the industry.By 1946, the association’s geographical boundaries expanded. Members were now actively sought from across the country, a move highlighted by a change of name to The Chain Testers Association of Great Britain.With the immediate concerns of a wartime economy behind them, the following decades of the 20th century can be seen as a series of landmarks that would ultimately establish the association as an authority on safe lifting and the industry’s foremost provider of training and qualifications for the test, examination and maintenance of overhead lifting equipment. Milestones in this period included:

  • The publication of the Chain Testers’ Handbook in 1953. Predominantly the work of Mr. C H A McCaully of W&E Moore, this brought together for the first time all the essential information required by the ‘man at the bench’ – the chain tester.
  • In 1959 it was followed by the examination scheme for lifting equipment engineers. In 1981, the Code of Practice for the Safe Use of Lifting Equipment (COPSULE) was launched.
  • In 1983, training courses were introduced to prepare students for exams that are now sat by several hundred candidates around the world every year.

Towards the end of the 20th century, important developments took place within the association’s infrastructure, and the nature of member companies changed to include a far wider range of activities. Notable events include the set-up of the organisation’s first independent office in 1977, and a third name change—to the Lifting Equipment Engineers Association in 1988.

With the introduction of the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER) in 1998, LEEA’s training, qualifications and publications had to be fundamentally reworked to reflect this new legislation, and the association’s support and guidance became even more important to members obliged to comply with the requirements of the new legislation.

This legislative upheaval combined with the all-pervasive impact of globalisation, and an absence of sector-specific health and safety legislation—so, many companies who operated in these parts of the world began to adopt LOLER as best practice, which further enhanced the appeal of LEEA membership.

Since the turn of the century, LEEA’s development has reflected these trends and milestones have included:


  • In 2006, The launch of the LiftEx trade show;
  • In 2007, the move to new headquarters and a purpose-built training centre, an ever increasing portfolio of practical courses to complement online distance learning provision;
  • In 2009, the introduction of the TEAM card registration and identity scheme for qualified engineers and technicians.

Perhaps the most striking is LEEA’s transformation into a truly international body. Regardless of where they are based, there is now no distinction between members – all are subject to the same technical audits prior to being granted full membership, with regular follow-up visits as long as they wish to remain part of the association. Dedicated local groups are now operating in the Middle East and Australia, and LEEA staff have become globetrotters, regularly meeting existing and potential members, as well as a host of other stakeholders, right across the world.

Learn more about LEEA on their website here.


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.