The British Standards Institution dates from 1901, when a committee was formed to standardize steel sections. This was in answer to the need to reduce the excessive variety of types of sections being produced by different manufacturers at that time. The advantages of this move were quickly seen and the work of the Committee was soon extended to a number of engineering products. This Engineering Standards Committee later became the British Engineering Standards Association; the Association was granted a Royal Charter in 1929 and the present name was adopted in 1931. The Institution is recognized as the national body for the preparation of standards and its work now covers a wide range of industries—building, chemical, textile, and many others as well as engineering, though engineering is very much the largest of its activities; of the standards issued last year more than one‐third were in the engineering field. The standards now being prepared are of a number of types—dimensional standards to secure interchangeability and simplification, standards laying down quality, including performance tests, and methods of test. In addition, there are the more ‘abstract’ types of standard—dealing with terminology, definitions, symbols and documentation. The Institution is also concerned with Codes of Practice which lay down guiding rules for such matters as installation, maintenance and use of plant, equipment or machinery, as, for example, installation of gas pipes in buildings, or the lighting of streets.
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