BSI Knowledge Centre

Expert help from our Knowledge Centre

Let us take the hassle out of your standards and subject searches.

We employ a team of information professionals, just for Members. They’re dedicated to answering your questions on BSI standards and helping you with your standards-related queries.

Call our information experts

Our Knowledge Centre professionals know how difficult it can be to find the right standard, which is why’re here to help you get the most from standards. Using our international standards databases, they can carry out in-depth searches, not just from our own British Standards collection, but also from collections around the world including over 200 standards organizations in 23 countries

As a basis, they’ll provide Members with scope and content information for any standard. They can also find a range of standards on subjects of your choice, saving you time and effort. Once they’ve completed a piece of research for you, they’ll send you a list of results so that you have all the information that you need to make an informed decision on what standards you require and what to do next.

Our subject searching service goes one step further. Our team of information specialists will provide you with expanded information on what a standard covers through keyword searches within the document. This means that you know, in detail, what a standard covers and will help you understand if the standard meets your exact requirements. This service covers current and withdrawn British Standards and international standards.

The Knowledge Centre can also provide clarity over the status of standards and their amendments which will help you to identify the changes in the new editions of standards.

Look inside the standard

Members have free access to our Members’ Reading Room in London. Here you can look inside printed copies of current or withdrawn British Standards, foreign standards and colour charts. Via our online database – British Standards Online (BSOL) – you can also search and view all current and some withdrawn British Standards. This service is particularly useful if you want to view the full standard before you buy.

Our information professionals are here during business hours, 09.00-17.00 Monday to Friday, to help find the answers you need, whatever your standards enquiry.

Find out how we've already helped BSI Members with their standards searching, queries and research

Members can contact the Knowledge Centre in one of the following ways:

Tel: +44 20 8996 7004
Fax: +44 20 8996 7005
Contact us form
Opening hours: 09.00-17.00 Monday to Friday

Non-Member enquiries must be directed to BSI Customer Services in the first instance:

Tel: +44 845 086 9001
Contact us form

Can I visit BSI to look at standards?

Yes. BSI Members, BSI Committee Members, journalists and students with proof of student status, can use the BSI Members’ Reading Room at our head office in London free of charge. There's a £20 per hour charge for all other non-Members. We do require at least 48 hours' notice for visits so that we can arrange any materials needed for study and to contact security for car park access.

Can you advise me which standards to use for my business?

We can do subject searches and provide scopes or contents pages of standards if you're not sure whether to purchase. Detailed descriptions of standards are also provided on the BSI Shop. However, we're unable to recommend which standards you should use for your business.

Are you able to give interpretation of standards?

The responsibility for the correct application of a standard rests with its users, guided, where appropriate, by professional advice. BSI isn't able to give advice or interpret the content of standards. Some trade associations may be helpful in this case and we may be able to provide contact information for some of these.

Can you advise me on UK or EU Legislation or Regulation?

As British Standards are published for voluntary use and BSI is not a regulatory or government body, we're unable to advise on UK or EU Legislation or Regulation. You can find information about UK legislation on the Government's legislation website website and European legislation on Eur-Lex.

I’ve spotted an error or anomaly within a standard. What do I do?

BSI welcomes any proposals for changes to standards. Please identify the passages in question, in writing, and offer specific proposals for changes to them. The Knowledge Centre will then pass the matter on to the relevant technical committee. Unfortunately, we cannot provide timescales for responses as this depends on the committee’s workload and meeting schedule.

The BSI Shop says that the standard is withdrawn. Can I still use it?

A withdrawn standard is not considered current and does not have the status of ‘British Standard’, but whether it continues to be used or not is a contractual matter between the parties concerned. British Standards, current or withdrawn, are published for voluntary use.

Is there a replacement for a withdrawn standard?

If a standard has been replaced, there will be a hyperlink to its successor in the "replaced by" field on the BSI Shop record. See: Instructions on how to determine supercessions. Some withdrawn standards are not replaced.

I have purchased a product which is faulty, and there is a BS number on it. Who do I contact?

Products not meeting a standard with which the product claims compliance, should be referred to Citizens Advice Consumer Service. They provide free, confidential and impartial advice on consumer issues. BSI does not monitor or enforce the use of standards, and is not able to assist with customer enquiries on individual products.

How do I become a BSI Committee Member?

If you are trying to find committees on a particular industry, you can browse for them on the Standards Development website. When you've identified an appropriate committee, you can contact the eCommittee Support team who will pass your request to the appropriate committee secretary. The BSI Pocket Guide to Standards Development provides all the information you need if you're considering becoming a Committee Member.

How do I get a product or company certified, tested or accredited?

The United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) is a body appointed by the UK Government to oversee certification activity by UK-based companies. They should be able to assist by providing a list of contacts who can undertake testing, certification or accreditation.

Can I still use the Knowledge Centre if I’m not a Member of BSI?

It depends. The Knowledge Centre, which is a Membership benefit, provides subject searches, standards research and much more for Members. For non-Members it provides a limited service including the sale of withdrawn standards, information on general standardization and BSI committees, suggesting alternative points of contact for interpretation or application of standards, passing comments from users of standards to technical committees. Non-Members can also view standards in the Members' Reading Room at a charge of £20 per hour. Enquiries from non-Members must be directed to BSI Customer Services in the first instance on +44 845 086 9001 or

Members can contact the Knowledge Centre in one of the following ways:

Tel: +44 20 8996 7004
Fax: +44 20 8996 7005
Contact us form
Opening hours: 09.00-17.00 Monday to Friday

More information


We welcome your feedback on your experience of our library. Please email the Knowledge Centre Manager with your comments.

European and International Standards Bodies

ISO (International Organization for Standardization)
ISO is a network of the national standards bodies of 157 countries. Please see the ISO website for a list of members and their contact details.

IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission)
The IEC prepares and publishes International Standards for all electrical, electronic and related technologies

CEN (European Committee for Standardization)
CEN's 30 National Members work together to develop voluntary European Standards (ENs).

CENELEC (European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization)
CENELEC is composed of the National Electrotechnical Committees of 30 European countries. It is responsible for preparing voluntary electrotechnical standards

Information about standards

WSSN (World Standards Services Network)
The objective of WSSN is to simplify access to international, regional and national standards information publicly available through the web.

NSSN: A National Resource for Global Standards
E-resource developed by ANSI with a free searchable catalogue of information about various US standards.

Useful tools for working with standards

ICS: International Classification of Standards
Developed by ISO, ICS is a classification scheme used by many standards organisations to classify standards and normative documents according to their field of activity. ICS codes can be very useful when searching in catalogues, databases and online shops for standards in a particular area.

UK Libraries with British Standards – many public libraries have access to British Standards either online or in hardcopy. Please contact us.

Legislation provides access to UK, Northern Ireland, Scottish and Welsh legislation.

EUR-Lex provides free access to European Union law. Here you can consult the Official Journal of the European Union as well as the treaties, legislation, case-law and legislative proposals.

Every effort is made to ensure that the information provided on this site is accurate and up to date, but no legal responsibility is accepted for any errors, omissions or misleading statements. BSI Knowledge Centre is not responsible for, and cannot guarantee the accuracy of, information on sites that it does not manage; nor should the inclusion of a hyperlink be taken to mean endorsement by BSI Knowledge Centre of the site to which it points.

Please see our Legal Notice for more information.

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