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Title: The evolution of British standards
Author: McWilliam, Robert Coutts.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3389 650X
Awarding Body: University of Reading
Current Institution: University of Reading
Date of Award: 2002
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This thesis is about the evolution' of British Standards over the entire 20th century. Standards are documents which define the technical specifications of goods or services. British Standards are voluntary Standards developed by the consensus of groups of experts. The support for achieving consensus and subsequent publication of the documents was undertaken by an evolving organisation which began in 1901 as the Engineering Standards Committee of the Institution of Civil Engineers, became the British Engineering Standards Association in 1918 and changed its name to the British Standards Institution (BSI) in 1931. The organisation's constitution evolved 'throughout the twentieth century; a Royal Charter granted in 1929 marked its change from a Standard-developing organisation (SOO) to the UK's national Standards body (NSB). As an NSB additional services could be offered and in BSl's case these were known collectively as "conformity assessment". The thesis describes the origins and development of the technical Standards movement in Britain. It reviews the relevant literature and offers a classification of the evolution of British Standards by relating the changing patterns of organisation and flows of information associated with the development of Standards and their subsequent use. Four distinct strata of British Standards - Public Works, Industrial Support, Services and Global Trading - are identified, related to each other and followed to the end of the twentieth century. The impact of a number of topics as they affected British Standards are' examined, notably the significance of public works i~ the British Empire, government support for British industry, the changing characteristics of the British engineering profession, the limits of technological autarky, long-established international exchanges of technical information and the changes brought on by the globalisation of industry. The changing balance of support from Standards developers and Standards users of British Standards (and for the types of Standards developed) is discussed ~hrough to the end of the century when BSI's conformity assessment business had increased from safety testing to quality management systems registration and commodity inspection services.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Specifications