UKTC Archive

Re: Storm the BSI!

Subject: Re: Storm the BSI!
From: Scott Cullen
Date: Mar 19 2006 12:16:21
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Well, Bill, I'm still not sure the whole nature of the arrangement is 
addressed here.

It seems that a typical arrangement of standards bodies is to allow industry 
committees to develop consensus standards such as BS5387 or ANSI A300 or the 
similar Standards Austrailia or DIN tree care standards.  Those folks are 
VOLUNTEERS.  They do it for the prestiege, or for the notion of providing 
public services and giving back for some of their success, or to fix gaps in 
practice, or any combination of motivations.  But they are volunteers.

Were Julian or Colin or any other of the committee tricked into this 
arrangement?  Was there any understanding or promise that in return for 
voluteering their time and expertise BS5387 would be distributed free or at 
some nominal charge?  Is that what you think happenned when you suggest "in 
fact we've paid for them already?"

The standards bodies are largely publishing companies.  As I undertsand it 
from the ANSI committee members they also guide the standards development 
process getting all the various arbs, plumbers, engineers, microbiologists, 
ad nauseam to follow a set process and adhere to set formats.  Visit any 
standards body web site (BSI, ANSI, DIN, ISO, etc.) and look at the thousands 
of standards they publish.  All of this takes overhead.  A very substantial 
overhead.  Whether they are in fact in London with gold plated lavs or in the 
bowels of some redundant factory in the Midlands, there is substantial 

Is it run efficiently?  Are executives paid hefty salaries?  Are the 
secretaries getting cushy pensions.  Dunno.  But it is what it is.

The 75k seems to be either overhead or a direct production expense that has 
to be recovered.  That's they way businesses work.  That's the way government 
works or an NGO works.  Money spent has to come from somewhere.  If the 
volunteer committees were paid that would ADD to the cost to be recovered.  
Whether 75k is an appropriate expense epends on what was done.  I can tell 
you the development of a standard over a period of years takes and enormous 
amount of time.   Think of it this way:  what is a secretary's salary?  what 
pension an other benefits must be added to salary (this is just like paying 
any other employee)?  Ahhh, insurance in case the secretary trips on the way 
to the water cooler or the fax machine?  Now, office rent fro the secretary 
to work in?  Heat for the office?  Oh yes, the cost of paper fro the fax and 
copy machines?  Postage?  Phones!  Add it all up.  How many secretarial hours 
or years might be involved in this process?  At what unit cost?  75k all of a 
sudden sounds quite plausible.

You can look at it this way:  The way this system is set up you pay (and 
grumbling) a hundred.  If the cost of paying committee (at Colin's outrageuos 
hourly billing rate) was built into the cost paid for the standard maybe 
you'd be paying 200 or 300.

20 years ago or so NAA was publishing its own standards in the US.  It was 
determined that the system would be stronger and more credible if tree care 
standards became part of the ANSI process.  So you certainly have the option, 
theoretically, to go the other way.  Decide to develop UKI tree care 
standrads entirely within industry.  Manage the development and distribution. 
 Get the same recognition under the law.  Be compatible with the standards 
for standards.  Get the approriate charter or whatever else is required.

What I am suggesting is that this may be a bit more complex than simply "the 
cost per page seems high."  It is what it is.  Whether there is scandal or 
anyone is entitled to outrage may be really a more complex question.  Get the 
facts.  What are the realistic alternatives?


----- Original Message ----- 
To: UK Tree Care 
Sent: Sunday, March 19, 2006 6:22 AM
Subject: Re: Storm the BSI!

In a message dated 18/03/2006 23:41:29 GMT Standard Time, 

I can certainly comment on the BSI; they're a QUANGO Quasi Autonomous 
non-Governmental Organisation. In fact we've paid for them already I 
buttonholed JFL 
and Colin about the cost of BS5837 and asked if they actually got paid for 
their time. No said they but the BSI have spent £75k or so on secretarial 
for their meetings. 

Naturally I was gobsmacked by the £75k but then again I assume the BSI have 
swanky central London offices with gold plated taps, hence the costs. I 
certainly resent the cost of the 38 sheets of paper and was very glad when 
Colin got 
the special £50 offer out. (I'm taking the credit for that incidentally as I 
took every opportunity to snipe at the cost)

Yeah I'd storm the BSI but they probably have ex SAS security guards and I'm 
bu**ered if I'm going to risk that and pay flippin Ken Livingstone's 
congestion charge into the bargain! I bet there's nowhere to park anyway, not 
even a 
lawn to park the tank on.

Come the revolution we'll have the BSI housed in a stack of portakabins on a 
spoil heap in Doncaster alongside the similar facility to replace the House 


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