UKTC Archive

RE: BSI pricing policy

Subject: RE: BSI pricing policy
From: Alastair Durkin
Date: May 02 2014 10:46:30
             QTRA v5 & VTA Training Workshops - Summer 2014             
              Feedback from the all new v5 of QTRA and VTA              
  To find out more and book training or an update visit

In response to my email questioning the pricing, BSI sent me this response:

Thank you for your feedback.

With regards to the pricing of standards, please be advised that BSI is 
charged under its Royal Charter with developing and publishing a wide range 
of technical standards (presently about 1,800 a year).  These standards are 
developed on the basis of public and industry need, and are important for 
ensuring safety, interoperability and fitness for purpose of components, 
goods and services.

The average cost of preparing a standard is approximately £15k and this is 
largely recovered by the sale of the standards themselves.  With the growth 
in international and European standards activities this figure is rapidly 
escalating.  As a non-profit-distributing body, BSI ploughs back all 
available surpluses from sales into the standards development programme.  The 
costs to BSI of developing and publishing different standards are broadly 
comparable, but the revenue they generate varies widely because the 
importance of a standard is entirely unrelated to the number of people who 
actually use it.

For example, a particular standard may be crucial for establishing safety in 
a product used by children (baby’s dummies, for example).  Its drafting will 
require a number of meetings and the input of a large number of different 
experts, and the standard itself will need to be edited and published.  
However, the number of companies actually manufacturing the product may be 
very small, so the sales of the standard will be very low.  In fact only 
about 2% of standards generate enough income to cover the cost of their 

As a consequence, standards cannot be priced like normal commercial 
publications.  In common with most standards bodies, BSI prices on the basis 
of a simple page count and there is a substantial degree of 
cross-subsidisation.  For example, sales of ISO 9000, which has a very wide, 
range of applications, by itself funds a considerable part of the standards 
programme each year.

In comparison with other commercially produced publications, a standard may 
seem to be very expensive, but is actually not at all expensive in terms of 
the value of the information it contains.  In most cases the actual number of 
copies sold is so small that it would be more appropriate to compare a 
standard with a privately commissioned report.

BSI introduced its print on demand process in 1995 to avoid the costs and 
waste levels of bulk print and stock control. The savings made from this 
process has enabled us to reduce costs and to fund the increasing level of 
international committee participation.

Prior to introducing our print on demand process and the new loose leaf 
format  BSI conducted market research amongst its customer base resulting in 
the majority of our customers agreeing that the revised presentation would 
bring benefits to the management and amendment of their standards collection.

It may interest you to know that BSI operates a Membership scheme which has a 
number of benefits that includes a 50% discount off the List Price of British 
Standards together with free postage & packing.  Many organisations become 
BSI Subscribing Members as they find that the package of benefits including 
the 50% discount outweighs the cost of membership. More details of BSI 
Membership can be found at

I trust the above information is helpful to you, however if further 
assistance is required please do not hesitate to contact me.

Kind regards,


-----Original Message-----
From: Jerry Ross []
Sent: 02 May 2014 09:39
To: UK Tree Care
Subject: BSI pricing policy

             QTRA v5 & VTA Training Workshops - Summer 2014

              Feedback from the all new v5 of QTRA and VTA


  To find out more and book training or an update visit 

The BSI has just emailed me an ad for their publication "Inclusive Urban
Design: A Guide to Creating Accessible Public Spaces".
I await with interest their publication on inaccessible public spaces, but 
it's curious how this costs £45 for a 160 page A4 book whereas they charge us 
£218 for the 80 PDF pages of BS8545.

Shome mishtake surely?

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