Document Detail

Title: RS49-1 - International Standards and U.S. Construction Industry Competitiveness
Publication Date: 6/1/1996
Product Type: Research Summary
Status: Archived Tool
Pages: 54
This publication has been archived, but is available for download for informational purposes only.

Provides overview of international standards, the structure of the international standards-setting community, and the influence of U.S. construction industry; gives guidance on ISO9000 quality assurance and registration processes.
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The international standards currently being created and implemented will have a major impact on the competitiveness of the U.S. construction industry. If these new standards are not carefully monitored, their impact will negatively affect the ability of U.S. construction firms to compete globally.

The U.S. construction industry is not well-represented and, as a result, has had little influence in the development and adoption of international standards. Consequently, many international standards are being adopted without any input from the U.S. construction industry.

The research project described in this publication indicates that expanded participation by the U.S. construction industry within the international standards-setting community will:

  • Increase the efficiency of developing, adopting, and maintaining international standards.
  • Provide strategies to remain competitive or increase competitiveness in the global construction arena.
  • Provide a service to assist in the more efficient delivery of global construction projects.
  • Reduce barriers that cause conflicts or misunderstandings on global projects.

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is the principal organization involved in coordinating standards, and was established to foster cooperation in the development of standards for the benefit of intellectual, scientific, technological, economic and construction activities. Currently, no international regulatory agency, however, oversees compliance with these standards.

An immense effort to harmonize existing standards on a global level as well as develop new ones is now underway in the European Community (EC). Standards prepared by the European Committee for Standardization (CEN) are being put forth to ISO for adoption as world standards. U.S. Government and U.S. private firms have no input into CEN. Furthermore, some U.S. standards, which until a few years ago were being used internationally, are now being discarded by many countries in favor of ISO standards. If the U.S. does not increase its effort to counter or to join in the CEN effort and the efforts of other countries, international competitiveness of U.S. construction firms will be negatively impacted. By working with the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), the U.S. representative to ISO, international standards can be monitored, proposed, and developed to strengthen the competitiveness of the U.S. construction industry in global markets.