With its 72 standards committees the DIN German Institute for Standardization is the responsible standardization body of the Federal Republic of Germany. Within the framework of its terms of reference, DIN is the German member in the European and international standardization organizations. The legal basis for the actual assignment of its duties are
As a DIN standards committee and VDE organ the DKE German Commission for Electrotechnical, Electronic & Information Technologies of DIN and VDE is responsible for the elaboration of standards and safety specifications covering the areas of electrical engineering, electronics and information technologies.
The DKE is the German member of
IEC - International Electrotechnical Commission, Geneva, and
CENELEC - European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization, Brussels.
Furthermore, it is the responsible national standards organization (NSO) for Germany with ETSI
ETSI - European Telecommunications Standards Institute, Sophia Antipolis.
The standards are a measure for proper technical behaviour; this measure is also of judicial importance.
The application of standards is generally voluntary, however, application may be mandatory on the basis of legal or administrative requirements, and on the basis of contracts or for other legal reasons.
The application of standards does not release anyone from the responsibility of their actions. In this respect, everyone is acting at their own risk.
In the case of safety provisions in DIN and/or DIN VDE standards, there is a factual presumption of law that the standards are drawn up in a proper and workmanlike manner, i.e. that they are "acknowledged rules of technology" (see also Article 49 of the German Energy Industry Act).
The content of standards shall be oriented in accordance with the requirements of the public. Therefore, it is necessary that standards take into account the present state of the art.
Under the Standards Agreement, DIN and thus the DKE are obliged to
take the public interest into account for standardization tasks;
ensure that DIN standards can be used in legislation, in public administration and in legal proceedings to describe technical requirements;
involve the relevant authorities in the performance of standardization work;
give preference to applications for standardization work issued by the Federal Government, for which public interest is asserted by the Federal Government.
On the other hand, the Federal Government has already expressed its intention in the Standards Agreement of referring to DIN standards in legal regulations, and agreed to use DIN standards in administration and tender specifications.
The technical work in the standardization bodies of DIN and DKE is performed by technical experts.
The technical experts - about 5,000 technical experts in the committees and subcommittees of the DKE - are from all major "interested circles", e.g. users, public authorities, mutual indemnity associations, vocational, technical schools and universities, trade, craftsmen, industrial manufacturers, testing institutes, insurance companies, independent experts, technical supervisors, consumers, scientists. They must be authorized by the delegating organizations (e.g. educational and research institutes, public authorities, institutes, associations, organizations) for work in the standardization bodies.
The DKE committees are staffed, as in all technical committees of DIN, according to the principle that all interested circles be represented adequately. This is ensured in agreement with the concerned associations and requires the confirmation by the responsible divisional chairman. After confirmation, the members are nominated by committees and subcommittees, said nomination being valid until the four-year term of office of the DKE Council expires. The members nominated act as experts in their fields. They are, however, required to represent the opinion of the interested circles by whom they have been authorized.
The results of standardization work in DIN, and hence in the DKE, are German standards which are intended to have the highest possible degree of consistency with international standards. In the case of European standards, there is an obligation to include them as DIN EN in the DIN standards collection without alteration and to withdraw conflicting national standards.
Electrotechnical standards are additionally identified and respectively classified as VDE specifications, if they contain provisions for the prevention of dangers to humans, animals and property, and if these dangers are due to specific sources (explicitly agreed upon between DIN and VDE), or if the standards are within the scope of legal standards intended to avert such dangers.
The acknowledged rules of standardization offer a maximum of democratic principles in the preparation of standards in all phases of the preparation process. From the proposal for standards work until the adoption of a standard, the public has the opportunity to learn about standardization work.
The stages of standardization procedure correspond to the working procedure for standardization (DIN 820-4) but may vary according to the type of standard and the issuing organization. It is a common feature that standards are prepared in a multi-phase process in a democratic manner, involving all concerned associations according to the consensus principle.
Particular attention is drawn to the following facts:
all major concerned associations are involved in the preparation of draft standards;
all draft standards are subjected to a public enquiry procedure;
within the framework of mediation and arbitration procedures, maintained objections to draft standards are discussed and decided upon.
Anyone may submit a proposal for initiation of standards work.
The competent standards body - for the field of electrical engineering, i.e. the DKE - is required to make a decision on the acceptance or rejection of the proposal for standards work within three months.
The rejection shall be substantiated to the applicant in writing. If the applicant does not agree with the rejection of his proposal for standards work, he may involve the Management Board of DIN. An appeal against the decision of the Management Board may be lodged with the Presidial Board of DIN, who will then make a binding decision.
If the proposal for standards work is accepted by the competent standards body, the working title of the proposed standards project is published in the DIN Gazette of Technical Rules.
An appeal against initiation of a new standards project can be lodged with the chairman of the competent standards body. If negotiations with the chairman do not yield satisfactory results, the DIN Management Board may be involved.
Prior to finalization, the proposed version of a standard shall be submitted to the public for comment. This is generally done by publication of a draft standard.
The preparation of a draft standard to be published is carried out on the basis of a proposed text enclosed with the proposal for standards work or on the basis of an initial draft proposal prepared by a team of experts. In any case, the applicant shall be invited as a guest for the discussion of his proposal for standards work in order to justify his proposal in front of the competent technical committee; he may also be accepted as a member.
According to the results of discussion in the competent technical committee, revised versions of the draft proposal are prepared.
When work on a standards project has made adequate progress for the result to be submitted to the public for comment, the technical committee adopts the draft proposal as a draft standard for printing and, thus, temporarily concludes the discussions.
If the handling of the draft proposal is cancelled on the work programme before this result is achieved, the applicant of the relevant proposal for standards work will be informed accordingly, with grounds given for the cancellation. The applicant again has the above-mentioned possibilities of raising his objections.
A draft standard to be published should correspond to the form and content of the intended standard. Prior to printing and release for sale, it is therefore
subject to editorial revision for the purpose of a uniform and consistent presentation;
in the case of electrotechnical safety standards of the DKE, the manuscript is identified with the VDE classification;
reviewed and released by a department specifically in charge of this task within DIN.
In the case of draft standards on the basis of international or regional draft standards, the results prepared at international and/or regional level supersede the nationally prepared draft proposals.
The publication of a draft standard shall be announced in the DIN Gazette of Technical Rules. Anyone may purchase draft standards.
All draft standards are submitted to the Presidial Board of DIN, electrotechnical standards are additionally submitted to the DKE Council, and DIN drafts with VDE classification are also submitted to the VDE Board.
Anyone may submit and substantiate proposals, comments or objections with respect to draft standards within the deadline specified in the public announcement and in the draft standard. The objecting parties should be invited to attend the discussion of comments before the competent body, so that they can justify their comments.
If the objecting parties do not personally participate in the discussion of comments, they shall be informed about the result of discussions.
Decisions on final provisions in German standards, or contributions supported by all parties involved in international or European standardization, are generally made on the basis of a consensus. If a consensus regarding the specification of the standard contents cannot be reached in the competent technical body, clearly defined mediation and arbitration procedures are at the disposal of objecting parties.
Mediation and arbitration procedures in all standards committees of DIN are generally held according to the same democratic rules. As the designation of the bodies established by representatives of all interested circles differs, the mediation and arbitration procedures are described below following the DKE example.
Objecting parties who do not agree with the decision of the competent DKE technical body may contact the competent divisional chairman of the DKE and submit an application for mediation within one month after receipt of the decision made by the DKE technical body. The divisional chairman may involve the technical advisory board for his division in the mediation proceedings.
If an agreement is not reached within two months, an application for mediation may be filed with the Technical Advisory Board International and National Coordination (TBINK) within two months after receipt of the mediation report. However, if TBINK does not succeed in reaching an agreement within two months, an appeal may be made to the DKE Council within two months after receipt of the mediation report. The DKE Council will immediately set up an arbitration committee for final decision.
Separate rules of procedure apply to the arbitration procedure (analogue to the rules of procedure adopted by the DIN Presidial Board) which regularize, among others, the following:
The arbitration committee consists of the chairman and four members. The chairman is nominated by the DKE Council. The objecting party and the technical body involved each nominate two members within two months. Members of the technical body involved are not allowed to be members of the arbitration committee.
If one party fails to nominate its members within this period of time, the Council will nominate the missing members. The arbitration committee should have made its decision within three months.
The arbitration committee also decides on technical issues and has the "right" of referral to the technical body involved.
- Mediation and arbitration procedures based on an application for lowering the safety level do not have a suspensory effect. The relevant decision is made by the competent committee - if necessary by majority vote.
If major alterations result from the public enquiry procedure - including the mediation and arbitration procedure, if appropriate - another draft standard will be published to give the public the opportunity to submit comments once more. Otherwise, the competent technical body adopts the manuscript corresponding to the result of discussion for publication as a German standard. The publication and the corresponding inclusion in the German standards collection, and in the VDE Specifications Code of safety standards, if appropriate, is again preceded by detailed checking and release procedures, ensuring that the procedures for preparation of the standard have been correctly adhered to.