Designated standards

Lists of standards that businesses can use to show their products, services or processes comply with essential requirements of legislation.

Many businesses currently use European harmonised standards to provide a presumption of conformity with the relevant EU laws. At the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020, the essential legal requirements that businesses must meet did not change. All harmonised standards that give a presumption of conformity to EU law became ‘designated standards’ by the references published on GOV.UK. Businesses can use designated standards to provide presumption of conformity with GB law.

Harmonised standards remain the relevant standards for placing goods on the Northern Ireland market where EU rules continue to apply.

Find out about placing manufactured goods on the market in Northern Ireland from 1 January 2021

A designated standard is a standard, developed by consensus, which may be recognised by government in part or in full by publishing the reference on GOV.UK. Depending on the product, it can be a standard published by any of the following recognised standardisation bodies:

  • British Standards Institution (BSI)
  • European Committee for Standardisation (CEN)
  • European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardisation (Cenelec)
  • European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI)
  • International Organization for Standardization (ISO)
  • International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC)
  • International Telecommunication Union (ITU)

The content of the standard is the responsibility of the recognised standardisation bodies, with BSI as the UK’s National Standards Body representing the interests of UK stakeholders. From 1 January 2021, when deciding if a standard is appropriate for designation, the government will check how far the standard covers the various essential requirements set out in the relevant legislation. The government may decide not to designate or to designate with restriction. Any such restrictions will be described on the GOV.UK pages, and businesses should check frequently.

In the interests of transparency, the government will, for 28 days, make publicly available a notice of proposal to publish references to standards. Interested parties may object to the publication within the 28-day timeframe. The references to the standards will be published for the purposes of designation of the standards on the 29th day unless the notice is withdrawn or amended before that date.

References of designated standards

Designated standards are prefixed “BS”, “EN”, “EN ISO” or “EN IEC”. The Government has published the reference of the EN version, providing any identical national adoption of the standard a presumption of conformity to GB essential legal requirements.

For example:

BS EN 71-1:2014+A1:2018, DIN EN 71-1:2014+A1:2018; or simply EN 71-1:2014+A1:2018 are all equally acceptable.

Whilst GB essential legal requirements remain the same as the equivalent EU law, Annex ZA/ZZ and any references to EU law in the designated standard should be read in accordance with the designation as applying to GB law in the same way. This will change if / when GB essential legal requirements change.


Conformity assessment and management systems


Consumers and workers protection

Energy efficiency

Ecodesign and energy labelling

Electric and electronic engineering

Healthcare engineering

Measuring technology

Mechanical engineering and means of transport

Published 3 December 2020
Last updated 6 January 2021 + show all updates
  1. Links to designated standards from 1 January 2021 added for medical devices.

  2. Links to designated standards from 1 January 2021 added for washer dryers and washing machines.

  3. Links to designated standards from 1 January 2021 added for household refrigeration appliances and conformity assessment and management systems.

  4. Links to designated standards from 1 January 2021 added for air conditioners and comfort fans, circulators, dishwashers, domestic ovens and range hoods, electric motors, power supplies, radio equipment, standby and off mode, transformers, tumble dryers and vacuum cleaners.

  5. Links to designated standards from 1 January 2021 added for construction products and cableway installations designed to carry persons.

  6. Link to designated standards from 1 January 2021 added for general product safety.

  7. Links to designated standards from 1 January 2021 added for ATEX, cosmetic products, EMC, explosives for civil uses, gas appliances, lifts, low voltage equipment, machinery, measuring instruments, NAWI, PPE, pressure equipment, pyrotechnic articles, recreational craft, RoHS, simple pressure vessels and toy safety.

  8. First published.