Users of ISO International Standards and other normative ISO deliverables [Technical Specifications (TS), Publicly Available Specifications (PAS), International Workshop Agreements (IWA) may wish to update on the use of expressions commonly used in the world of standardisation.
The following definitions apply in understanding how to implement an ISO International Standard and other normative ISO deliverables (TS, PAS, IWA).
- “shall” indicates a requirement
- “should” indicates a recommendation
- “may” is used to indicate that something is permitted
- “can” is used to indicate that something is possible, for example, that an organization or individual is able to do something
In 3.3.1 of the ISO/IEC Directives, Part 2 (sixth edition, 2011) defines a requirement as an “expression in the content of a document conveying criteria to be fulfilled if compliance with the document is to be claimed and from which no deviation is permitted.”
In 3.3.2 of the ISO/IEC Directives, Part 2 (sixth edition, 2011) defines a recommendation as an “expression in the content of a document conveying that among several possibilities one is recommended as particularly suitable, without mentioning or excluding others, or that a certain course of action is preferred but not necessarily required, or that (in the negative form) a certain possibility or course of action is deprecated but not prohibited.”
Implications for conformity assessment
Conformity assessment is the demonstration that specified requirements relating to a product, process, service, person, system or body are fulfilled.
Demonstration of specified requirements may be undertaken by a manufacturer or supplier (first party), a user or purchaser (second party), or an independent body (third party).
Pursuant to 6.7 of the ISO/IEC Directives, Part 2 (sixth edition, 2011), ISO International Standards and other normative ISO deliverables (TS, PAS, IWA) that contain requirements are written in accordance with the “neutrality principle”, such that conformity can be assessed by a first party, second party, or third-party.
ISO International Standards and other normative ISO deliverables (TS, PAS, IWA) that do not contain requirements (i.e. do not contain the verbal expression ‘shall’) are not intended to be used for conformity assessment.
The original text can be found on the ISO website at http://bit.ly/1e5a2Ju