Early standards were concerned with purely technical issues, today they impact on almost all areas of life.
Even though their application should in principle be voluntary they often become binding, either directly defined by law, or indirectly, especially in the course of legal disputes. This is alarming from a democratic perspective as the standardisation processes do not meet the requirements of legislative procedures. This raises the question of how the highly relevant socio-political considerations involved should be determined in the public interest: through the democratic legitimacy of parliamentary procedure, by private commercial institutions or by special interest groups? How does the situation compare between Austria, Germany and Switzerland, and can the ‘new’ Austrian Law on Standards improve this situation?
Christian Aulinger, President of the Federal Chamber of Civil Engineers
Konrad Lachmayer, Professor for public law at the Sigmund Freud University (SFU) in Vienna
Martin Müller, Vice-President of the Federal Chamber of Architects in Germany, BAK
Elisabeth Stampfl Blaha, Director of the Austrian Standards Institute
Moderated by Matthias Finkentey, Organisational Manager, IG Architektur