Plant & Works Engineering
Standards and their impact on your business
Published:  16 February, 2022

Which Standards have an impact on your business as an end-user? BCAS reports.

Standards can have an impact on your business as an end-user. Below is a snapshot look of both direct and indirect Standards that businesses need to be aware of.

Direct Impact:

BS/ISO 8573-1 (Classification of air quality/purity):

This standard is applied for any process requiring compressed air to be delivered / used at a pre-defined purity specification. The standard allows for a consistent purity level to be defined and measured against. Note that the dated revisions of the standard define the purity specification at the time of specification, and care should be taken to note the date of the standard referred to, as the permissible solid particulate levels were revised. For example:

Air purity compliant to ISO 8573-1:2001 Class 1:2:1 defines maximum permissible amounts of contamination as:

Particles at Class 1 (100x 0.1 to 0.5 micron/m3 & 1x 0.5 to 1 micron/m3 & 0x 1 to 5 micron/m3)

Water at Class 2 (-40°C Pressure Dewpoint) Oil at Class 1 (0.01 mg/m3 Aerosol + Vapour)


Air purity compliant to ISO 8573-1:2010 Class 1.2.1 defines maximum permissible amounts of contamination as:

Particles at Class 1 (20,000x 0.1 to 0.5 micron/m3 & 400x 0.5 to 1 micron/m3 & 10x 1 to 5 micron/m3)

Water at Class 2 (-40°C Pressure Dewpoint) Oil at Class 1 (0.01 mg/m3 Aerosol + Vapour) BS/ISO 11011:2013 (Energy efficiency audit for the entire compressed air system):

This existing standard is applied to provide a structured plan to carry out an exhaustive survey on an existing system to identify areas of improvement. This is not limited to finding and fixing leaks. It also focuses on eliminating waste, optimising control of compressors (where more than one compressor is used) and addressing point of use inefficiency.

Planned Part 2 (intended to be published as an ISO/TR) is the ‘how to supplement the existing standard (which will become Part 1).

PSSR:2000 (Pressure Systems Safety Regulation):

This piece of legislation states that a user (or owner, in the case of a mobile system) of an installed compressed air (or “relevant fluid”) system with a stored energy capacity (Pressure vessel pressure x internal volume) greater than 250 bar litres under their control is required to have a Written Scheme of Examination (WSE) in place. This WSE will define the required examination scope and period, along with the expected maintenance interventions and period.

F-Gas (restriction of supply to market of harmful HFC products):

The phase-down process is ongoing, and the benefit of ‘reclaiming and recycling’ is being promoted as a method to reduce the impact of increasing costs due to restricted supply. The promotion of lower GWP refrigerants is also being encouraged to increase end-user awareness. 

ISO 14001:2015 (Environmental Management):

From a compressed air perspective, compliance to this standard will focus on waste oil disposal (including air treatment consumables and drain condensate disposal). Ensure your service provider is a BCAS member and be confident that latest best practices are being adhered to.

Indirect Impact:

ISO 1217 (Manufacturers (Positive Displacement Compressor types, only) reference standard for performance measurement):

Allows comparison of the efficiency performance of different positive displacement compressor technologies from different suppliers. BS/EN 1012 (Manufacturers reference standard for safety of compressors):

Gives end-user assurance that the delivered compressor is “fit-for-purpose”. ISO 18623-1 will soon be published with the intention to supersede the existing BS/EN 1012

BS/ISO 12500 (Manufacturers reference standard for performance of Air treatment products):

Allows comparison of the performance of filters for compressed air for three different filter/ contaminant types:

Part 1 covers coalescing filters for removal of oil aerosols.

Part 2 covers adsorbent filters (e.g. activated carbon, etc) for removal of oil vapours and odours.

Part 3 covers particulate filters for removal of solid particles.


The PED (Pressure Equipment Directive) and SPVD (Simple Pressure Vessels Directive) are European Directives (Legal Requirements) intended to avoid technical barriers to free trade and to guarantee safe use of pressure equipment across the European Union.

The revised PED and SPVD Guidelines were published in October 2018. Also, revision of EN 286-2 and EN 286-3 are ongoing to achieve compliance with SPVD to aid harmonisation 

Machinery Directive

The MD (Machinery Directive) is the core European legislation covering mechanical engineering products (“machinery” is defined as “an assembly, fitted with or intended to be fitted with a drive system other than directly applied human or animal effort, consisting of linked parts or components, at least one of which moves, and which are joined together for a specific application.”) Machinery must be supported with a technical file and is subject to an assessment process to ensure compliance with the MD. A Declaration of Conformity (or Incorporation for partially completed equipment) is produced and the machinery has CE marking before being placed on the market.


REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and restriction of Chemicals) is a harmonised European regulation intended to manage the safe management and use of chemicals. The ECHA (European Chemicals Agency) in Helsinki manages a centralised database on all chemicals and restrictions on their use. For compressed air users, the significance is applied to selection of suitable oils (for cooling and lubrication).

Eco-Design Directive

The Ecodesign directive is a set of European requirements aimed at encouraging manufacturers to produce more energy efficient products (‘improving the environmental performance of products’) from a complete lifecycle perspective. Initially targeted toward all ‘Energy Using Products’ which consume electric power while in ‘standby and off’ modes, the scope was extended to include a range of industrial products, including air compressors (known as Lot 31). Not expected to impact products placed on the market until 2020, the most likely impact for end-users will be the ability to compare different products for energy efficiency. For further information please contact BCAS at: