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How to read a standard?

A standard consists of preliminary, normative, and informative parts.

An SFS standard consists of the following elements:
cover page (preliminary)
contents (preliminary)
foreword (preliminary)
introduction (preliminary)
scope (general normative)
references (general normative)
terms and definitions (technical normative)
requirements (technical normative)
information for guidance and bibliography. (informative)

Further reading: SFS Guide 4

The national prefix for an EN standard in Finland is either SFS-EN XXXX or SFS-EN ISO XXXX (when the EN standard is identical with an ISO standard). According to CEN/CENELEC Internal Regulations, the cover page of a national standard shall always contain the corresponding EN designation.

The principle is to implement EN standards as national standards without any modifications. A national cover page and any foreword and annexes are incorporated to the SFS standard as in the figure above. These elements shall be incorporated in such a way that the contents of the EN standard remain unchanged if they are removed. After pages belonging to the EN standard, informative national annexes can be added; these are not a part of the actual standard.

When an International Standard has been amended by common modifications before being approved as a European Standard by CEN or CENELEC, these modifications are incorporated into the relevant clauses of the International Standard in question. Common modifications are indicated by a vertical line in the left margin of the text or by text boxes.

An SFS-ISO standard or SFS-IEC standard contains a national cover page, the original text of the ISO or IEC standard without a cover page, and national annexes, if any.

Replacing a standard

When a standard is withdrawn, it can be replaced by a new standard. The new standard's designation may be either identical with the old one or completely new. The edition number (depending on whether the designation is a new one) is always marked on the standard. Sometimes a standard is withdrawn before the new standard replacing it has been published. Not all withdrawn standards are replaced by new standards. SFS webshop list includes replacement information for each standard.


Each standard includes a scope which describes its intended use.

Normative references

Normative references shall give a list of the referenced normative documents (mostly standards) cited in the document with their numbers and titles in such a way as to make them indispensable for the application of the standard. A possible original standard or documents mentioned in Information for guidance shall not be listed in References.