Work programme

The work programme of a technical committee or subcommittee (TC/SC) comprises the development of new standards and the maintenance of existing publications

Each TC/SC develops publications with an agreed technical scope, following requests initiated by sources inside and outside the IEC. The aim is to avoid overlaps and duplication of work between different TC/SCs. The work programme of every TC lists the subcommittees, working groups or project teams to which each individual project is allocated.

Every project recieves an individual number that it retains until the work is completed. Occasionally a project may need to be divided into several parts. Each part receives a number, in addition to the original number. In all cases, all parts of the project must remain within the original scope. Otherwise a new work item propposal (NP) must be submitted.

When a new technical committee is founded, a work programme is developed and submitted to the SMB for approval.

Target dates

For each project in its work programme, the TC/SC establishes target dates for the completion of each of the following steps:

  • first working draft developped (if the originator of the new work item proposal has only provided a brief outline)
  • circulation of the first committee draft
  • circulation of the enquiry draft
  • circulation of the draft international standard (in agreement with the office of the CEO)
  • publication of the final IEC International Standard (in agreement with the office of the CEO).



The following provides guidance on target dates (after approval of the work item):

  • availability of working draft (if not supplied with the proposal): 6 months
  • availability of committee draft: 12 months
  • availability of enquiry draft: 24 months
  • availability of approval draft: 33 months
  • availability of published standard: 36 months

Target dates are continuously reviewed and adjusted as necessary. When target dates are changed, the TC/SC needs to inform the SMB. The SMB cancels any project that has been in development for more than 5 years without reaching the approval stage.

Project control

SCs, working groups, and project teams submit regular progress reports to their TC.

Progress is also monitored by the IEC central office who reports back to the SMB.

Understanding standards

Standards development stages

Stages codes