The Barbados National Standards Institution was established in 1973 as a joint venture between the Government of Barbados and the private sector under the Companies Act. It is a non-profit benevolent organization and consists of administrative offices and a laboratory complex.
Work towards the establishment of BNSI began in 1966 with the decision of the then CARIFTA Council of Ministers that every participating country should establish a Bureau of Standards to protect regional and national consumers in the increasing exchange of goods and services and initiation and extension of industrialization.
A study was therefore done in 1967 on the feasibility of a National Standards Body in Barbados. During the same year. Barbados, through the then Economic Planning Unit, became a Correspondent Member of the International Organization for Standardization.
Following another UNIDO Study in 1971, the BNSI formally established de jure in February 1973, as a joint venture between the Government of Barbados and the Private Sector under the Companies Act. It is non-profit and registered “benevolent” organization.
In 1973, BNSI assumed the membership for Barbados in the ISO. Barbados, through BNSI, became a full member of ISO in 1999.
In 1984, BNSI became the National Contact Point for Codex Alimentarius matters.
The UNIDO/Government of Barbados projects for the “organization and administration of the Barbados National Standards Institution 1973 – 1976 and 1978 – 1981” saw the development of the Institution. BNSI occupied premises at Government Headquarters and the old Bay Street Boys’ School before taking possession of its present accommodation at “Flodden”, Culloden Road on 1975.
A Laboratory Complex was completed in 1977. It houses the following laboratories:
A Soils and Materials Testing facility was included in 1983.
Barbados, through the BNSI, was instrumental in establishing the Caribbean Common Market Standards Council (CCMSC) in 1976, and featured prominently in its work. Barbados was also instrumental in establishing the CARICOM Organization for Standards and Quality (CROSQ) in 2003 under the revised treaty of Chaguaramas. CROSQ replaced the CCMSC as the organization to deal with regional standards matters.
The functions of the BNSI are:
- Prepare, implement and promote the use of national, regional and international standards for product and services.
- Revise, alter and amend these standards from time to time.
- Assist in established new industries in Barbados.
- Maintain laboratories for testing and conducting investigations or research as needed.
- Provide calibration facilities and be the custodian of national standards of length, capacity, temperature, electrical measurements and mass.
- Collect and disseminate information on standardization and its related activities.
- Promote quality assurance and simplification in industry and commerce.
- Promote the revision of relevant legislation to reflect current requirements in standards-related activities.
- Certify products and processes that conform to national standards.
BNSI offers the following services to industry:
- Standards development and information;
- Metrology – Weights and Measures, Calibrations and Verifications;
- ISO 9000 (quality management) facilitation;
- Soils and materials testing;
- Certification of products under the BNSI Certification Marking Scheme;
- Product development and testing of products;
- Technical advice for metrication;
Testing of products.
To facilitate, through standardization and its related activities the international competitiveness of Barbadian goods and services, the protection of consumers and the harmonious development of the sectors of the economy.
Legislation giving legal force to the work of BNSI includes:
- The Standards Act, 2006-5;
- The Weights and Measures Act, Cap 331
- The Weights and Measures Regulations (1985).
- The BNSI Certification Marks Regulations (1982).
BNSI holds membership in the following regional and international organizations:
- International Organization for Standardization (ISO);
- International Organization of Legal Metrology (OIML);
- Pan-American Standards Commission (COPANT);
- Inter-American Metrology System (SIM);
- Caribbean Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ);
- Affiliate Country Programme of the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC).
BNSI is the National Contact Point for Codex Alimentarius matters and the World Trade Organization Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Standards Enquiry Point for Barbados.