It would not be exaggerating the things that for steady, progressive and sustainable business growth, we need to first conform to various global benchmarks of quality assurance. Therefore, the organizations choose to conform to various ISO standards. The primary motive behind going through the ISO Certification procedure is achieving the desired level of compliance to the international vanguards of quality management. Moreover, the sustainable business is a continual procedure just as the constancy of the quality efficiency is affirmed throughout the entire business journey only if there consistency in adherence to the attained management system standards. Out of the various aspects that ensure the continuous process of quality enhancement, one fundamental feature is of an ISO High-level structure. This elementary aspect is common to almost all types of ISO standards.

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What is ISO High-level structure?

The High-level structure or HLS is a systematic mechanism for drafting the prospective ISO management system standards. You can go in detail to the Appendix SL of the ISO/IEC Directives.

How does an ISO High-level structure look like in ISO Certification?

According to the ISO/IEC Directives, the ISO standards should be framed in a high-level structure that comprises of the following heads-

  • Scope
  • Normative reference
  • Terms & definitions
  • The context of the organization
  • Leadership
  • Planning
  • Support
  • Operation
  • Performance evaluation
  • Improvement

The basic requirements and attributes that are specific to each management system standard are included in this structure in the form of sequential chapters.

What is the objective of ISO High-level structure?

The central objectives of ISO High-level structure are given follows which ensures the uniformity in the quality management process. The main idea behind standardization as per HLS is to make sure that all the new standards adhere to and share a common consistent principle, i.e

  • A general structure with similar chapters, articles, heading numbers or clauses etc.
  • Introductory texts for all similar clauses
  • Similar references for similar requirements
  • Common terminology with all core definitions

What is the significance of ISO High-level structure?

The basic motive behind inculcating HLS in ISO Certification is to make sure and promote compatibility among various ISO standards in order to enable their proper integration and easy implementation by the certified establishments.

Read more: What Is ISO 9001 certification For Quality Management

How does ISO implement HLS in the development of various ISO Standards?

The international Standardization organization (ISO) seeks to ensure uniformity in the devising of its own ISO standards. This will be more clear through the following aspects that are evident in every management system standards:

  • Consistent texts that are applicable to all types and sizes of organizations in all sectors of the economy as well as in every work-culture.
  • A detailed framework that aims at conforming output of the ISO Certification process that is usually very complex, and involves the intervention of various committees and parties.
  • Precision: Of course, ISO would guarantees that management system standards are concise and not overly descriptive. Besides, HLS ensure this with a uniform framework.


By taking all these core aspects into consideration, ISO has already implemented the High-level structure in many of the key ISO standards such as ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 and is still applying it to many other standards. Some recent instances are of ISO 45001:2018, ISO 50001:2018 and ISO 22000:2018.


Hurry up! Appy for ISO 9001 and take your business to the list of top quality providers. You can visit our website ISOcertificateonline for further more details such as certification marks in India, ISO registration in Bengaluru or more. Our experts are available here to guide you for any query. Give us a call at 8750008844 and send your query on Email: [email protected]

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