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By February 11, 2021NEWS
granular rocks ontop of non woven geotextile


Our Technical Director, Ian Fraser, shares some updates on activity in our key geosynthetics standardisation bodies.

I have said previously that if I didn’t participate in the work of the BSI, CEN and ISO committees that oversee the standards related to geosynthetics I wouldn’t be up to date with half of their activity. So I decided to do a short periodic update which is hopefully helpful. For information the three committees referred to are BSI B553, CEN TC189 and ISO TC221.

The most notable recent activity on the BSI committee was the publication of BS8661 Geotextiles: Guidance for specification for basic separation and filtration functions. This document defines specification profiles for three basic grades of geotextile and provides a simple process to allow a designer to select an appropriate specification for their project conditions. It also obviously tells you how to check a geotextile’s specification to make sure that it meets the requirements. I have prepared a short technical note with more information which can be reached via this link HERE. I would encourage anyone involved in setting or checking geotextile specifications to read this and to obtain a copy of the standard from the BSI shop as soon as possible. BSI Shop – Buy British Standards. (

As you can imagine the situation regarding Europe and CEN is slightly different than it was pre Brexit. Firstly, the UK is still a member of CEN because membership is not linked to membership of the EU. For example, Turkey has been a CEN member for a long time and is clearly not an EU member. However, I am sure some of you may have noticed mention of a UKCA mark which will replace the CE mark for products brought to market in the UK. This will come into force on January 1st 2021 giving us a year’s grace (10 months now) to convert your products from the existing CE Mark to the new UKCA mark. The good news is that the geosynthetic testing for both marks is currently identical and there seems little likelihood that this will change.

One stipulation of the UKCA mark is that the certification must be issued by a UK based notified body, so this means that manufacturers and distributors who were previously using notified bodies in Europe and selling product in the UK will now need to switch to a UK body for their UKCA mark. This does not necessarily mean that any testing will need to be redone as, so far, UK bodies appear to be accepting test results from reputable European laboratories. Of course anyone still wishing to sell product in Europe will need to maintain a CE mark via a European body and this appears to be in force now. I have heard rumours that product that has been CE marked in the UK has already been refused in Europe so if you are an exporter beware. If you follow the links below you will find some more information.

Lastly ISO TC221 Working Group 6 continues to work on a series of Technical Reports on Design Using Geosynthetics. The 10 reports cover functional areas as follows:

  • General – TR18228-1

  • Separation – TR18228-2

  • Filtration – TR18228-3

  • Drainage – TR18228-4

  • Stabilisation – TR18228-5

  • Protection – TR18228-6

  • Reinforcement – TR18228-7

  • Erosion – TR18228-8

  • Barriers – TR18228-9

  • Asphalt overlays – TR18228-10

The reports give advice on the worldwide state of practice on design methods for geosynthetics in these various areas and are written to help non-geosynthetic experts. Most of these reports should be published in the coming year and will be available via the BSI shop.

I hope that the above is helpful and I will provide another update when there is something significant to pass on. BSI Shop – Buy British Standards. ( In the meantime if you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me