The recent talk about the aerospace update to AS9100, to be called “IA9100,” rely a lot on the update path for the ISO 9001 standard. That’s because the IAQG insists they are trying to tie the IA9100 release to the next revision of ISO 9001, but that they also want to do so by 2024 (next year.) I keep saying that makes no sense because ISO 9001 isn’t on track to be revised next year.

So what is the revision status of ISO 9001? I spoke with some folks within TC 176 and got the latest update, as of right now.

World Consensus is for Losers

First, recall that ISO did a normal 5-year review and asked member nations to vote on whether ISO 9001 should be updated; the result was a majority voted to confirm ISO 9001:2015 as-is, and not update the standard. ISO didn’t like that vote, since it stands to make a fortune when ISO 9001 is updated, so they’ve held a series of quasi-non-binding votes since then, trying to get people to change their votes, and those haven’t worked out well, either.

So ISO pushed ahead by telling TC 176 to proceed “as if” a revision is going to happen, but instead of calling it a “revision” they are using the phrase “early revision.” I have no idea why ISO thinks that distinction matters, but I’m not inside their brains, so can’t tell you.

So where are we now? TC 176 has just completed a “Design Specification” for the new revision, but is insisting they won’t pull the trigger until they hold another vote on whether to update it or not. It’s a foregone conclusion that if they spent the past two years already working on the preliminary steps and design spec, they are going to update ISO 9001 no matter what. It will be interesting to see how ISO spins this, but they did the same with the 2008 revision, which they called an “amendment” and not a “revision.” So we will see.

Out of Africa

The next TC 176 meeting is set for Rwanda, which is not thrilling the guys who were hoping for a tropical beachside locale, and is in October. (The meeting will be held in Kigali, which is 1,500 km from the beach.)  At that meeting, TC 176 will make its pitch (again) to have the members vote to revise ISO 9001, and will discuss the design spec.

Knowing that TC 176 will approve the revision no matter what happens, the next mandatory step will be for TC 176 to develop the Working Draft (WD) of the new standard. The WD will take a few months to write, and will incorporate the updated language from Annex SL as well as the “secret draft” that someone already wrote. The WD will not be released publicly (at least, not officially), and remain in secret. Then, TC 176 will use 5 months to gather comments on the WD.

Once the WD is commented, work will begin on the more formal Committee Draft (CD.) This draft will be published, and circulated for official comments to all TC 176 member nations. The CD is supposed to be translated first, but ISO skipped translation steps when producing ISO 9001:2015 (violating their own rules), so we may see the same thing again. The commenting period will take another 6 months at least.

Once all comments are reviewed, the committee will then produce a Draft International Standard, or DIS. The DIS must be produced and be fully compliant with all rules and formatting, and then submitted for translation and commenting. This would take another 6 months, if ISO fast-tracks it.

An update to ISO rules then allows a DIS to be immediately published as the final International Standard (IS), but only in extreme circumstances. That would require that there be overwhelming consensus, and very few comments, generated by the DIS. This is guaranteed to not be the case with ISO 9001, which is always controversial, and always generates a lot of arguments between TC 176 member nations. There’s no way we are skipping the next step.

So, instead, we can expect the DIS to be converted to a Final Draft International Standard (FDIS), which would then be subject to another round of translation-and-commenting. The comments for the FDIS are usually ignored, since the FDIS draft is considered a final product, and no changes are technically allowed to it.

Once the FDIS is approved, only then would the final update to ISO 9001 be published and sold.

What Happens Then?

The graphic at right shows my estimates on this timeline, padding a few steps where I know TC 176 will likely stumble a bit, but still presenting this in a lightning-fast manner. This assumes that ISO will skip separate translation periods (again) and forcing translation and voting to happen simultaneously (which sucks if you’re not a native English-speaking country.) This also assumes TC 176 will do only the most cursory, light-fingered review of commenting, and not allow actual robust debate at any step along the way.

So at best, you are looking at a 2nd Quarter 2025 release, with it more than likely pushing into Q3.

Where does that leave AS9100’s update, IA9100? Well, the IAQG does give itself some leeway, saying it may delay IA9100 Rev A until “late 2025,” but my sources say they are not anxious about that and want to release Rev. A in 2024. So IAQG will have two choices: release Rev A in 2024, and then Rev B in 2026 (just two years later, potentially pissing off everyone), or hold off and hope that ISO doesn’t derail things with pesky consensus-gathering and debate and voting, and just gets the damn job done already.

As it looks now, we can guess that the next ISO 9001 standard will be called ISO 9001:2025.

Update: an earlier version of this said the next TC 176 plenary would be in Kenya. The article was updated to reflect that the meeting will be held in Kigali, Rwanda.

About Christopher Paris

Christopher Paris is the founder and VP Operations of Oxebridge. He has over 30 years' experience implementing ISO 9001 and AS9100 systems, and is a vocal advocate for the development and use of standards from the point of view of actual users. He is the author of Surviving ISO 9001 and Surviving AS9100. He reviews wines for the irreverent wine blog, Winepisser.


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