Australian standards are set to become more widely available and potentially less costly after the organisation responsible for developing and maintaining the standards announced a new distribution agreement with a new partner.

In its latest announcement, Standards Australia says it has entered into a new distribution agreement with scientific and technical publishing company Techstreet, a subsidiary of US based Clarivate Analytics.

Under the deal, users will be able to access Standards Australia content either through a new webstore operated by Techstreet or through a subscription service to Techstreet’s standards management platform.

Content available will include Australian standards as well as other technical documents such as ISO and IEC materials.

Techstreet will become the second distributor of Standards Australia content, which is also available through SAI Global.

For engineers, the latest agreement will introduce welcome competition into the marketplace for access to Australian standards, and holds out the hope that competitive pricing may reduce the cost of standards or at least limit any increases to standard pricing.

Under current arrangements, engineers must purchase Australian standards through SAI Global, which is the sole distributor of the standards and holds a monopoly in the market for standard distribution.

This has led to complaints about the cost and availability of standards – many of which in building and construction are mandatory where they are referenced in the National Construction Code.

With the NCC having become freely available online in 2015, calls for Australian standards to be less costly and more widely available have grown.

Standards Australia’s Chairman Richard Brooks said the agreement would introduce options regarding how customers throughout Australia access standards and would help Standards Australia to focus on building internal capability which developing external partnerships to deliver new methods of distribution.

“This is an exciting step in improving access to Australian Standards®, while allowing our organisation to build internal capability and develop external partnerships to deliver new methods of distribution,” Brooks said.

“Ultimately, improving how we distribute our content ensures we serve our public purpose – to help industries work safely, sustainably and more effectively.”

Adam Stigmore, General Manager, Strategy and Engagement at Standards Australia, said the organisation has been working towards becoming a more open, agile and innovative digital publisher for more than four years.

Stigmore said the organisation more broadly was seeking to design a ‘Standards Australia of the future’, and would engage stakeholders in a process of consultation over coming months.

On pricing, Stigmore said the organisation hoped the new arrangements would introduce marketplace competition and thus drive improvements not only in pricing but also technology and customer care.

Nevertheless, he stressed that decisions regarding retail pricing and offers were solely the purview of distributors rather than SA itself.