Requirements Definition

Annex SL of the ISO Directives, Part 1 describes the clause structure, core text, and common terminology for all new or changed ISO management system standards. Annex SL defines the term Requirement as the:

“need or expectation that is stated, generally implied, or obligatory.”

Note 1 of the definition says that “generally implied” means that it is custom or common practice for the organization and interested parties that the need or expectation under consideration is implied.

Note 2 of the definition says that a specified requirement is one that is stated, for example in documented information.

In the context of a management system, requirements become obligations when the organization chooses to comply with them. Obligations may arise from mandatory requirements, such as applicable laws and regulations, or voluntary commitments such as industry standards and codes (including ISO Management System Standards), contractual relationships, principles of good governance, and accepted community and ethical standards.

Clause 4.2 of Annex SL, and therefore ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 14001:2015, provides the framework for determining the relevant requirements of relevant interested parties, which the organization chooses to adopt in clause 4.3.

A Management System Standard (MSS) contains specific requirements in addition to those of other relevant interested parties. Lastly, an organization may self-impose internal requirements above and beyond those required by an MSS or by other relevant interested parties.

The term requirement is used in several clauses with reference to different sources of requirements.

  • 4.2, 4.3, 6.1 reference the requirements of relevant interested parties that are applicable to the organization
  • 4.3, 4.4, 5.3.a, 7.5.1.a, 7.5.3.1, 9.2.1.a.2 reference the MSS requirements
  • 5.1, 6.1.2.b.1, 7.3, 8.1, 9.2.1.a.1 refer to the organization’s MS requirements

To view Annex SL, go to this web page within the ISO Directive, Part 1 document.