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Austria

Austria is a democratic republic. Its head of state (the President) and its legislative organs are elected by direct popular vote. Citizens of Austria have been guaranteed basic rights and freedoms (such as freedom of religion and freedom of expression) since 1867.

Austria is a federal republic, comprising nine provinces (Bundeslaender, singular- Bundesland). Legislation is enacted by the two chambers of Parliament, the Nationalrat ( National Council) and the Bundesrat (Federal Council). The latter chamber represents the interests of the federal provinces. The Executive Branch is headed by the president, as chief of state, and the chancellor, as head of government. The cabinet is a committee of ministers, confirmed by the president upon advice from the chancellor. The Executive Branches of the provinces are headed by the provincial governors

Austria covers an area of approximately 84 000km². The population is about 8.0 million of which 1.6 million live in the capital, Vienna. Austria is a member of the European Union since 1995.

Organisational Structure and Background

The Metrology Service of the Bundesamt für Eich- und Vermessungswesen, or BEV (Federal Office of Metrology and Surveying) located in Vienna, is the national metrology institute (NMI) and the national legal metrology authority in Austria. The BEV is a subordinate agency of the Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy (BMWFW). For historical reasons, the Metrology Service is consolidated into a common organisation with the national authority for land surveying. The statutory basis of the activities of the BEV in the field of metrology is the Metrology Act (MEG) Federal Gazette (BGBl.) Nr. 152/1950 as amended.

As NMI the BEV has the task to maintain the national measuring standards of the legal units of measurement and to lay down methods of realisation of these units as well as to carry out international comparisons. The legal units of measurement are disseminated by calibration and testing of measuring instruments/devices. The Physico-Technical Testing Service (PTP), which is a restricted legal entity, is entrusted with calibration, testing and related training. The transfer of expert knowledge is provided by seminars and training courses dealing with metrology legislation and other metrology matters.

The tasks of the BEV, as legal metrology authority, comprise type approval and verification of measuring instruments, market oversight and in-service-inspection, control of pre-packages and authorisation and supervision of private verification bodies. Verifications are only carried out by the BEV or the 9 local verification offices if there are no verification bodies authorised for the type of instrument.

The BEV is also a notified body under the directives 2009/423/EC and 2004/22/EC.

Metrology requires close European and global cooperation. Austria is therefore signatory of the Meter Convention and of the Convention of the OIML. The BEV signed the Memorandum of Understanding of WELMEC and is a member of EURAMET e.V..

Equipment Subject to National Controls

Instruments for official and commercial transactions

  • Simple length measures and length measuring instruments
  • Area measuring instruments
  • Volume measures
  • Dipsticks and Depth gauges for liquids
  • Taximeters
  • Weights
  • Liquid volume metering instruments

    • Weights
    • Liquids other than water

  • Capacity measures (tanks)
  • Gas volume meters
  • Electricity meters
  • Heat meters
  • Measuring instruments for grading cereals and milk
  • Measuring instruments for density
  • Manometers
  • Thermometers
  • Sound level meters
  • Dosimeters
  • Activity meters
  • Hardness test blocks and indenters for hardness
  • Non-automatic weighing instruments
  • Automatic weighing instruments

    • Discontinuous totalising
    • Continuous totalising (beltweighers)
    • Gravimetric filling
    • Rail weighbridges
    • Catch weighers

      • Checkweighers and Weight graders
      • Weigh/price labellers and weigh labellers

 

Instruments for health service and environmental protection

  • Weighing instruments
  • Dosimeters and contamination meters
  • Sound level meters
  • Activity meters

 

Measuring instruments for safety purposes

  • Manometers
  • Thermometers
  • Dosimeters
  • Activity meters

 

Measuring instruments for road traffic and enforcement purposes

  • Tyre pressure gauges
  • Axle and wheel weighing systems
  • Chronotachographs
  • Traffic speed measuring instruments
  • Accelerometers
  • Breath analysers
  • Revolution counters
  • Sound level meters
  • Dosimeters and contamination meters

Most of this equipment, apart from simple instruments, is subject to type approval requirements, initial verification and mandatory re-verification.

Exempt are the measuring instruments according to the directives 2009/423/EC (NAWI directive) and 2004/22/EC (MID), for which the modules of the respective directive have to be applied when placing them on the market and putting them into service. The system of mandatory re-verification applies also to these measuring instruments.

A further exception, under the regime of directive 93/42/EEC for medical devices, are measuring instruments, for which the modules of this directive must be applied when placing them on the market and putting them into service. Out of these, only weighing instruments and dosimeters are subject to mandatory re-verification.

Type Approval

Type approval is one of the tasks of the BEV. The examination and testing work is done by the Physico-Technical Testing Service (PTP) of the BEV, but in some cases results of other competent laboratories may also be taken into account. This holds equally for test results from similar bodies abroad, especially on the basis of international agreements. Fees charged for the testing work are calculated on a full economic cost recovery principle.

Initial Verification, Inspection and Reverification

Verification is carried out by authorised verification bodies. Exempt are measuring instruments for law enforcement purposes and those instruments for which no verification bodies are authorised: These are verified by the BEV or the local verification offices.

Typical reverification intervals are:

Weighing instruments 2 years
Measuring instruments for liquids other than water 2 years
Traffic speed measuring instruments 3 years
Water meters 5 years
Diaphragm gas meters 12 years
Electricity meters 8 to 20 years; depending on physical principle (with possibility of extension)

The maximum permissible errors (mpe’s) for re-verification are generally the same as for initial verification. The mpe’s in service in most cases are twice these values.

The verification fees charged by the private authorised verification bodies are set by them. The verification fees charged by the BEV or the verification offices are set by ordinance.

Inspection

The mandatory verification and re-verification system is supplemented by random inspection. Inspection comprises market surveillance, supervision of companies manufacturing pre-packages, measuring container bottles and capacity serving measures, as well as inspection of measuring instruments in service. Inspection is periodically performed by verification officers. There are no statutory periods of inspection provided in the legislation.

Legal Metrology Practitioners

The Metrology Service of the BEV has approximately 90 employees, some 20 of them university graduates, and 40 technicians. The fields of activity comprise legal metrology (type approvals, verifications) as well as fundamental metrology and calibrations.

Another 90 persons are employed at the verification offices. Their field of work includes inspection, verification and supervision of private verification bodies and control of pre-packages.

Training is provided by the BEV and consists of one year on the job training and two formal courses, followed by an examination. From time to time short special courses give supplementary training in the different areas of work.

The BEV has implemented a quality management system. QM techniques are applied in all areas of metrology. All of our technicians receive training in QM. This training is a prerequisite for their formal qualification. Many staff members became registered under the Austrian scheme as QM assessors, QM managers and QM assistants. Some of them are lead assessors for the Austrian accreditation body (Akkreditierung Austria). In each subject field at least one person is trained as technical assessor for the accreditation body.

Sanctions

Infringements of legislation are dealt with by a verbal warning as a first step. Administrative fines may be imposed by verification officers (up to €21), and by district administration authorities (up to €10 900). In severe cases, especially when fraud is evident, criminal prosecution is possible.

Instruments found to be infringing legal requirements may be sealed or confiscated to prevent further use.

Directive 2009/423/EC

The Directive was implemented in 1994. All Article 1(2)a category instruments were subject to verification already prior to the implementation.

Gravity zones were established for Class III-instruments of lower resolution. The instruments must bear an inscription of either the zone or the location of use (depending on the resolution the exact location or an area must be given). In addition, a harmonised marking of gravity zones as elaborated by WELMEC will also be accepted.

Austrian law makes it an offence to use an instrument outside of its marked operating conditions. There are only a few requirements demanding a designated instrument class to be used for a particular application. The BEV is a notified body for EC type examination (type approval), EC verification , EC unit verification and quality systems.

Directive 2004/22/EC (MID)

The Directive was implemented by the Measuring Instruments Ordinance (Federal gazette, BGBl. II No 274/2006) and 9 measuring instrument regulations (Official bulletin of the Metrology Service, special issue 3, 4 Sept. 2006). The BEV is a notified body for all modules of the following measuring instruments:

  • MI-001 – Water meters
  • MI-002 – Gas meters and volume conversion devices
  • MI-003 – Active electrical energy meters
  • MI-004 – Heat meters
  • MI-005 – Measuring systems for the continuous and dynamic measurement of quantities of liquids other than water
  • MI-006 – Automatic weighing instruments
  • MI-007 – Taximeters
  • MI-008 – Material measures (Material measures of length, capacity serving measures)
  • MI-009 – Dimensional measuring instruments

Accreditation

The accreditation of calibration laboratories, verification bodies, testing laboratories, certification bodies and inspection bodies is the responsibility of the Federal Minister of Science, Research and Economy (BMWFW):

Bundesministerium für Wissenschaft, Forschung und Wirtschaft (BMWFW)Stubenring 11010 Wien

Updated July 2015