|Certifying agency||BSI Group|
|Effective region||United Kingdom|
|Website||Kitemark home page|
The Kitemark is most frequently used to identify products where safety is paramount, such as crash helmets, smoke alarms and flood defences. In recent years the Kitemark has also been applied to a range of services, such as electrical installations; car servicing and accident repair; and window installations.
Origins of the Kitemark
The Kitemark was originally conceived in 1903 as a symbol to identify products manufactured to meet British Standards' specifications. "Kitemark" came from the kite shape of the graphic device which was drawn up – an uppercase B (for British) on its back, over an S (for standard), enclosed by a V (for verification).
The Kitemark was initially used as a trade mark on tramway rails in 1903 and was instrumental in reducing the number of specifications for rails from 75 to 5. The first full Kitemark scheme – equivalent to today’s Kitemark – came into being in 1926, when the General Electric Company was awarded a Kitemark for light fittings.
For the next few decades, the use of Kitemark was largely limited to technical and engineering applications up until the 1950s when the boom in consumer products led to increased concern about product safety. By the 1960s the Kitemark was being used to identify safe products in areas such as nightwear, domestic furniture, pressure cookers and motorcycle helmets.
With the introduction of quality management systems standards in the 1970s Kitemark schemes were developed in areas such as double glazing and fire safety. As of March 2021, there are more than 450 individual Kitemark schemes covering products as diverse as printed circuit boards and cattle tags, and services as disparate as financial products and flood protection. There are also currently more than 2,500 Kitemark licences, held by, amongst others, Anglian Home Improvements, Chubb Security & Fire Protection, Everest, Hygena, and Tarmac and Valor.
The Kitemark is only available from BSI Group. To obtain Kitemark certification, products and services are assessed by BSI Product Services to ensure that they meet the requirements of the relevant British, European, trade association or international specification or standard. In addition, delivery of the product or service is audited against an accredited quality management system. Once a Kitemark licence is issued, licensees are regularly audited and are subject to surveillance visits to ensure continuing compliance.
The Kitemark is not a legal requirement, but is often used as a point of differentiation in competitive markets and is widely trusted: a 2006 survey demonstrated that the Kitemark is recognized by 82 per cent of the UK population, 88 per cent of whom trust the Kitemark, 93 per cent of whom believe that Kitemark products are safer, and 91 per cent of whom believe the product is of a better quality than similar products without the Kitemark. A 2008 YouGov poll showed that almost half (49 per cent) of UK consumers look for a Kitemark when making a purchase.
In 2008 and 2009 the Kitemark was independently voted a Superbrand in the Top 500 Business Superbrands in the UK.
Examples of Kitemark schemes
- Building Information Modelling (BIM)
- Carbon monoxide detectors
- Customer Service Kitemark
- Domestic Furniture Kitemark
- Fire extinguishers
- Windows and doors
- Inclusive Service Provision BS 18477 / ISO 22458
- Innovation Management Kitemark ISO 56002
- Plugs and sockets
- Motorcycle helmets
- Horse riding helmets
- Flood barriers
- Locks and keys
- Sanitiser Kitemark
- Vehicle Damage Repair Kitemark BS 10125
Misuse of "Kitemark"
The word "Kitemark" is a registered trade mark of the British Standards Institution. BSI, owner of the name and trade mark, takes protection of the mark extremely seriously and action is taken where misuse or infringement occurs.
- McWilliam, Robert C. (2001). BSI: The first hundred years. London: Thanet Press.
- "Where did the BSI Kitemark TM Originate?" (PDF). BSI Group.
- Tran, Mark (27 February 2009). "Rising to the Kitemark challenge". The Guardian. Retrieved 16 June 2016.
- "Standards, Training, Testing, Assessment and Certification". BSI Group.
- "Standards, Training, Testing, Assessment and Certification - BSI Group".
- "Differentiate your business with BSI Kitemark". www.bsigroup.com. BSI Group. Retrieved 25 September 2019.
- GfK NOP Consumer Survey July 2006
- Services, BSI Product. "Kitemark Soars 100 Places in Leading Brands Survey /PR Newswire UK/".
- "Watergate Flood Solutions - Misuse of BSI Kitemark". www.bsigroup.com.