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Pattern approval

Measuring instruments used for trade in Australia must be pattern approved.

Pattern approval is where an impartial body examines the design of an instrument prototype against our national or international standards. This determines the measurement accuracy of the instrument and whether the instrument retains this accuracy under a range of environmental and operating conditions.

We evaluate measuring instruments to check they meet specific Australian requirements. If your instrument passes the pattern approval process, we issue a certificate of approval.

Applying for pattern approval

  1. Read the Approval and Certification Procedures for Measuring Instruments Suitable for Use for Trade and Other Purposes (NMI P 106) [990KB PDF] [151KB DOCX].
  2. Review the pattern approval requirements and the pattern approval guidelines and procedures relevant to your instrument. 
  3. Collect all documents related to your instrument, including:
  • details of the instrument
  • model number
  • capacities
  • operator manuals
  • technical manuals
  • circuit diagrams
  • board layout diagrams
  • parts lists and mechanical overview (exploded views)
  • proposed sealing methods and nameplate layouts
  1. Complete and submit the Pattern approval application form.
  2. When we receive your application, we will confirm receipt and next steps.

Testing and assessing instruments

After we receive your application, we either:

  • test and assess your instrument pattern
  • assess test results from other ISO 17025 accredited facilities with appropriate scope of accreditation 
  • assess test results from countries participating in the International Organization of Legal Metrology (OIML) certification system or other mutual acceptance arrangements

See Pattern approval instrument testing and assessment to find out more.

Pattern Approval Testing Capability

NMI’s Pattern Approval laboratory is accredited by the National Association of Testing Authorities, Australia. Our accreditation is to the ISO/IEC 17025 standard for testing and calibration services in relation to pattern approval and the physical performance evaluation of metering and trade measurement equipment.

Organisations undertaking R &D and product development for electronic equipment can access the Pattern Approval laboratory to provide testing to IEC standards across a range of areas, including:

  • Temperature: IEC 60068
  • Humidity: IEC 60068
  • Immunity to electromagnetic field interference: IEC 6100-4-3 and IEC 6100-4-6
  • Line-borne interference: IEC 6100-4-11 and IEC 6100-4-3
  • Electrostatic discharge: IEC 6100-4-2
  • Electrical surge: IEC 6100-4-5

Pattern Approval Testing

NMI can provide help on technical matters relating to pattern approval of trade or legal measuring instruments. For more information please see the pattern approval instrument testing and assessment webpage. The webpage also provides information on the decision to approve instruments and issue a Certificate of Approval.

Non-Pattern Approval Testing

Non-pattern approval testing may be requested, in which case a measuring instrument test report may be issued. A measuring instrument test report is based on the performance of a module or a complete measuring instrument. It may or may not make reference to an Australian Pattern Approval Requirements document. Such a test generally involves accuracy tests only, performed under the conditions specified by the applicant. Measuring instrument test reports are only made available to the applicant.

A measuring instrument test report does not imply approval for trade or legal use but may be useful for the designer, manufacturer or user to assess the performance of the equipment. For example, a load cell manufacturer may wish to assess the performance of a load cell for engineering, scientific or promotional purposes. Such a test report is similar to that issued by a National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA) accredited laboratory. NATA endorsed reports can be issued for some instruments.

Pattern approval fees

The fees for pattern approval depends on the type of measuring instrument you need approved.

Our Pattern approval fee guide spreadsheet [75KB XLS] provides the base rates for pattern approval.

  • Use the Fee level selection tab to pick your level and class of instrument.
  • Use the Fee estimate tab to see the tests performed and price for your level and class of instrument.

More complex instruments may take more time than the estimate in the guide.

If you have any questions about our fees, email patternapproval [at] or phone 1300 686 664.

Services and Fees

NMI offers the following services in relation to pattern approval and non-pattern approval testing:

  1. advice to industry and government authorities, who are users rather than applicants. On tender specifications or equipment involving trade or legal measurement submitted for tender
  2. advice on test methods and equipment necessary for testing equipment for trade or legal measurement
  3. review of the design and operation of a production pattern, or a proposed pattern. To ensure that there are no obvious conflicts with the Australian Pattern Approval Requirements document or particular problems which may be posed by testing
  4. visits to industry prior to the submission of an application for approval of an instrument for trade or legal measurement
  5. assistance with field trials of instruments for trade or legal measurement
  6. an interpretation or explanation of NMI examination results as they relate to an instrument
  7. the reappraisal of technical decisions arising from an examination where there is a difference in emphasis or design philosophy between the applicant and the Chief Metrologist
  8. training and assistance for potential applicants unfamiliar with national or international instrument test procedures

Fees may be charged to cover the costs of performing any of the services listed above.

Pattern approved instruments

We issue certificates of approval for:

  • length measuring instruments
  • area measuring instruments
  • spirit dispensers
  • automatic tank level gauges
  • alimentary product flowmeters (milk, beer)
  • fuel dispensers for motor vehicles
  • bulk liquid-measuring systems
  • non-automatic weighing instruments
  • automatic weighing instruments
  • milk tanks
  • vehicle tanks
  • liquefied petroleum gas systems
  • compressed natural gas systems
  • multi-dimensional instruments
  • multi-dimensional weighing instruments
  • utility (gas, electricity and water) meters
  • grain protein measuring instruments
  • polarimetric saccharimeters
  • evidential breath analysers
  • digital indicators
  • load cells
  • fuel dispenser control systems
  • fuel dispenser calculator/indicators
  • point of sale (POS) systems

Read more

Contact us

  • Email patternapproval [at]
  • Phone 1300 686 664
  • Write to us at Pattern Approval Section, National Measurement Institute, 36 Bradfield Road, West Lindfield, NSW 2070

See also

Last updated: 23 June 2021

Content ID: 54013