The Overseas Moving Standard

BS 8564

The Overseas Moving Standard

BS 8564 details the processes that have to be followed by removal companies providing domestic, commercial or office relocations overseas.


BS 8564, the Overseas Moving quality standard, is closely related to BS EN 12522, the original “domestic removals” standard and shares some elements with BS 8522 (commercial moving) and BS EN 14873, the “storage standard”. These standards have been created to provide the moving industry with recognised, specific and measurable benchmarks that are directly relevant to its activities, unlike more generic quality standards such as ISO 9001. Accordingly, BS 8564 Certification Is one option for membership to the BAR Overseas Group.


Because of the synergies with other standards, companies who are already certificated to one of them should find it relatively straightforward to add the requirements of BS 8564 into their existing Quality Management System.

Some elements are mandatory, i.e. the standard says that certain measures “shall” be carried out and sometimes the exact process and required results are specified. Prior to assessment, it is most important to ensure that all such requirements are being met, as any shortcoming against those clauses will result in “nonconformities” which will delay certification. In other areas, the standard is less rigid, merely giving recommendations for best practice. When assessing a company’s performance against those, an auditor can show greater flexibility and may report only “suggestions for improvement” rather than nonconformities. Either way, all the audit findings will be followed up during the next year’s visit to ensure that corrective action has been taken and that it has been effective.

The standard has been written by movers for movers throughout and there should not be anything that will cause major difficulty for any well-run moving company. On the contrary, virtually everybody who has undertaken any of the removals standards to date has said that it was not as difficult as expected.


BS 8564 covers the three phases of an overseas removal. Firstly the initial contact, survey and quotation, then the carrying out phase and lastly the follow-up including quality measurement and the handling of any claims or complaints.

In developing the standard input was gathered from clients and various industry bodies, all of whom made an invaluable contribution to the work of the development committee. Their involvement ensured that the standard would be valued and meaningful in the marketplace. As with BS 8522 (the commercial moving standard), in time we expect that the overseas moving standard will become a regular requirement for major tenders in both the public and private sectors.

The standard covers the following areas:

  • Initial contact and preliminary information (inquiries, surveys, quotations)
  • Personnel – their professionalism, performance and presentation
  • Competence of operational personnel (experience, training)
  • Vehicles (suitability, condition and maintenance)
  • Packing materials (suitability and adequacy of range and stocks)
  • Key documents – specific contents of quotation and job sheet
  • Subcontracting (control of subcontractors and ensuring consistent performance and compliance with the standard throughout a move)
  • Liability / provision of insurance
  • Claims and compensation for loss or damage
  • Equipment (adequacy, training of operatives)
  • Health & Safety
  • Security
  • Monitoring the service (customer satisfaction analysis and follow-up)
  • Complaint and feedback handling
  • Corrective action
  • Quality Policy contents, communication and review
  • Quality Manual – to contain all the operational procedures and certain other prescribed procedures including recruitment, training, maintenance of equipment, incident handling, quality control
  • Document control

How to get the standard

Your first consideration should be a “Gap-Analysis”. This means that you acquire a copy of the standard, study every section and detail and identify areas where there is work to be done to comply with the standard. You then create an action plan involving a logical sequence of activities including setting timescales for completion, responsibilities within your organisation and identifying resources needed – summarised as “What, When, Who and How”.

You would normally then run with the standard for a period and carry out a full internal audit to check everything is in place and you are working effectively to the standard within your business.

Once you feel you are ready for assessment you can call QSS in to conduct your initial assessment audit. We will spend, depending on the complexity of your business, part of a day auditing your business against the standard and your documented procedures. This may or may not reveal nonconformities that will have to be addressed and corrected (as applicable) before you are deemed as compliant. Once you are deemed as being compliant QSS will issue a certificate providing third-party confirmation that you meet the requirements of BS 8564. After initial certification, QSS would re-audit you annually to confirm you continue to meet the requirements of the standard.


As mentioned above you need to first purchase a copy of the standard and then budget costs for implementing it within your business prior to initial assessment. You may wish to do this yourselves or you may engage an appropriately qualified and experienced independent consultant who can quote to assist you through the preparation process.

QSS can then, on request, complete your initial assessment and set up an annual surveillance cycle.

Please contact us for costs.

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