Primer on Code Council standards development: Starting a new standard
Standards are generally developed to support consistency in a product, process or outcome. The International Code Council’s portfolio of standards address important aspects of the built environment — from the design of storm shelters to bleacher safety and rain water collection. The Code Council also partners with other organizations to develop standards consistent with the Code Council mission, including RESNET and the Home Innovation Research Center. The list of standards developed by the Code Council can be found here. But how are these standards born?
At the Code Council, the decision process on starting a new standards activity is outlined in Council Policy 12 (CP 12). Recommendations to develop new standards can come through either the Codes and Standards Council or the ICC Board of Directors. However, the board makes the final decision on whether to proceed. Per CP 12, the decision should be based on the following factors:
- The lack of regulatory documents necessary to govern a given subject;
- Requests for standard development;
- Review of existing standards on similar subjects;
- Willingness of existing standards developers to work with the Code Council in the joint development of an ICC standard or to co-brand an existing standard;
- Review of existing standards for compatibility with the International Codes; and compliance with CP 28 Code Development; and
- Review of timeliness, update frequency, responsiveness, adequacy of coverage and consensus nature of an existing standard.
Once the board determines if a standard should be developed, a formal title, purpose and scope are developed to set the parameters of what the standard will cover. The title, purpose and scope are then typically sent to the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) through its Project Initiation Notification System (PINS). The submitted PINS information is then published in ANSI Standards Action to give public notice and allow comment.
Any interested party can submit comments or request information from the standards development organization on the project within 30 days of the PINS publication. The Code Council will also publish information on the initiation of a new standard (either in a Building Safety Journal standards update, on social media or via an ICC Pulse notice).
Once the window for comments on the PINS is closed and any comments received are addressed, the solicitation of members can proceed. This will be the subject of the next column. In the meantime, additional information on the standards development process is available from the Code Council’s Standard Development Process Page.