Primer on Code Council standards development: The initial draft
At its core, standards development activities are aimed at producing a document that outlines specific requirements or procedures. So far, this primer series has covered the process leading up to the production of such a document — initially identifying the need and then setting the process in motion, including the appointment of a committee. In this installment, we discuss the process of putting pen to paper.
Over the course of the standards development process, the draft standard will go through several rounds of revisions before it is finally approved. Some of that editing is done internally in the committee as its members work to develop the best way to express a requirement or as they hash out what is the minimum accepted practice. Additional editing is done based on the comments received from the public (more on public comments in future installments).
Once the standards development committee has been seated, work begins on preparing an initial draft of the standard. For existing standards that initial draft typically starts with the prior edition. For new standards, the committee or the secretariat often starts from scratch — although they may look to other documents (guidelines, research papers, potential reference standards, case studies, etc.) for guidance.
Depending on the scope of the standard, workgroups may be established to develop content on specific aspects of the standard. These workgroups can be formed just for the initial draft or may be used throughout the standards development process.
Once the committee is satisfied with the initial draft it is put out for public comment. The initial draft is posted on the International Code Council’s webpage and the public comment period is open for at least 30 days. Comments on the initial draft are received in legislative format (strike through and underlines indicating recommended deletions or additions, respectively). Once the comment period closes, the public input is compiled and presented to the committee.
The committee considers each comment and determines how to address it. Once a path forward is determined, the comment submitter is notified and has 30 days to respond, either accepting the disposition, providing additional information requested by the committee or further making the case in favor of their comment. Comments received during this 30-day period may be dealt with in the next draft.
Once comments on the initial draft are addressed, the committee prepares the first draft. The process for the release of the first draft for public comment will be covered next time.