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ANSI Essential Requirements Streamline ANS Development and Provide SDOs with Greater Flexibility

Draft Published and Comments Sought by August 1, 2002

New York, Apr 19, 2002

The culmination of a three-year effort by ANSI's Executive Standards Council (ExSC) to streamline and increase the flexibility of the American National Standards (ANS) development process was achieved today with the release of a draft Essential Requirements document.

In its final form, the Essential Requirements for the Development and Coordination of ANS is intended to replace current ANSI Procedures and distill the core requirements of the ANS process while consolidating and clarifying the related administrative requirements. The Essential Requirements draft document was published in the April 19, 2002 issue of Standards Action, the Institute's public review vehicle; it can be viewed on page 16.

Dr. Mark Hurwitz, ANSI president and chief executive officer, commented, "I would like to thank the ExSC for their perseverance in developing the Essential Requirements. This new draft document reflects the Institute's goal of improving the clarity, usability and flexibility of the ANS process. It also illustrates the manner in which ANSI serves the voluntary consensus standards system in the U.S. by providing and promoting a fair and open process that withstands scrutiny."

During the last several years a number of iterations of an Essential Requirements document have been developed. Casey Grant, ExSC chairman and assistant vice-president of codes and standards at the National Fire Protection Association, said "This initiative has been proceeding for years with significant effort expended by numerous individuals. The draft document represents a refocusing of the essential requirements, which serve as the hallmarks of the ANS process. Revisions to the Essential Requirements will be made on an ongoing basis in an effort to evolve the best possible procedures in the most efficient manner."

In 1999, the ExSC circulated its draft to the National Issues Committee (NIC) and ANSI's Member Councils in order to solicit comments on the direction the project was taking. NIC decided at that time to support the continuation of the project and provided the ExSC with certain guidance. ExSC accepted NIC's recommendation that reference to the three delineated "methods" of standards development, i.e., committee, canvass and organization, be eliminated. Regardless of the method of standards development currently used by an accredited standards developer, no currently accredited standards developer will be deemed to be not in compliance with the Essential Requirements document solely by virtue of the Institute's substitution of that document for the current ANSI Procedures.

In addition, the ExSC believes that there needs to be a balance between total performance-based criteria that provide some degree of flexibility and either prescriptive requirements or some determinative benchmark, so that compliance with the ANS process requirements can be adjudicated in an equitable manner. The ExSC will strive to design performance-based criteria whenever possible.

Amy Marasco, ANSI vice-president and legal counsel stated, "The ExSC's revision of the ANS procedures reflects a willingness to respond to the ever-changing dynamics, needs and objectives of the ANSI accredited standards developer."

ANSI is currently requesting comments to the Essential Requirements draft document by August 1, 2002. Interested parties should include their comments in the text of an email to or via fax at 212.840.2298.

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