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Standards in the House: ANSI Heads to Capitol Hill for U.S. Celebration of World Standards Day Event


06/25/2015

Congressional staffers from both sides of the aisle came together in the Rayburn House Office Building on Wednesday, June 24, for a discussion on how standards and conformance help foster the technological innovations and safety measures that citizens rely upon every day. Over 50 people attended the event, which featured speakers from the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), the National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS), and the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), along with exhibits by a number of standards developing organizations (SDOs) from the U.S. Celebration of World Standards Day (WSD) Planning Committee.

Entitled “Standards in the House: How Standards Protect the Nation’s Citizens,” the event was hosted by Rep. Chris Stewart. Timothy Robison, senior policy advisor to Congressman Stewart, welcomed attendees.

ANSI president and CEO S. Joe Bhatia kicked off the discussion with a presentation on the critical importance of standards throughout the home. He cited a number of examples, from the television to the kitchen to the yard, and concluded with a description of how the U.S. standards and conformity assessment system works.

Many other countries have a top-down system, where a single government agency drives the standards and conformance activities that will govern its products, systems, and services. In the United States, the system is bottom up, which means that it is primarily voluntary, private-sector led, and marketplace driven. As a result, there are multiple SDOs in this country, each working in response to a specific marketplace need. The U.S. government participates actively in the standards-setting process and often relies upon private-sector standards and conformity assessment solutions in its regulations.

Next to speak was Henry Green, president and CEO of NIBS. Mr. Green addressed the importance of building codes and standards for safety and for energy efficiency, not just around the home but throughout the built environment.

Two speakers from CEA followed: Jeff Joseph, senior vice president, communications and strategic relations, and Dave Wilson, vice president, technology and standards. Mr. Joseph and Mr. Wilson shared information about the exciting developments in the consumer electronics space, and spoke to the important role that technical standards play in supporting innovations like ultra-high-definition television, wearable fitness trackers, and more.

Outreach to Capitol Hill is a major focus of the U.S. Celebration of WSD Planning Committee, and many of the SDO members of this group were on-hand to exhibit materials and speak with staffers and representatives about their standards development and conformity assessment activities. Exhibiting organizations included:

  • ANSI
  • ASTM International
  • CEA
  • IAPMO
  • International Code Council (ICC)
  • National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)
  • National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS)
  • SAE International

The U.S. Celebration of WSD is an annual event co-chaired by ANSI and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The event serves to recognize the critical role of various stakeholders across the standards community, including business leaders, industry, academia, and government. The 2015 WSD theme is “Standards – The World’s Common Language,” and the official ceremony will be held at the Fairmont Washington in Washington, D.C., on October 1, 2015. This year, CEA will serve as the event’s administrating organization.

To learn more about WSD or register, visit www.wsd-us.org. See images of the event here

 Homeland Defense and Security Standardization Collaborative