Exploring Ideas for New Standards

Cicely Enright

Like questions that should be asked, ideas for standards should be explored.

Ideas for new standards come from “aha” moments — maybe as you unwind with colleagues after a meeting (the origin of more than one useful ASTM International standard) — or from focused roadmapping or gap analysis. (Nonmembers can request new standards activities too: email ASTM International using the form here; nonmembers are also permitted to attend meetings).

As you develop your idea for a new standard, consider these questions:

  • What problem will it solve? What efficiency will it foster? What technology will it aid?
  • How will it help the technician in the lab, the worker on the shop floor, and the designer of a part get their jobs done? 
  • What new products or processes coming into the marketplace would be advanced by a standard?
  • Is there a common language to buy and sell, specify and test, train and certify?

Take possible standards activities to your executive subcommittee to figure out whether any standards already exist and what subcommittee would take on the new project. For broader areas and several new standards, a new subcommittee might be formed.

For technologies or industries new to ASTM International, a new committee can be considered. In this case, contact business development: Christine DeJong (+1.610.832.9736).

A number of ASTM tools streamline standards development, from online collaboration areas to conference call capabilities. The Technical Committees page includes links to many resources, from information for initiating a new standards activity to templates for the standards, to Form and Style for ASTM Standards.

Think about it, discuss it with a committee colleague, bring it to your exec, email ASTM International. If a standard passes your own reality check, and that of whoever you first discuss it with, be sure that the idea gets on an agenda. Be sure that a conversation takes place.


Rapid Balloting and New Committees

If your new standard needs to be developed in a hurry, the Regulations Governing ASTM Technical Committees have you covered.

Section 11.7, “Procedure for Rapid Balloting of New Standards,” helps you meet special needs — such as an emergency situation, regulatory requirement, or other special circumstance. The section provides rules on how to get committee permission for balloting your new document concurrently, at the subcommittee, main committee, and society levels.

Your ballot item will need a rationale for the concurrent voting. You’ll still need to handle negative votes according to regular procedures, but the concurrent balloting will help significantly speed up the process.

If your idea warrants a new technical committee, you can find details of how committees are formed in Section 3 of the regulations. There you’ll find definitions of committee balance, how to form a new committee, elect officers, structure your committee, and adopt bylaws.

You and your fellow stakeholders are not alone in your endeavors; ASTM International staff is there to help at every step of creating a new standard or new committee.

Questions? To develop a new standard, contact your committee’s staff manager. If you think a new committee is warranted, contact Christine DeJong (+1.610.832.9736). Or view the ASTM regulations in their entirety here.


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