The International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO®) is proud to have submitted comments, participated in public hearings, and worked with the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) throughout the process of updating Circular A-119: Federal Participation in the Development and Use of Voluntary Consensus Standards and in Conformity Assessment Activities. The revised Circular can be found here.
Not all code and standard bodies adhere to the strict open consensus process, but as an ANSI Audited Designator IAPMO’s Uniform Codes exceed the consensus and balance requirements set by OMB throughout the entire code development process — from inception to final vote.
The policies of Circular A-119 are intended to encourage federal agencies to benefit from the expertise of the private sector, promote federal agency participation in standards bodies to support the creation of standards that are useable by federal agencies, and minimize reliance on government-unique standards where an existing standard would meet the federal government’s objective. Circular A-119 was issued in 1993 and last revised in 1998.
Many voluntary consensus standards are appropriate or adaptable for the government’s purposes. The use of such standards, whenever practicable and appropriate, is intended to achieve the following goals:
a. Eliminate the cost to the government of developing its own standards and decrease the cost of goods procured and the burden of complying with agency regulation.
b. Provide incentives and opportunities to establish standards that serve national needs.
c. Encourage long-term growth for U.S. enterprises and promote efficiency and economic competition through harmonization of standards.
d. Further the policy of reliance upon the private sector to supply government needs for goods and services.
IAPMO and other industry partners recommended that OMB expand the Circular’s requirements for openness, balance, due process, and an independent appeals process. In the previous Circular, these terms had neither an explanation nor definition.
“These revisions are a victory for all who follow and adhere to the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) process, particularly those who have obtained the ANSI Audited Designator Status,” said Dain Hansen, Senior Vice President of Government Relations at The IAPMO Group. “The biggest beneficiary, however, is the American people, who will be further protected from substandard products and processes infiltrating the federal government as it works to promote the general welfare.”