How to Remain Objective and Open; Overview of the Consensus Standard Development Process

Building Consensus Methods to Support Environmental Laboratories
Oral Presentation

Prepared by
SampleServe, Inc., 10850 E. Traverse Hwy., Suite 4400, Traverse City, MI, 49684, United States

Contact Information:; 410-862-1759


In 1995 the US Congress enacted the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act (NTTAA) that encourages formal adoption of national consensus standards for American regulatory agencies. OMB Circular A-119 states “if an applicable voluntary consensus standard exists in an area where the agency seeks to regulate, the agency should use this as the basis for a proposed rule rather than starting from scratch or adopting a different approach". Circular A-119 requires that all federal agencies must use consensus standards in their procurement and regulatory activities, except where inconsistent with law or otherwise impractical. Voluntary Consensus Standard bodies (VCSB) are domestic, or international organizations that plan, develop, establish, or coordinate standards using agreed upon standard operating procedures. A VCSB operates according to the following attributes: openness, balance of interest, due process, and an appeals process. This presentation covers these attributes of VCSBs and provides a generalized overview of the process in developing consensus standards.