Product Announcement from ASTM International
ASTM standards are voluntary in the sense that their use is not mandated by ASTM. However, government regulators often give voluntary standards the force of law by citing them in laws, regulations and codes. In the United States, the relationship between private-sector standards developers and the public sector has been strengthened with the 1995 passage of the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act (Public Law 104-113). The law requires government agencies to use privately developed standards whenever it is at all possible, saving taxpayers millions of dollars in formerly duplicative standards development efforts.
Standards development work begins when members of an ASTM technical committee identify a need or other interested parties approach the committee. Task group members prepare a draft standard or work item, which is reviewed by its parent subcommittee through an electronic balloting system. After the subcommittee approves the document, it is submitted concurrently to the main committee and the entire membership of ASTM.
All negative votes cast during the balloting process, which must include a written explanation of the voters' objections, must be fully considered before the document can be submitted to the next level in the process. Final approval of a standard depends on concurrence by the ASTM Standing Committee on Standards that proper procedures were followed and due process was achieved.
From its inception, ASTM's method of developing standards has been based on consensus without borders. ASTM's process ensures that interested individuals and organizations representing academia, industry, product users and governments alike all have an equal vote in determining a standard's content. Participants are welcome from anywhere on the globe. Further, ASTM's high quality standards are responsive and relevant to the needs of the global marketplace. More than 40 percent of ASTM's standards are sold outside the United States.