Voluntary Consensus Standards

  • Established in an open environment through collaboration by professionals from both the public and private sectors. This is achieved by cooperation of all parties who have an interest in participating in the development and/or use of the standards.
  • Achieves increased incentive for universal compliance than possible with recommendations, guidelines, or best practices.
  • Meets the qualifications of Accrediting Standards Bodies:

(i.) Openness.
(ii.) Balance of Interest
(iii.) Due Process.
(iv.) Appeals Process
(v.) Consensus

FOCUS is dedicated to establishing “Voluntary Consensus Standards.”  We work diligently to involve the industry and the public to establish standards to protect the public and to promote high quality products.

Examples of Voluntary Consensus Standards

  • Product-Based Standards (examples: car airbags, washing machines, bank cards)
  • Construction Standards for buildings and systems in the built environment (examples: building, electrical, and plumbing codes)
  • Performance-Based Standards (examples: toy safety, greenhouse gas emissions, food safety)
  • Management System Standards (examples: ISO 9000 and ISO 14000 Quality and Environmental Management Systems)
  • Personnel Certification Standards (examples: cyber-risk technicians, food handlers, financial planners crane operators)

Industry Standards

These standards are traditionally established by the private-sector bodies, such as industry associations.

  • Available for use by any person or organization, private or government.
  • Often referred to as “De Facto” or “Ad Hoc” standards.
  • Become standard because the practice is commonly used, not because it has been officially approved by a recognized body or agency.
  • De Facto standards are often determined by the marketplace before accredited standards have been developed.
  • Do not necessarily adhere to full consensus process.

Consortia Standards

Established with limited participation by businesses agreeing to work together.

  • Coordinate standard-related research and development (“R&D”).
  • Often require a significant financial contribution as a condition of participation.
  • Generally done to streamline standard development and reduce costs by eliminating wasteful R&D duplication and settling conflicts of interest prior to formal standardization

Regulatory Standards

Established or adopted by government or regulatory agencies by utilizing a previous standard and making it a requirement.

  • Commonly referred to as “Regulations” by a regulatory agency.
  • Compliance is required for legal operation since carries the force of the law.
  • Often accompanied by enforcement activity.
  • Because a regulation prescribes a practice with which every business must comply, it is usually the minimum floor below which no legal operation should operate.

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