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Standards FAQ

A white sheet of paper with Frequently asked Questions written on it and a magnifying glass laying on the paper to magnify the words Frequently asked Questions.

This list of Frequency Asked Questions (FAQs) is provided to familiarize educational facilities professionals with the standards setting process, and APPA’s role in codes and standards development.

What is a standard?

According to the American National Standard Institute (ANSI), “a standard is a documented agreement, established by a consensus of subject matter experts and approved by a recognized body, that provides rules, guidelines or characteristics to ensure that materials, products, processes and services are fit for their purpose.” Standards allow industry, government, and other interest stakeholders to agree on certain technical requirements with regard to construction materials; electrical and plumbing systems; heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems and equipment; and fire and life safety, among numerous other areas. In many cases, local and state regulations require compliance with written standards.

How are standards and codes established?

Standards can be established by standards-setting organizations. Additionally, at times national government agencies may request “public comment” on regulations which, in effect, serve as standards for compliance purposes. Within the United States, standards are most commonly established by independent standards-setting organizations whose activities are open to the public.

What is the APPA Standards and Codes Council?

The APPA Standards and Codes Council (ASCC) was established on behalf of educations institutions (higher education, K-12, museums, and libraries, among others) to accomplish the following:

  • Monitor standards and code activities among standards-setting organizations
  • Communicate and educate APPA member institutions on standards compliance issues
  • Influence the development and creation of standards and codes, to ensure that the interests of educational institutions are realized within the standards-setting process

Why is it important for APPA to monitor standards development activities?

By engaging in standards activities, APPA plays an important role in representing the interests of colleges and universities, K-12 school systems and other learning institutions in the standards-setting process. Most standards development activities are “consensus based,” which means that interested stakeholders have a seat at the table when standards are created or modified, to ensure that stakeholders’ interests are met.

What standards development activities and which standards organizations does APPA track through the CATF?

While there are numerous standards-setting bodies and government agencies whose activities impact educational institutions, ASCC presently tracks the following organizations:

  • American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)
  • American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE)
  • Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)
  • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
  • Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)
  • International Code Council (ICC)
  • International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC)
  • International Organization for Standardization (ISO)
  • Illuminating Engineering Society (IES)
  • U.S. Department of Justice/Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
  • National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)
  • National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA)
  • National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC)
  • Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)