Why Industry Standards?
The IICRC standards director provides an introduction to standards and an overview of the benefits of using standards and engaging in the standard-development process.
Industry standards are established by consensus and provides rules, guidelines or characteristics for activities or their results. Standards are developed by technical experts who work together to meet a common marketplace need.
The term “voluntary consensus standard” describes a document developed through a process where all views and objections are considered and where affected parties (including government, consumers and business) have reached substantial agreement on its contents. This is the type of standard developed by the Institute for Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC).
Why Do Industry Standards Matter?
Behind the scenes, standards make everyday life work. They may establish size or shape or capacity of a product, process or system. They can specify performance of products or personnel.
They also can define terms so that there is no misunderstanding among those using the standard. As examples, standards help ensure that a light bulb fits a socket, that you can take money out of any ATM in the world, and plugs for electrical appliances fit outlets.
Hundreds of thousands of standards work across all industry sectors around the globe. Lots of companies, organizations, trade associations, consumer groups and government agencies are already developing or participating in standards. By being an active part of the process, these groups:
- Lower cost by eliminating redundancy and minimizing errors.
- Build on innovation and research and development of previously standardized technologies.
- Increase customer confidence and loyalty.
- Create and sustain market access and trade.
Are all standards created the same?
No. There are several categories of standards, which include:
- Product-based standards that specify the design or descriptive characteristics of a product.
- Performance-based standards that specify the required performance of a product or service.
- Management system standards that provide a model when setting up and operating a management system like ISO 9000.
- Personnel certification standards that benchmark competence of personnel in different occupations or professions.
- Construction standards that provide guidance for buildings and systems in the built environment.
Should you be involved?
There are multiple avenues to be involved in the IICRC standard-development and review process. These include participating as:
- A voting member of a standard’s consensus body.
- A nonvoting contributor as a chapter committee member.
- A reviewer during the public review period.
Your involvement promotes safer, healthier and more environmentally sound products and services while also increasing confidence in the quality and reliability those of products and services.
What is the bottom line?
Industry Standards are never neutral. They reflect the strengths and innovations of those who develop them. That means non-participation in standardization hands decision-making over to the competition.
So get involved with IICRC standards, and help us guide the future of the cleaning, restoration, hard-surface and inspection industries.
To learn more about standards, go to www.standardslearn.org. To review the list of IICRC standards and their current status, go to IICRC.org. To participate in the IICRC standards-development process, contact Mili Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Greg Brooks has advanced complex ideas, policies and technical issues to the press, the public, elected officials and stakeholder groups for nearly 30 years. He is principal of West Third Group and leads all engagements.