Standards development process

For NFPA Standards reporting in the Fall 2013 and subsequent revision cycles

Establishing the Consensus Body
In the NFPA standards development process, NFPA Technical Committees and Panels serve as the principal consensus bodies responsible for developing and updating all NFPA codes and standards. Committees and Panels are appointed by the Standards Council and typically consist of no more than thirty voting members representing a balance of interests. NFPA membership is not required in order to participate on an NFPA Technical Committee, and appointment is based on such factors as technical expertise, professional standing, commitment to public safety, and the ability to bring to the table the point of view of a category of interested people or groups. Each Technical Committee is constituted so as to contain a balance of affected interests, with no more than one-third of the Committee from the same interest category. The Committee must reach a consensus in order to take action on an item.

The standards development process
One of the most notable features about NFPA’s standards development process is that it is a full, open, consensus-based process. “Full consensus” means that anybody can participate and expect fair and equal treatment. The NFPA process encourages public participation in the development of its codes and standards. All NFPA codes and standards (also referred to here as NFPA “Standards”) are revised and updated every three to five years in revision cycles that begin twice each year and that normally take approximately two years to complete. Each revision cycle proceeds according to a published schedule that includes final dates for all major events in the process.

An NFPA Standard is open for public input as soon as the current edition is published.

The process contains four basic steps leading to the issuance of an NFPA Standard (in the Fall 2013 or subsequent revision cycle):


Step 1: Input Stage

  • Input accepted from the public or other committees for consideration to develop the First Draft
  • Committee holds First Draft Meeting to revise Standard (23 weeks)
    Committee(s) with Correlating Committee (10 weeks)
  • Committee ballots on First Draft (12 weeks)
    Committee(s) with Correlating Committee (11 weeks)
  • Correlating Committee First Draft Meeting (9 weeks)
  • Correlating Committee ballots on First Draft (5 weeks)
  • First Draft Report posted

Read about the Input Stage 

Step 2: Comment Stage

  • Public Comments accepted on First Draft (10 weeks)
  • If Standard does not receive Public Comments and the Committee does not wish to further revise the Standard, the Standard becomes a Consent Standard and is sent directly to the Standards Council for issuance (see Step 4)
  • Committee holds Second Draft Meeting (21 weeks)
    Committee(s) with Correlating Committee (7 weeks)
  • Committee ballots on Second Draft (11 weeks)
    Committee(s) with Correlating Committee (10 weeks)
  • Correlating Committee Second Draft Meeting (9 weeks)
  • Correlating Committee ballots on Second Draft (8 weeks)
  • Second Draft Report posted

Read about the Comment Stage
 

Step 3: NFPA Technical Meeting (Tech Session)

  • Notice of Intent to Make a Motion (NITMAM) accepted (5 weeks)
  • NITMAMs are reviewed and valid motions are certified for presentation at the NFPA Technical Meeting
  • Consent Standard bypasses NFPA Technical Meeting and proceeds directly to the Standards Council for issuance
  • NFPA membership meets each June at the NFPA Technical Meeting and acts on Standards with "Certified Amending Motions" (certified NITMAMs)
  • Committee(s) and Panel(s) vote on any successful amendments to the Technical Committee Reports made by the NFPA membership at the NFPA Technical Meeting

Read about the NFPA Technical Meeting 


Step 4: Council Appeals and Issuance of Standard

  • Notification of intent to file an appeal to the Standards Council on Association action must be filed within 20 days of the NFPA Technical Meeting
  • Standards Council decides, based on all evidence, whether or not to issue the Standard or to take other action
Read about Council Appeals and Issuance of Standard

 

Click on the image below to learn about the NFPA standards development process
Notes:
  1. Time periods are approximate; refer to published schedules for actual dates.

  2. It takes approximately 101 weeks for Annual revision cycle documents receiving certified amending motions.

  3. It takes approximately 141 weeks for Fall revision cycle documents receiving certified amending motions.

 

Additional information about the standards development process:


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