Changing Regulatory Climates: A Little Help
Export Alert! is an automated e-mail notification service that helps Canadian
exporters keep abreast of regulatory changes in global markets.
This pilot service, the only alert service of its kind in Canada,
is provided free of charge by the Standards Council of Canada
with the support of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International
Trade. Export Alert! provides users with advance warning when
foreign regulators are changing the requirements that apply to
their products. A service of the Standards Councils WTO/NAFTA
Enquiry Point, Export Alert! provides automatic notification of
proposed regulatory changes in users fields of interest, access
to the full text of changes, and the opportunity to comment on
The U.S. Enquiry Point for the WTO is the National Center for Standards and Certification
Information. NCSCI maintains a current database of all notifications
and prepares specialized reports, including listings of notifications
by country, product or G/TBT/Notification Number. The center also
maintains a WTO hotline (301/975-4041). Contact: NCSCI, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Bldg. 820, Room
164, Gaithersburg, MD 20899 (301/975-4040; fax: 301/926-1559).
HVACR Research for the 21st Century
The Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Technology Institute (ARTI)
is seeking experts to serve on subcommittees within the industry-government
research collaboration HVACR Research for the 21st Century (21-CR)
Program. Since early 1998, more than 100 volunteers from industry,
government, and academia have participated in this research program
designed to find new ways of improving equipment efficiency and
indoor air quality. Approximately one-third of the program members
will be rotating off subcommittees in mid-2000 and new volunteers
are sought for the five subcommittees on alternative equipment,
equipment energy efficiency, systems integration, indoor environmental
quality, and working fluids. Submit a Self Nomination Form, or contact Glenn C. Hourahan, ARTI Vice President, 4301 North Fairfax Dr., Ste. 425, Arlington,
VA 22203 (703/524-8800; fax: 703/522-2349).
Copies of The Handbook of Standardization: A Guide to Understanding Todays Global Standards Development
Systems is available from ASTM free of charge. This eight-page overview
of why and how standards are developed around the world is a valuable
resource for anyone who needs to understand the basics of standardization.
To receive the booklet, contact: Josephine Felizzi, ASTM.
In 1998, the value of merchandise traded between the United States
and Japan totaled $180 billion. The inability to show that measurements
made on either side of the Pacific Ocean are comparable sometimes
leads to duplicative testing, adding to the cost of imported goods.
To help remedy the situation, Japans Agency of Industrial Science
and Technology and the U.S. National Institute of Standards and
Technology has agreed to undertake joint efforts to demonstrate
the equivalence of measurement capabilities in both organizations.
Contact Magdalena Navarro, Office of International and Academic Affairs (301/975-2130).
In another development, measurement-related questions and disputes,
including those that can hinder global commerce, soon may be resolved
with the click of a computer mouse thanks to a new international
database of measurement comparisons unveiled by NIST and the International
Bureau of Weights and Measures in Sévres, France. Accessible at
www.bipm.fr or at icdb.nist.gov, the International Comparisons Database will enable companies,
regulators, and others to evaluate the equivalence of calibrations
and other measurement services performed by national metrology
institutes in nearly all parts of the globe.
Better Fasteners, Better Law
Late last year, the amended Fastener Quality Act went into effect,
providing buyers and end users of high-strength threaded metal
fasteners a mechanism to report for prosecution the sale of mismarked
fasteners. All fasteners produced must now comply with the law
if they meet the definition of a fastener, as defined by the law.
This replaces an earlier act passed in 1990 that imposed confusing
and outdated regulations on an industry that had already invested
heavily in technology and advanced quality control practices.
The amended Fastener Act shifts the focus of the law from regulating
the use of advanced production technology to the notification,
investigation and prosecution of fraud. The law creates a hotline
(number to be announced) to report fraud for follow-up by the
government. Contact: Industrial Fasteners Institute (216/241-1482; fax: 216/241-5901).
Good News for Diversity in Roll Call of Engineers
The National Engineers Week reports that as many girls as boys participated in this years
National Engineers Week Future City Competition, a nonprofit educational
program that each year introduces thousands of American middle
school students to the role of engineering in society. The boy-girl
parity of this years competition contrasts starkly with the gender
ratio of the program when it began only eight years ago with far
more boys than girls participating.
The Southern Africa Stainless Steel Development Association (Sassda) is accepting nominations for its Stainless Steel Awards. Held
every two years, the awards acknowledge innovation and excellence
in 12 categories and are open internationally to individuals and
companies whose activities include the production, conversion,
distribution, use, or recommendation of stainless steel. Entries
will be accepted until July 21 with the presentation scheduled
for Oct. 20. Contact: Beverley Smith, Sassda (27 11 803 5610; fax: 27 11 803 2011).
ASTM is a cooperating organization for the Second Forensic Engineering
Congress, Forensics 2000, which will be held May 21-23 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Topics
include: How to Become an Effective Expert, The Kansas City Hyatt
Collapse Retrospective, Times Square Scaffold Collapse, Collapse
of the Chicago Post Office During Steel Erection, Trunk Sewer
Collapse, Building Façade Failures, Foundation Failures, Legal
Issues and Testimony, Temporary Structures and Temporary Support,
and Bridge Failure and Performance. Contact: ASCE (800/548-2723).
Testing and Certifying Agreement
Testing laboratories that also certify products may benefit from
a new joint A2LA-ANSI program. Under the agreement recently signed
by the two not-for-profit organizations, A2LA, the American Association
for Laboratory Accreditation, will provide assessment services
in support of the product certifiers accreditation program conducted
by ANSI, the American National Standards Institute. Now, when
a testing-certifying firm requests it, A2LA will perform a single
assessment that covers both the testing (Guide 25) and certifying
(Guide 65) standards of competence. For more information, contact
Roxanne Robinson, A2LA (301/644-3208) or Rick James, ANSI (301/469-3362).
New Bridge Criteria
The Society for the Advancement of Material and Processing Engineering announces that entrants in the Super Light-Weight Composite Bridge
Building Contest will be given a new challenge during SAMPE 2000,
May 21-25 in Long Beach, Calif. While prizes will still be awarded
for designs with the highest test load ratings, the true winner
will be the team that comes closest to predicting the failure
load for its design. Deadline for entry forms is March 25. Contact:
SAMPE (626/331-0616, ext. 616). //