Standards Development in ASTM

    A full consensus standard is developed by a cross-section of stakeholders with an interest in its use. When there is a need for new standards, requests can come from trade associations, government agencies, and professional societies that do not create their own standards; or manufacturers, consumer groups, and even individuals. The request is presented to an ASTM technical committee and the process of standards development begins.

    The ASTM process transcends what entities could do individually because it bridges gaps of technology, combines resources and overcomes lines of competition. The result is a product of the highest credibility, integrity, and marketplace acceptance.

    Understanding the hierarchy within ASTM is integral to appreciating the value of the ASTM standards development and approval process. The hierarchy comprises three basic levels: main committees, subcommittees, and task groups. Task groups perform most of the “leg-work” and research that forms the basis of draft standards. Once the group completes its work, it forwards these drafts through the hierarchy for review and voting. The standard must gain subcommittee, main committee, and Society approval before becoming an official ASTM International standard.

    At each level, voting requirements are enforced to ensure fairness. When a draft standard has been reviewed and accepted at all levels, the draft becomes an ASTM standard and is published. Depending upon the need for the standard, drafting and approval can occur in a few months, a year, or more.

    Fairness in ASTM standards development is ensured through: 1) a required balance of interest between producers, users, and general interest members and 2) a voting process that ensures due process.

    • ASTM Regulations - The “Regulations Governing ASTM Technical Committees” is a 14-page handbook that contains the rules governing how ASTM technical committees operate and create standards. These regulations provide instructions on assigning membership, conducting a committee meeting, ASTM balloting procedures and the committee review process for both new and existing standards. These regulations are the foundation of the ASTM standards creation process and are used to resolve any committee disputes or appeals.
    • ASTM Form and Style Manual - is a basic textbook for anyone writing an ASTM standard. This official guideline provides templates and sectional descriptions for each of the six different types of ASTM standards. There are also sections devoted to special instructions for legal aspects in standards, the use of SI Units, and a style manual detailing common abbreviations and symbols, capitalization and other formatting items. This manual helps to promote a uniform format of ASTM International standards that enables readers to find information quickly and easily.
    • Standards Writing 101 - View this PDF to learn how and why a new standard is written.
    • ASTM Draft Standard Templates - Pre-formatted MS Word templates help speed the process of developing an ASTM standard.
    • Precision and Bias Statements - See this PDF to find out how statistics are used in the real world.
    • ASTM Technical Committees - View a complete list of the 140+ different ASTM technical committees.
    • ASTM Committee-Sponsored Student Awards