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    ASTM Technical Committee Officer Handbook

    March 2020

    ASTM International

    100 Barr Harbor Drive

    West Conshohocken, PA 19428-2959

    Standards for Materials, Products, Systems, and Services



    Introduction to ASTM



    Board of Directors

    Standing Committees

    Technical Committees

    Headquarters Assistance

    Technical Committee Operations Division

    Publications, Marketing, and Information Technology Division

    Certification, Training, and Proficiency Testing

    ASTM Products and Services

    New Activities

    Interlaboratory Studies Program (ILS)

    Symposia and Workshops


    Technical and Professional Training

    Proficiency Testing

    Accelerating Standards development

    ASTM Awards Program

    Society Awards

    Committee Awards

    Award Supplement program


    Planning Meetings

    Conducting Meetings

    Administrative Policy


    Distribution Policies

    Membership Promotion & Publicity

    Membership Promotion


    ASTM Web Page

    Committee Home Pages

    Standards Development tools

    Committee Chair and Vice Chair

    Chair's Duties

    Role of the Vice Chair

    Chairing Executive and Main Committee Meetings

    Overseeing Standards Development

    Committee Administration

    Recording Secretary

    Duties at a Meeting


    Membership Secretary

    Society Membership

    Committee Membership

    Administrative Procedure

    Report to Executive and Main

    Subcommittee Chair

    Subcommittee Organization

    Subcommittee Membership

    Membership Recruitment

    Standards Editing and Publication

    Task Group Chair


    Developing a Draft Standard

    Standards Development Tool

    References and forms

    Standards Development

    Life Cycle of a Standard

    Form & Style Manual

    Preparing Revisions for Ballot

    Maintenance of Standards

    The Ballotting Process

    Basic Principles

    Work Item Registration

    Subcommittee Ballot

    Submitting Items to Main Committee Ballot and Society Review

    Main Committee Ballot and Society Review of Ballot Items

    Committee on Standards Review

    Handling of Negative Votes


    Consideration of Negative Votes

    Documenting Negative Votes

    Disposition of Negative Votes

    Appeal Mechanisms

    Committee on Standards

    Avoiding COS Negatives



    The ASTM International Technical Committee Officer Handbook was prepared to help committee officers better understand their duties and responsibilities and how to apply the resources available to accomplish this objective. This handbook is not intended as an exhaustive reference on all aspects of ASTM policies and procedures; it summarizes and highlights the basic information committee officers should know and makes reference to other applicable documents. The handbook should be complemented by the Regulations Governing ASTM Technical Committees (Regulations), Form & Style for ASTM Standards, the ASTM Manual for Development and Implementation of Strategic Plans, and other materials.

    This handbook is divided into sections addressing segments of the organizational structure of ASTM and the duties of individual officers: Committee, Subcommittee, and Task Group Chair; Committee Secretary and Membership Secretary (Subcommittee secretaries are directed to the section on Subcommittee Chair; task group secretaries are directed to the Task Group Chair section). Each officer’s section covers the topics that are most directly related to that office. As the duties of the various officers overlap somewhat, some internal referencing was needed to minimize redundancy. For example, guidelines for writing minutes are included in the Committee Secretary section. The discussion of subcommittee minutes instructs subcommittee chair to refer to the Committee Secretary section for details. The manual ends with sections discussing the standards development process, the balloting process, and the handling of negative votes.

    All ASTM officers should be familiar with the section titled Introduction to ASTM. This section should be read before the sections pertaining to the individual officers. We recommend that you peruse all the sections to understand how other officers’ duties relate to your own. The sub-section on Headquarters Assistance briefly outlines the organization of and the service and materials provided by Headquarters.

    This edition of the handbook has been modified to reflect new information pertaining to the Regulations, web-based participation tools, staff-provided services, new product offerings, accelerated standards, and information about conducting efficient meetings.

    The ASTM staff developed this handbook for your convenience and is interested in your reactions to it. This handbook has evolved as a supplement to the Officers Training Workshop. For details about the next Officers Training Workshop, contact your staff manager. Please provide any comments on this handbook to:

    Jimmy Farrell
    Manager, TCO Division

    Introduction to ASTM


    In the late 19th century, failures in railroad equipment jeopardized public safety and posed the threat of bringing commerce to a standstill. Recognizing the need for a standardized method of testing the steel used to manufacture railroad components, a group of 20 engineers and professors met on June 16, 1898 and formed the American Section of the International Association for Testing Materials, the forerunner of ASTM International.


    Organized a century ago, ASTM is one of the world’s largest standards developing organizations. An independent, not-for-profit organization, ASTM serves as a forum for producers, users, consumers, and those having a general interest (representatives of government and academia) to meet on common ground and develop voluntary, consensus standards.

    From the work of over 140 standards-writing technical committees, ASTM publishes standard test methods, specifications, practices, guides, classifications, and terminologies. ASTM’s standards development activities encompass metals, paints, plastics, textiles, petroleum, construction, energy, the environment, consumer products, medical services and devices, electronics, and many other areas. With more than 30,000 volunteer members representing 150 countries, ASTM publishes more than 12,000 standards each year in the 85 volumes of the Annual Book of ASTM Standards and on-line products. These standards and related information are distributed and used worldwide.

    The basic organization of ASTM is illustrated in FIGURE 1.

    Figure 1ASTM Organizational Structure

    Board of Directors

    The governing body of ASTM is the Board of Directors, whose members are elected by vote of the entire membership via ballot. The 25-member Board meets twice a year at ASTM Headquarters and in various international locations.

    Standing Committees

    The Board has empowered special standing committees to perform important functions for the Society as a whole.

    The Committee on Technical Committee Operations (COTCO) develops and maintains the Regulations Governing ASTM Technical Committees and acts upon recommended changes to the Regulations. COTCO is responsible for the interpretation and enforcement of these regulations, excluding actions on standards. The Committee acts to resolve jurisdictional disputes with respect to scopes of ASTM technical committees. COTCO develops and recommends means for achieving the most efficient operation of the technical committees as related to their scope, structure, development, and planning.

    The Committee on Standards (COS) develops, maintains, and interprets the Form & Style for ASTM Standards and reviews all requests from technical committees for exceptions to this document. COS is responsible for the review and approval of all technical committee recommendations for actions on standards. COS verifies that the procedural requirements of the Society’s regulations and its criteria for due process have been satisfied. The Committee acts to resolve jurisdictional disputes with respect to standards.

    The Committee on Publications (COP) advises the Board of Directors on the formulation of publications policy. COP is responsible for the publications program of the Society with the exception of acceptance criteria for the publication of ASTM standards. The Committee may, with the concurrence of the Board of Directors, initiate, continue, expand, or terminate periodicals, journals, series, or other continuing publications with the exception of the Annual Book of ASTM Standards.

    The Committee on Certification Programs (CCP) advises the SEI Board of Directors on the formulation of certification program policy and approves/dissolves ASTM/SEI certification programs.

    All standing committees report to the Board of Directors.

    Technical Committees

    Within the formal structure of the Society, the technical committees exist as semiautonomous groups. The Board is responsible for approving the committees’ titles and scopes. Under the purview of the approved scope, the committees are organized into subcommittees and task groups. Each committee develops its own bylaws, which are subject to approval by COTCO. Committees elect their main committee officers in accordance with the nomination and election procedures outlined in the Regulations. Committees conduct subcommittee and main committee/Society review ballots on standards actions and are subject to a procedural review by the Committee on Standards before final approval and publication by ASTM.

    Technical subcommittees address specific subjects within the committee scope. Subcommittees may create sections and task groups. The executive subcommittee provides leadership and direction to the main committee. The composition of each executive committee is defined within the respective committee bylaws. Administrative subcommittees provide assistance to the technical subcommittees and may be established in areas such as editorial review of standards, terminology, government interface, international activities, strategic planning, symposia, awards, and liaison with other technical committees and outside organizations.

    Membership in technical committees is open to all interested individuals and organizations. Within technical committees, membership is classified by voting interest (company or organization) and must be balanced as defined within the ASTM Regulations. Technical committees usually meet twice a year, either independently or at a committee week, in cities throughout the United States and abroad. Subcommittee and committee members are obliged to respond to ballots on standards actions. Each technical committee is assigned a staff manager who is responsible for the management functions and coordination of administrative services.

    Headquarters Assistance

    ASTM staff exists to serve the needs of the Society and is ready to help ASTM committee officers and members at any time.

    Staff at Headquarters

    Your staff manager is the best contact for initial inquiries and assistance, but as you become better acquainted with ASTM operations, you should visit the ASTM website for the contact information of the staff responsible for the areas listed below.

    The following list indicates the appropriate staff member to contact for specific assistance. The list is organized by division.

    Technical Committee Operations Division

    Staff Manager: strategic matters concerning the technical committee, headquarters resources, Society policy, new activities, and other administrative issues

    Administrative Assistant: status of standards and ballots, requests for meeting schedules, and virtual meeting support

    Symposia Manager: planning and development of symposia and workshops

    Interlaboratory Studies Director: registration and administration of interlaboratory studies being conducted by technical committees, and assist with composition of research report and precision and bias statements

    Publications, Marketing, and Information Technology Division

    Standards Editor: information on the volume of the Annual Book of ASTM Standards in which your committee’s standards are published, regarding editorial changes, publication status, and Form & Style questions

    Managing Editor, Books and Journals: develops publication ideas for book publication and oversees the development and administrative functions for the journals and STPs

    Director of Corporate Communications: production and distribution of news releases, programs, trade show booth materials, and general publicity and promotion for the Society

    Editor-in-Chief – Standardization News: submission of magazine articles, news items, and “Letters to the Editor”

    Customer Service: copies of research reports, archives, and general questions on standards

    Certification, Training, and Proficiency Testing

    Technical and Professional Training Director: programs designed to provide courses of continuing education in performance, use and application of ASTM standards and related information, as well as managing personnel certificate programs

    Proficiency Testing Programs Director: programs designed to provide participating laboratories with a statistical quality assurance tool enabling laboratories to compare their performance in the use of ASTM methods against other laboratories worldwide

    Certification, Vice President: researches, evaluates, and initiates new and existing products and personnel certification programs as well as declaration of conformity programs

    ASTM Products and Services

    New Activities

    The growth of new and existing ASTM activities is essential for the organization to remain healthy and relevant. Management of new activities can be time consuming because attention to detail and ample communication with industry leaders is critical. It is important that the committee devote significant effort to identify opportunities and effectively manage the development of new activities to ensure that ASTM meets the evolving needs of industry.

    Organizing a New Activity

    The overall goal in organizing new activities is to ensure that the activity meets the needs of the particular industry. It is important to note that the need may not only involve standards development. Related products and services such as manuals, training courses, and non-traditional standards-related products (smart standards, search engines, etc.) should also be considered. Effectively matching the capabilities and expertise of ASTM to the identified need(s) is important; thorough exploration of all potential areas of ASTM relevance is critical.

    Whether a request comes from within an existing ASTM technical committee or an outside source, the same process should be followed in organizing the activity. This process includes a minimum of five phases, depending upon the breadth of the scope and the complexity of the activity, and should be applied equally to new main committees, subcommittees, and task groups.

    Not all requests for new activities ultimately reach fruition. As the committee proceeds through the organizational process, they may determine that the interest (from industry) is insufficient, another SDO may already have a standard that satisfies the particular need, or the industry may not be ready for a consensus standards program. ASTM will only organize an activity when the conditions (internal and external) are favorable. The committee, in consultation with the staff manager, should apply the same good judgment to new activity organization on a macro scale (new main or subcommittees) as they do to new activity on a micro scale (new task groups within existing committees).

    Assistance in planning and organizing new activities is available from your staff manager and the Vice President, Global Business Development and Innovation Strategy.

    Interlaboratory Studies Program (ILS)

    Precision and bias statements that accurately report the repeatability and reproducibility of tests play a crucial role in the continued success of ASTM's test methods. Recognizing that generating valid data is essential to creating precision and bias statements, ASTM has made a significant commitment to help its technical committees do this important work by establishing an Interlaboratory Studies Program.

    The ILS program aids in the development of useful and relevant precision and bias statements in ASTM International test methods. It achieves this by providing staff support and financial resources to technical committees by offering the following value-added administrative services: assisting with the identification of participating laboratories; overseeing the generation and distribution of samples; collecting data; and generating precision and bias statements and research reports.

    By establishing the ILS program, ASTM is acknowledging the importance of statistically valid data to the technical underpinnings of ASTM test methods. The ILS program facilitates the continued development of high-quality precision and bias statements, ultimately leading to even greater value in the test methods used so heavily by major industries around the world.

    Contact for assistance.

    To register an ILS program with ASTM, please use the following link

    For more information on the Interlaboratory Study Program, you can visit our website:

    Symposia and Workshops

    A committee, subcommittee, or task group may elect to sponsor a symposium or workshop on a particular area of interest. Symposia and workshops provide an opportunity for members and non-members to present their research findings and exchange information. Often the discussion identifies critical areas facing today’s emerging technologies and forms the technical basis for the development of new and revised standards.

    Symposia involve speakers presenting technical papers which results in a Selected Technical Paper (STP), an online and printed peer-reviewed publication for the international scientific and engineering community. A minimum of an 18-month lead time is required to ensure: securing hotel space, developing adequate publicity, and executing proper planning of the event; 24-month lead time is recommended for planning symposia held overseas.

    Workshops offer the same forum as symposia for presentation of technical information, but papers are not required to be submitted for ASTM publication.

    The decision to hold a symposium or workshop depends on the needs of the technical committee. A workshop may be more appropriate for reports on work in progress, while a symposium might offer the opportunity to describe completed work or the investigation of new areas for standardization.


    The sponsoring technical committee or subcommittee representative, working with the staff manager and the symposia manager, should complete the Symposium Proposal Form and submit it to the staff manager for review and approval by the executive subcommittee before planning begins. Proposals should be submitted a minimum of 18 months before the proposed symposium event. The proposal is intended to enable the sponsoring technical committee to enhance the following: (1) identify strong industry-need areas, and (2) better evaluate market potential for both the symposium event and the resulting publication. Contact your staff manager or the symposia manager for a copy of the Symposium Proposal Form and for guidance on your committee sponsoring a symposium.

    After the symposium proposal has been approved by the executive subcommittee, the symposia manager will confirm the symposium dates and location established by the ASTM Meetings Department. The symposia manager will continue to work with the symposium chair to begin working closely on planning the event and its publicity.

    After planning has begun, the symposia manager (working with the staff manager, meetings manager, and symposium chair) estimates costs, develops a suitable budget, and sets symposium fees.


    The requirements and time schedule for workshops are less structured than symposia; however, choice of topic, chair, location, and date are critical. A minimum of 8 months lead time is required for workshop planning, and the location and dates must be confirmed by the Meetings Department. The symposia manager will work with the workshop chair on planning and publicity, and will keep the staff manager updated on the planning progress.


    ASTM publishes hundreds of technical publications in formats to meet your needs including journals, Selected Technical Papers (STPs), compilations, manuals, monographs, data series, adjuncts, reference radiographs, and more. These publications are available in print, online, or combinations. Information more suitable as software is also a publication option. Committees should be aware of the various publication options available to them:

    The Geotechnical Testing Journal (GTJ): The purpose of the Geotechnical Testing Journal is to provide a high-quality publication that informs the profession of new developments in soil and rock testing and related fields; to provide a forum for the exchange of information, particularly that which leads to the development of new test procedures; and to stimulate active participation of the profession in the work of ASTM International Committee D18 on Soil and Rock and related information.

    The Journal of Testing and Evaluation (JOTE): This flagship ASTM journal is a multi-disciplinary forum for the applied sciences and engineering. JOTE presents new technical information, derived from field and laboratory testing, on the performance, quantitative characterization, and evaluation of materials. Papers present new methods and data along with critical evaluations; report users' experience with test methods and results of interlaboratory testing and analysis; and stimulate new ideas in the fields of testing and evaluation.

    Advances in Civil Engineering Materials (ACEM): The purpose of the ACEM provides high-quality papers in a broad range of topics relating to the properties and performance of civil engineering materials. Materials that are covered, but not limited to, in this journal are concrete, asphalt, steel, polymers and polymetric composites, and wood for use in civil engineering applications.

    Materials Performance and Characterization (MPC): This is ASTM’s premiere materials journal. MPC covers all aspects of material processing, structure, properties, and performance in engineering systems. It provides papers on both the theoretical and practical aspects of the processing, structure, properties, and performance of materials used in mechanical, transportation, aerospace, energy, and medical devices.

    Smart and Sustainable Manufacturing Systems (SSMS): This journal fosters transdisciplinary research that crosses the boundaries of information science, systems engineering and engineering design, manufacturing, data science, and product life cycle with a focus on how to make manufacturing systems smarter and sustainable.

    Manual Series—concise presentation of principles, rules, directions, and action in a practical manner that serves as a ready reference for the field or lab.

    Monograph Series—a scholarly and detailed documented treatise covering a well-defined field of interest.

    Data Series—wholly or mostly tabulated books that contain numerical/graphical information or mathematical relationships.

    The Committee on Publications (COP) always welcomes proposals from committees for new publication ideas. For more information on proposal criteria, contact the Managing Editor of Books and Journals.

    Technical and Professional Training

    Many users of ASTM standards need more information than is available simply from reading the standards. To help meet this need, ASTM established the Technical and Professional Training (TPT) program to provide courses of continuing education in the performance, use, and application of ASTM standards. Since 1984, more than 20,000 individuals have attended ASTM classes in over thirty-five subject areas. A listing of current offerings is shown every month in Standardization News and on the ASTM website,

    Committee officers and other interested members are encouraged to submit proposals for new course subjects to the Director, Technical and Professional Training. Formal committee consensus is not required, but the appropriate committee group should be in general agreement with the course developers. Ideas for proposals may be discussed at any appropriate ASTM forum, including executive and technical subcommittees, task groups, or informal groups of individuals within a committee. These groups may provide guidance and review when appropriate.

    Before submitting a proposal, contact the TPT director to obtain a copy of the Course Development Guidelines. Successful proposals will address the issues outlined in these guidelines. Proposals should be submitted at least eight months prior to the proposed course date to allow for evaluation and adequate planning and publicity. Staff will carefully review all proposals for feasibility and probability of success. The TPT program must be self-supporting. In general, experience has shown that successful courses are based on well-established and widely-used standards, involve two or fewer paid instructors who are enthusiastic about the course and committed to its success, are at least two days long, and can normally be given more than once a year.

    ASTM staff provides full administrative support in producing course materials, developing publicity, obtaining necessary facilities, providing course supplies such as copies of standards and other publications, establishing a budget, student registration, and on-site administration. The course instructors receive consulting fees for course development and instruction and are reimbursed for travel-related expenses.

    Once a proposal is accepted, the TPT staff, working with the course developers and instructors, is responsible for course development. Instructors for past courses have been college professors, consultants, engineers, and recent retirees eager to stay active.

    For more information, contact the Director, Technical and Professional Training.

    Proficiency Testing

    In 1993, ASTM expanded its services through the establishment of the Proficiency Testing Program (PTP).

    ASTM PTPs are designed to provide participating laboratories with a statistical quality assurance tool enabling laboratories to compare their performance in conducting test methods within their laboratories against other laboratories worldwide. The focus of the programs is on the use of ASTM methods, the generation of data to assist ASTM technical committees in the review and updating of existing standards and the potential generation of new test methods.

    Technical direction for the programs is provided by the appropriate technical committees with ASTM providing the administrative support, including program marketing, coordination of obtaining test sample material, issuing of contracts for sample preparation and distribution, and generating final test summary reports.

    Program participants receive different samples for each test cycle, electronic data forms, and test instructions. Laboratories perform the tests using specified ASTM methods or other methods normally conducted by their laboratory. Test results are returned to ASTM and final reports are generated and returned to the program’s participants and sponsoring technical committees. Final reports are provided in electronic format. The reports contain the following information:

    • Each participating laboratory’s test results (coded)

    • Statistical analysis of test data

    • Charts plotting test results versus laboratory code

    • Other pertinent information

    The summary reports provide participating laboratories with:

    • a meaningful and useful quality control tool enabling labs to monitor strengths and weaknesses of laboratory performance

    • a periodic comparison of test results and calculated statistical parameters with other laboratories worldwide

    • a program enabling laboratories to demonstrate proficiency in the specified analysis to meet proficiency testing requirements of laboratory accreditation

    The programs have achieved worldwide participation. Participants in the programs are required to pay a fee to provide for financially self-supporting programs.

    Generation of Proficiency Test Programs

    The generation of PTPs usually follows four basic steps:

    1. 1. Initial concept for a program that is presented to and approved by the sponsoring Executive Subcommittee.

    2. 2. Program pre-proposal that includes information to be utilized by ASTM in conducting a market study to determine the level of interest in the program.

    3. 3. Market study conducted by ASTM Headquarters.

    4. 4. Program proposal is consulted with the associated Executive Subcommittee that liaises with the ASTM PTP administration, providing detailed information regarding all aspects of the new program.

    For more information, contact the Director, Proficiency Testing Programs.

    Accelerating Standards development

    There are sometimes reasons for accelerating the development and approval of a new standard, such as a safety situation, regulatory requirement, or promoting international commerce. ASTM has a rapid balloting system in place for such circumstances. Please consider the following tips that will help expedite the rapid balloting process:

    Is a new standard needed?

    Before you begin working on the content of a new standard, research should be done. An attempt needs to be made as to whether any standards currently exist in this area. Research should not be limited to just ASTM, but other SDOs as well.

    Discussion with Stakeholders

    It is important to speak with key stakeholders in this area. Get their opinion on whether the activity is worthwhile or irrelevant. The key is to garner support for the activity through the commitment of key stakeholders.

    Create a Timeline

    Creating a timeline places expectations out in the open and eliminates confusion. Target dates set clear goals and provide a reminder of where the task group is in the development process.

    Standard Development Tools

    ASTM has developed a comprehensive set of tools to assist individuals or task groups in developing new standards. These tools are designed to ease the task of developing a standard and accelerate the development process.

    • Standard Templates

    • Collaboration Areas

    • Upfront Editing

    • Virtual Meetings/Conference Calls

    • How-To Articles on the ASTM website

    • The Form & Style for ASTM Standards

    • The Regulations Governing ASTM Technical Committees

    Please note, to issue a rapid ballot, certain requirements need to be met. An agreement of at least two-thirds of all official voters on the subcommittee needs to be reached, either by ballot or at a meeting. Approval of the main committee chair is needed as well. See section 11.7 of the Regulations for more detailed information.

    A detailed rationale shall be included in the ballot cover letter and must include an explanation for the reason why rapid balloting is necessary and all background information regarding the proposed ballot action.

    For more information, contact your staff manager.

    ASTM Awards Program

    Recognition of outstanding contribution helps motivate committee volunteers. Therefore, giving well-deserved awards is highly important. Each committee should have an active awards subcommittee that works with their staff manager and the ASTM awards coordinator to suitably recognize distinguished committee members. Additional information regarding the ASTM Awards Program may be found at

    Society Awards

    Award of Merit: The Award of Merit, which carries with it the honorary title of Fellow of ASTM, is the highest award given for service to the Society. Guidelines for the award are distributed annually to awards subcommittee chair and are also available from ASTM Staff and the ASTM website. A template for the award nomination is also available from the ASTM website. Nominations made by technical committees are reviewed annually by the Award of Merit Committee. Nominations must be scrupulously detailed and received by the ASTM awards coordinator by November 1. Presentations are made by the Board Chair of ASTM or a designated representative.

    W.T. Cavanaugh Memorial Award: Established in 1987, this award honors W.T. Cavanaugh. Mr. Cavanaugh firmly established ASTM as the world leader in the development and dissemination of voluntary consensus standards during his service as Chief Executive Officer from 1970 until his death in 1985.

    The W.T. Cavanaugh Memorial Award is granted to a person of widely recognized eminence in the voluntary standards system who may or may not be a member of ASTM. The title of Honorary Member is bestowed on recipients of the award. No more than two award recipients shall be named in a calendar year.

    Other Society Awards: Other Society awards include the Charles B. Dudley Medal Award (which was established in 1925 and is in commemoration of the Society’s first President, Charles B. Dudley), the Journal of Testing and Evaluation Award, the Robert J. Painter Memorial Award, the ASTM International President’s Leadership Award, the Walter C. Voss Award, and the Werner H. Gumpertz Award. Rules and procedures for all Society awards are available from the awards coordinator and at

    Committee Awards

    Many technical committees have established additional awards to serve their needs in regard to recognition of significant contributions of its members. Technical committee awards represent the largest number of awards within ASTM. This is appropriate due to the fact that individual accomplishments within specific industries are most effectively rewarded by the technical committees representing those industries. Many of these awards are also Society recognized.

    Award Supplement program

    ASTM recognizes the value of the committee awards program and lends financial support through a yearly supplement program. To learn more about this program, contact your staff manager.

    Many formats are available for the presentation to recipients, including walnut plaques, calligraphy certificates, acrylic awards, and medals. The committees can work with staff to determine the award format that meets their needs and budgets. More information is available by contacting the awards coordinator or the staff manager.


    Planning Meetings

    For all ASTM meetings, the Meetings Department is the sole authorized agent of the Society for researching sites, conducting site inspections, and negotiating and entering into contracts with hotels. Under no circumstances shall any committee officer or member contact a hotel to make arrangements for an ASTM meeting.

    In order for the Meetings Department staff to effectively book a meeting, meeting sites should be selected about one year in advance. This also enables committee members to plan their schedules.

    When planning committee meetings, it is important to estimate as precisely as possible the number, type, and size of meeting rooms needed and the sleeping rooms required. Estimates of the attendance at any special social functions are also needed. Staff managers will coordinate this information between the committee and the Meetings Department.

    Committee meetings can be held at Committee Weeks or as independent meetings at or outside of ASTM Headquarters.

    Committee Weeks

    A Committee Week is a gathering of several ASTM committees meeting at the same site. Committee Week sites are chosen by the Meetings Department based on several factors:

    • Hotel costs

    • Availability of adequate meeting and sleeping rooms

    • Transportation facilities

    • Geographical location

    Committee Weeks are scheduled in January, April, May, June, October, November, and December of each year. If appropriate, committees are encouraged to hold at least one of their meetings at a Committee Week. The benefits to the committee are many, including:

    • Reduced sleeping room rates

    • Meetings, editorial, and member services personnel are available

    • No meeting room rental charges to committees

    • No charge for audio/visual equipment to the committee

    • Photocopying service

    • Morning and afternoon refreshment breaks

    • Registration clerks

    • Computers with internet access

    • Wireless internet access

    Committees are asked to determine their meeting strategy and choose the month of their meeting. This ensures that proper space is secured to meet the committees’ meeting needs. Committee Week dates and locations will be announced three or more years prior to the meeting.

    Independent Meetings

    Independent meetings may be held at ASTM Headquarters or a location chosen by the Executive Subcommittee. Committees that meet independently are responsible for their meeting expenses. There is no charge to meet at ASTM Headquarters. Support for meetings held in international locations is available from ASTM Headquarters. Contact your staff manager for details.

    Independent Meetings Outside of ASTM HQ

    After a city is chosen, a meeting manager will work with you to research the specific location and then engage in all necessary contract negotiations for the meeting. Usually none of the aforementioned committee week services is provided by the Society for independent meetings not held at Headquarters. Some services may be arranged if the committee provides the funds.

    Independent Meetings Held at ASTM HQ

    Selecting Headquarters as the site for an independent meeting will provide the committee with most of the services provided at committee weeks. Your staff manager can arrange for photocopying, and registration assistance. There will be no charge for meeting rooms or audio/visual needs. Sleeping rooms will be arranged at a nearby hotel. Your standards editor will also be available.

    Conducting Meetings

    The key to a successful meeting begins with the chair and his or her ability to use time efficiently, allowing for all interested individuals to participate in the standards development process. Because of the largely biannual nature of the typical ASTM committee meeting, it is crucial that the chair use this time effectively.

    Meeting Preparation

    In order to accomplish this task, the chair must be prepared for the meeting. The main committee chair is responsible for the main and executive committee meetings. Each subchair is responsible for their respective subcommittee meeting. It is important to note that the responsibility for preparing an effective meeting lies with the chair regardless of whether that chair will be in attendance.

    Information Gathering

    The first step in meeting preparation is information gathering. The minutes of the previous meeting as well as any committee correspondence should be reviewed. All negatives and comments received on ballots issued since the last meeting are available in their appropriate Closing Reports. Closing Reports for all ballots are posted on the website at “View Closed Ballots/Closing Reports”.

    Follow-Up with Task Group Chair (Subchair Responsibilities)

    The next step in information gathering is contacting the task group chair to review the progress of assignments made and ensure that the task group chair have copies of the appropriate negatives and comments. If a task group chair is unable to attend the meeting, it is his or her responsibility to ensure that someone else will be available to present the task group report.

    Agenda Preparation

    After the information is gathered, the meeting agenda is prepared. The chair should contact the staff manager to see if he or she has any items to be included on the agenda. The use of an agenda ensures logical coverage of important business items while minimizing side issues and nonproductive discussion. The agenda is an indispensable organizational tool for running a meeting.

    The agenda should be prepared and circulated in advance of the meeting, as well as posted to the “My Committees” page of the website. This is very important because it enables the subcommittee members to attend the meeting prepared to make decisions on specific actions. In addition, an agenda may create a specific interest in attending the meeting.

    Agendas should include the background of each subject to be discussed and the goal statement for that subject. To adequately prepare the subcommittee members, it is important to include substantive and specific information. The length of time that will be spent discussing each subject should also be indicated. A sample agenda is shown in Figure 2.

    Create My Agenda Tool: The "My Committees" page provides a tool that automatically creates a meeting agenda, Create My Agenda. The agenda is automatically prepopulated with information that is accumulated from the balloting and work item tracking systems with headings such as Membership Updates, Ballot Results, Outstanding Negatives Needing Resolution, and Standards Requiring Review. The agenda is generated as a Word document that you can edit as needed, then post for your committee members to see. Located under My Tools > Meetings, Minutes, Agendas > Create My Agenda

    At this point in the meeting preparation, the chair should anticipate the procedures he or she will follow to resolve ballot items that will be discussed at the meeting. If the chair is unsure about the policies and procedures that might be involved, the staff manager should be consulted.

    Other general information can be included as follows:

    • Name of group and numerical designation

    • Date, place, starting and ending time of meeting

    • Call to order and call for proxy votes

    • Approval of the previous meeting’s minutes and corrections

    • Membership changes

    • Special announcements

    • Staff report on Headquarters activities of interest

    • Reports from liaison members

    • Reports from chair of subordinate groups

    • Ballot reports

    • Consideration of negative votes and comments on relevant Society, committee, and subcommittee ballot items

    • Unfinished business not resolved or completed at previous meetings

    • New business, such as action on negative votes ruled not related at the previous meeting

    • Announcement of the date and location of the next meeting

    • Adjournment (include scheduled time)

    • Attachments (any written reports to be considered at the meeting)

    FIGURE 2Sample Meeting Agenda

    Directing a Meeting

    If, for some reason, the chair cannot attend the meeting, the chair must find an appropriate replacement and brief that person on the prepared agenda.

    Always start your meetings on time. This ensures that the times noted on the agenda will be observed and encourages all meeting attendees to be prompt. It is not appropriate to call a meeting to order in advance of the announced time.

    If your committee has a secretary, ensure that person is in attendance and is prepared to take the minutes of the meeting. In the absence of the secretary, appoint someone to take the minutes. A chair who takes his or her own minutes may find it difficult to excel in either function.

    Robert’s Rules of Order govern all main committee, executive, and subcommittee meetings, except when they conflict with the Regulations, committee bylaws, or Society bylaws. A short synopsis of often-used actions is shown in Figure 3.

    Questions on parliamentary procedure should be decided by the chair of the meeting. The chair should decide how formally he or she will run the meeting. Generally, when there are controversial issues to be discussed, a more formal meeting is appropriate. Task group meetings are usually more informal. Consult the staff manager when questions arise concerning policies and procedures. The Regulations, common sense, and the spirit of fair play should provide guidance in most instances.

    It is the obligation of the chair to remain neutral, to recognize attendees who wish to speak, and to maintain order. The chair should not discuss the merits of a motion, and, although the chair always has the right, he or she usually does not vote, except to cast the deciding vote if a tie were ever to occur.

    FIGURE 3Robert’s Rules of Order – Frequently Used Motions

    Use of Motions at ASTM Meetings

    A motion is a proposal that the committee take a stand or take action on an issue. It is in order to make a motion to:


    Requires a Second


    Vote Needed

    • Approve agenda




    • Approve minutes




    • Place an item on ballot




    • Establish a task group




    • Executive administrative decision




    • Adjourn a meeting




    • Not persuasive action

      • The person making the motion must state specific reasons for the not persuasive action.



    2/3 affirmative

    • Not related action

      • The person making the motion must state specific reasons for not related action.

      • The chair must place the item on the agenda as new business.



    2/3 affirmative

    • Amend a motion




    It is not in order to make a motion to vote an item persuasive. An item is only persuasive if a not persuasive motion fails (2/3 affirmative is not obtained) or no one from the floor offers the not persuasive motion.

    Time Management

    Since most committees have limited time to meet, management of time is critical. It is the responsibility of the chair to ensure that repetitive or unrelated discussion is kept to a minimum. The agenda is the chair’s key tool for ensuring progress. For example, if the time allotted for a specific item is almost up, the chair can say “Ladies and gentlemen, our time is just about up for this topic, we need to make a decision. Would anyone like to make a motion?” or “Ladies and gentlemen, may we now proceed with the next agenda item?”

    Another key to effective time management is delegation of authority. When a problem arises for which there is no immediate solution, the chair, with approval from present members, should appoint a task group to investigate and report its recommendations by email or at the next meeting. This approach can save hours of fruitless discussion by the larger group.

    For items not completed or delegated, the chair must clearly note what future work is needed and which members or groups are responsible for completing the tasks. Use of an action item list, as shown in Figure 4, may be helpful.

    FIGURE 4Sample Action Item List

    H16.01 on Football Equipment

    October 29, 2016


    Person to Complete

    Completion Date

    Begin recruitment campaign for new members

    C. Clement

    February 15, 2017

    Revision of H234 Helmets

    T. Burton

    March 28, 2017

    Initiate Round Robin Study on Field Goal Kickers Using Steel Toe Boots

    N. Foles

    April 28, 2017

    At the close of a meeting, the chair should summarize the meeting by stating the conclusions reached, the task groups assigned, and action items. Following the meeting, the chair must ensure that the minutes are submitted to ASTM Headquarters to be posted to the website in a timely fashion.


    An attendance sheet for both members and visitors should be circulated at each meeting. Attendance sheets can be downloaded from the Roster Maintenance function on the ASTM website. At main committee and subcommittee meetings, members initial a pre-printed form while visitors complete an attached sheet. Attendance sheets are used to indicate in the minutes the number of members and visitors that attended the meeting; these forms should not be affixed to the minutes. Members can also review voting status with the information provided on the attendance sheets. At task group meetings, circulate a sign-in sheet to all present. It is proper to acknowledge the presence of late arrivals, indicating briefly which agenda item is being discussed, before asking these people to sign the attendance sheet.

    Administrative Policy

    Administrative Deadline Dates

    Be familiar with the scheduling requirements for committee operations established by the staff manager. These dates can be found by clicking on “Committee Documents” on your My Committees page.


    Minutes should be posted to the ASTM website so they can be reviewed before the main committee ballot and in time for members to complete their obligations before the next meeting. Ideally they should be submitted for posting within 30 days after the meeting. Your staff manager will provide a deadline date.

    Main Committee Ballot Items

    Items for main committee ballot should be received at ASTM Headquarters by the deadline date established by the staff manager, at least eight weeks before the next meeting. This allows adequate time for processing at headquarters, four weeks between issue date and closing date, and adequate time between closing date and the meeting. The latter period allows enough time for the subcommittee chair (and technical contacts) to receive all negative votes, distribute them to the subcommittee, and contact negative voters.

    For more information on submitting ballot items, please refer to “The Balloting Process” section on page 50.

    Subcommittee Ballots

    Subcommittee ballots should be issued as soon as possible after the meeting and closed no less than two weeks before the next meeting. The closing date cannot be any earlier than 30 days after issue date.

    Meeting Schedules and Agendas

    Schedules should be posted to the website three months in advance of the meeting to allow attendees to make travel plans. Agendas should be received at Headquarters no later than four weeks before the meeting for posting to the web. Agendas can be created using the Create My Agenda tool on your My Committees page.


    The chair must be prepared to respond to ASTM circular letters, general inquiries, and other correspondence after appropriate consultation with the membership or other committee officers and the staff manager.

    Circular Letters

    ASTM circular letters are sent by staff to the executive subcommittees. Request for input on proposed changes to the Regulations and the Form & Style are done by circular letter. Required committee response varies according to the contents of the specific circular letter. The committee chair is responsible for coordinating the committee’s response. Some circular letters announce changes in ASTM policy and procedures. The committee chair and staff manager are responsible for alerting all members of these changes by announcements at meetings and statements in the minutes. Other circular letters include yearly publication schedules for the Annual Book of ASTM Standards and information of general interest to the committees, such as the Technology Transfer and Advancement Act of 1995 on the use of voluntary consensus standards by the federal government. Any questions concerning content or the required response to a specific circular letter may be directed to your staff manager.

    Official Statements

    An ASTM committee, subcommittee, or task group may need to make an official statement or response to a government agency, regulatory body, or other organization regarding an issue related to their ASTM standardization activities. The Regulations (Section 16) cover these situations. Regardless of the origin of the decision to prepare such a statement, the procedure is the same. All such statements shall achieve consensus and be prepared in writing by the appropriate group, approved by the executive subcommittee, and submitted to the staff manager. The official letter of transmittal will be sent by the Board of Directors or the President of ASTM.

    Inquiries on Standards

    Questions concerning standards, committee activities, or proposals for actions may be directed to a chair or technical contact from time to time. Suggestions for revisions to standards should be placed on the subcommittee agenda for consideration at the next meeting and processed for ballot if necessary. The requester for the revision should be notified of any ballot action as a result of the request or the reason for inaction. Inquiries on ASTM standards may be handled informally by subcommittee chair. It must be clear that the response is a personal opinion and not a consensual view point. Do not use ASTM stationery for the response.

    NOTE — It is important to remember that the ASTM membership and staff are prohibited from providing official interpretations of ASTM standards.

    Distribution Policies

    Distribution of Committee Rosters: ASTM maintains the name, affiliation, mailing/email addresses, and telephone/fax numbers of the members of all main committees and subcommittees. ASTM uses this information for the distribution of technical committee information.

    If requested, ASTM Headquarters may confirm whether or not an individual is a member of ASTM. ASTM may also distribute information related or of interest to a committee upon approval of the information by the subcommittee and/or main committee chair and the staff manager.

    Posting of Ballot Results: For all main committee ballots and subcommittee ballots tallied by ASTM, a closing report is generated that summarizes the results of the ballot. This report includes a tally of affirmative, negative, and abstaining votes and a list of the members who voted negative or submitted comments. Negative votes and comments are also available in this report to members for review and consideration. Closing reports are available on the ASTM website. Information on how each individual member voted on a specific ballot is not for distribution. This practice applies to both technical and administrative ballots.

    Membership Promotion & Publicity

    Membership Promotion

    A focus on proactive membership promotion is vitally important to the continued health and vitality of an ASTM technical committee.

    Membership Promotion can be used to:

    • Attract new members who will be committee leaders in the future

    • Increase technical expertise in a certain area

    • Maintain or create a balance of interest

    • Develop a new committee activity

    The timing for the implementation of a membership promotion is fluid. When a need is identified and the promotion is properly designed, anytime is the right time. The goal of the promotion is to target as specific an audience as possible. This is often accomplished through a thorough review of existing sources such as conference/seminar attendees, professional and trade association technical committees, committee member contacts, and customer lists.

    NOTE — ASTM staff automatically sends membership information to meeting visitors and TPT course attendees.

    For additional ideas regarding membership promotion, contact your staff manager.


    The success of events, such as new standardization activities, interlaboratory testing programs, symposia, and workshops, often depends on adequate publicity. Prospective participants can become involved only if they are aware of the event. Furthermore, the principles of ASTM, as described in the Society bylaws, explicitly call for “timely and adequate notice of” and “opportunity for all affected interests to participate in” ASTM activities.

    ASTM staff can assist in providing publicity. Available services include:

    • Blast e-mailing of announcements to relevant ASTM committees and subcommittees.

    • Standardization News articles mailed bimonthly to ASTM members and subscribers.

    • eNews is a monthly electronic newsletter providing quick links to timely news stories about ASTM and its technical committees.

    • Issuing press releases to trade and technical journals of interest; ASTM Corporate Communications maintains a list of relevant periodicals for each ASTM main committee and employs writers to create news releases as needed.

    • Symposium call for papers are routinely e-mailed to specialized lists of ASTM customers and prospects keyed to subjects of interest.

    • Staff approved postings to the ASTM website, where interested individuals will encounter upcoming committee meetings, committee listings, staff contacts, and other pertinent news and information pertaining to ASTM committees and subcommittees.

    These services can be utilized by drafting an announcement of the activity and submitting it to your staff manager. When made aware of your needs your staff manager will coordinate the services of the various ASTM staff members involved to make sure that an adequate publicity plan is developed and put into effect.

    ASTM Web Page:

    The website is located at and contains many areas to aid in the standards development process. Areas of interest include searchable databases for ASTM standards, laboratories, equipment, consultants, and expert witnesses as well as sections on technical committee membership, training programs, and quality assurance programs.

    Committee Home Pages

    Each committee has its own page with specific information about the committee. Organized and maintained by ASTM staff, these pages include information such as the staff contact, the scope of the committee, listing of the subcommittees under a main committee’s jurisdiction, dates and locations of future meetings, and links to related associations and organizations. Sections detailing new activities, recently published standards, future symposia or workshops, and industry news may also be located here.

    Standards Development tools

    The website contains the most current tools for the process of writing standards. These tools include current copies of the ASTM Regulations, Form and Style for ASTM Standards, and the Strategic Planning Manual. These living documents are updated as necessary to comply with standing committee- and board-approved modifications.

    Committee Chair and Vice Chair

    Chair's Duties

    Before reading this section, read the Introduction to ASTM section that contains information relevant to the main committee chair.

    The committee chair’s specific duties are as follows:

    • Chairing meetings of the executive subcommittee and the main committee

    • Overseeing the standards development activities of the committee, including five-year review, due process for negative voters, and actions on standards

    • With executive subcommittee approval, appointing subcommittee chair, liaisons, and executive subcommittee task groups, such as the nominating committee and strategic planning

    • Ensuring that the executive subcommittee performs all required duties: approving membership applications and affiliate members, classifying members of classified committees, assigning voting status, and any duties outlined in the committee bylaws

    • Handling of ASTM circular letter ballots and other headquarters correspondence

    • With approval from the executive subcommittee, handling general administrative duties, such as planning future meetings, managing committee funds, and approving proposals for symposia

    • Understanding of ASTM regulations and consensus process: ASTM Regulations, Officer Handbook, Committee Bylaws, and general parliamentary procedure as outlined in 'Robert's Rules of Order'

    • Providing guidance as needed to officers and committee members

    Role of the Vice Chair

    Each committee’s bylaws provide for the number of vice chair and their duties. Generally, a committee vice chair

    • Is a member of the executive subcommittee

    • Serves as chair in the chair’s absence

    • Executes those duties as described in the bylaws or assigned by the chair

    • Understanding of ASTM regulations and consensus process: ASTM Regulations, Officer Handbook, Committee Bylaws, and general parliamentary procedure as outlined in 'Robert's Rules of Order'

    • Assists chair with duties

    • Is aware of all committee operations

    Vice chair are often assigned special duties either on a permanent or ad-hoc basis. For example, COTCO has suggested that each committee form a strategic planning subcommittee that is chaired by a committee vice chair. Other special duties may include chairing an awards committee or the responsibility for updating committee bylaws. Consult your committee’s bylaws, policies, or recent minutes for details.

    If the committee chair resigns, generally the vice chair succeeds to the post. The vice chair also presides over main committee and executive meetings if the chair is absent. In committees with more than one vice chair, the order of succession is included in the bylaws. A vice chair should be familiar with ASTM policies and procedures and the workings of the committee. Therefore, the chair should keep the vice chair advised of all activities.

    Chairing Executive and Main Committee Meetings

    The committee chair must know the rules and procedures under which committees operate. The committee chair must be familiar with all ASTM policies so that he or she can provide guidance and leadership to the other officers as well as the committee membership. The committee chair is responsible for chairing both the executive subcommittee and main meetings. See page 15 for guidelines on conducting meetings. Agendas should be posted to the ASTM website before the meeting.

    Reports from subcommittee chair should include brief summaries of action items and other important points of interest to the main or executive meeting. Detailed discussion of issues should be avoided at this time. Ask the subcommittee chair at the beginning of their report whether any committee action items will be included in their reports.

    Know the ASTM Regulations

    The Regulations and the committee bylaws provide the rules for transacting committee business. The committee chair is obliged to see that these rules are followed at all the committee’s meetings. Be familiar with them. When necessary a training session given by the ASTM staff manager will help educate new subcommittee officers and task group chair on the implementation of the Regulations. Always consult your staff manager regarding questions on the Regulations.

    Overseeing Standards Development

    The chair must oversee the activities of all subcommittees, ensuring that they meet their responsibilities. The committee chair may also participate in subcommittee and task group activities like any other member. Specifically, the chair’s responsibilities are listed below.

    Standards Maintenance

    Ensure that subcommittees review standards within their jurisdiction in a timely manner, balloting standards for reapproval, withdrawal, or revision, within the five years as required by the Regulations.

    Requests for Standards Actions

    Forward requests for new standards actions to the appropriate subcommittee chair. Recommend formation of new subcommittees when necessary to meet standards’ needs within the scope of the main committee.

    Concurrent Ballots

    Ballots for revisions or withdrawals or new standards that have undergone at least one subcommittee ballot can be issued concurrently. On concurrent ballots, the main committee ballot return serves also as the subcommittee ballot return. A ballot of the subcommittee and the main committee may be issued concurrently when approved by the main committee chair and either approved at a subcommittee meeting or requested by the subcommittee chair. Each concurrent ballot item must include a rationale.

    To meet a demand for more rapid issuance of specific standards, such as an emergency situation, regulatory requirement, or other special circumstance, concurrent letter ballots for the initial balloting of new standards require an affirmative vote of at least two-thirds of the combined affirmative and negative votes cast by voting members of the subcommittee either at a meeting or by ballot and approved by the main committee chair.

    Committee Administration

    Future Meetings

    The chair, working with the Executive Subcommittee, chooses the dates and location for future independent committee meetings. The chair must ensure that the dates and locations are chosen a minimum of one year in advance. It is important that dates for symposia and workshops be included in this preliminary planning. Future Committee Week sites and dates will be announced regularly by the Meetings Department, generally three years in advance. After the site and dates are chosen, the staff manager will prepare an estimate of the meeting requirements and provide a detailed schedule by the deadlines established by the meeting managers. The Meetings Department managers are the only representatives of ASTM authorized to contact hotels and negotiate contracts for any meetings.

    Appointing Subcommittee Chair

    The committee chair, with the consent of the executive subcommittee, appoints the subcommittee chair. This is an important decision because a subcommittee’s success often relates directly to the administrative leadership of its chair. Therefore, subcommittee chair should possess good leadership ability and managerial skills. They do not have to be the committee’s foremost technical experts because the subcommittee members will guarantee the technical excellence of any committee documents by adhering to ASTM procedures.

    Nominations and Elections

    The Regulations require elections for main committee officers every two years. Specific details on nominations and elections are found in the committee bylaws. A nominating committee is formed and a slate is reported at the spring meeting of the odd-numbered years to the executive subcommittee for approval before it is announced at the main committee meetings. The chair must call for nominations at the main meeting as prescribed in the committee bylaws. The election is carried out by ballot from Headquarters and must close by December 31 of the odd numbered year. Committee officers serve a term of two calendar years beginning in the even numbered years. Officers may serve up to three consecutive terms in the same office.

    Vacancies in Office

    If a main committee office other than chair becomes vacant, the executive subcommittee should appoint a member to fulfill the remainder of the term. The vice chair designated in the committee bylaws assumes the chair’s duties if the chair’s office becomes vacant. See “Role of the Vice Chair,” page 24.

    Strategic Planning

    Strategic planning is one of the most important activities carried out by ASTM technical committees. The standards developed by any technical committee are its key product and are the reason for its existence. Strategic planning is a process that helps maximize the committee’s productivity in developing relevant and timely standards. Without adequate planning, the time committed by members may not be utilized efficiently. For this reason, ASTM’s Committee on Technical Committee Operations (COTCO) has prepared a manual to guide committees as they develop their individual strategic plans.

    The ASTM Manual for Development and Implementation of Strategic Plans is available from your staff manager or at


    The bylaws established by each technical committee, in accordance with the Regulations, govern a committee’s operations. When amendments to the bylaws are needed, the chair should appoint a task group to prepare the amendments. The task group should follow the Model Bylaws in the Regulations. The proposed amendment should be approved by the executive subcommittee and then submitted to main committee ballot. The requirements for bylaws ballots are less rigid than standards ballots. Consult your committee’s bylaws for details.


    It is important to keep your committees aware of the activities of other related ASTM committees. Unintentional overlaps can occur between committees, for example, materials committees and committees concerned with the application of these materials. Such committees should exchange liaison representatives to monitor and report on potential conflicts. The chair, with executive subcommittee approval, appoints liaisons to his or her committee. If a jurisdictional dispute does arise, contact the staff manager. Usually an understanding and working agreement can be reached if the two parties meet together and frankly discuss their needs and concerns.

    Committee Funds

    Committees may raise funds through voluntary contributions or through other means approved by the ASTM Board of Directors as detailed in the Regulations. The most common methods are voluntary activity fees collected at meetings or fees to attend social events associated with committee meetings or symposia. Fees cannot be charged for attendance at any meeting related to standards development because the ASTM charter requires free access to ASTM meetings. Solicitation of funds outside the committee requires expressed prior approval by the Board of Directors. Your staff manager can supply guidelines for making such a proposal to the Board.

    All committee funds must be forwarded to ASTM Headquarters. These monies are deposited into the committee’s account. The chair, with executive subcommittee approval, is responsible for approving all disbursements. The staff manager will handle the actual transactions. All committee funds are invested, and interest payments are added on a regular basis. Any questions concerning committee accounts, including methods of fund raising and current balances, may be directed to your staff manager.

    Recording Secretary

    The recording secretary is the focal point for minutes, correspondence, and documentation. It is the responsibility of the secretary to maintain accurate committee records. The secretary should make sure that the chair, staff manager, and all appropriate individuals receive copies of important correspondence.

    The secretary’s responsibilities may vary from one technical committee to another. Individual main committee officers’ responsibilities are often listed in the bylaws of the committee.

    Duties at a Meeting

    It is helpful to divide the tasks into those necessary before the committee meeting, those needed during the meeting, and those required after the meeting.

    The secretary’s duties include:

    Before the meeting:

    • Help the chair prepare and post the executive subcommittee and main committee agendas at least 30 days before the meeting

    • Assist in preparing the committee meeting schedule

    • Coordinate with membership secretary to print out attendance sheets for the main and executive committee meeting

    At the meeting:

    • Circulate attendance rosters and collect proxies

    • Identify voting members

    • Approve minutes of previous meeting

    • Take minutes

    After the meeting:

    • Prepare and post the minutes of main committee and executive subcommittee meetings within 30 days of the meeting ending

    • Collect subcommittee minutes or have them uploaded directly to the ASTM website by the deadline date


    The accuracy, format, content, and distribution of minutes are very important. Preparing the minutes of the executive subcommittee and the main committee meetings is the responsibility of the secretary. In some committees, the secretary is also responsible for collecting subcommittee minutes, which are then posted to the ASTM website. Writing the subcommittee minutes is the responsibility of the subcommittee chair or secretary. Audio and video recording is prohibited at all ASTM meetings.

    Minutes should be written as soon as possible after meetings while the actions and discussions are fresh in the writer’s mind. The committee's administrative assistant establishes a deadline date for submission of minutes. If the deadline is not met, timely availability of the minutes may not occur.

    Timely preparation and distribution cannot be overemphasized.

    Committee members may rely on receipt of the information before they implement promised actions.

    Committee minutes are archived at ASTM Headquarters, in accordance with the Society’s records retention policy.


    The minutes should begin with the committee designation and title, date of the meeting, and location. The body of the minutes should start with a statement of what time the meeting was called to order.

    The minutes should reflect concise statements about specific items, including a brief overview of pertinent discussion, clearly indicating what decisions were reached and what future actions are required. Minutes are not intended to be a transcript of actual discussions. Make sure that minutes contain the membership changes, important administrative matter, recommendations and actions, highlights of subcommittee activities, status of standards, actions taken on negative votes and comments, future plans for coordination, and the requirements for the next meeting. For a thorough explanation of documenting negative votes, please see page 54. Lengthy lists or documents presented during the meeting should not appear in the body of the minutes but should be attached.

    Minutes should conclude with the notice of the next meeting date, time, and location.

    FIGURE 5Sample Minutes

    Membership Secretary

    The membership secretary has the overall responsibility for handling membership issues within the committee. These duties include the following:

    • Utilizing the online ASTM Roster Maintenance tool to maintain the roster of members on your committee

    • Reviewing the classification of members and recommending action to the executive subcommittee to maintain balance

    • Taking action to remove the official vote of inactive members as defined by Regulations and the committee bylaws

    • Reporting on membership changes and status to the executive subcommittee including affiliate members and honorary committee members

    • Ensuring that there is not more than one official voting member per voting interest as defined by the Regulations (termed: Redundant Interest); any number of individuals may join the committee from each voting interest, but only one shall be designated as the official voting member

    • Overseeing recruitment efforts

    Society Membership

    Before individuals can be added to committee rosters, they must be members of the Society. Society members who apply for committee membership are invoiced for Society membership. In general, all Society members belong to one of the following classes of Society membership:

    A Representative (Rep) represents a company’s organizational membership in the Society. This membership is transferable.

    A Member Tech (Member Tech) is an individual member of the Society and participates on committees. This membership is not transferable.

    A Senior Member (Senior Mbr.) is an individual who has retired from regular employment, has been a member for ten years or more and elects to continue participation at a reduced rate. The senior member does not receive a complimentary volume of the Annual Book of ASTM Standards.

    Committee Membership

    Classified Committee

    On a classified committee, which is a committee that develops standards for materials, products, systems, or services offered for sale, all members must be classified by voting interest in accordance with the committee bylaws. The four classes of members are as follows:

    • Producers—members who represent an organization that produces or sells materials, products, systems, or services covered in the committee or subcommittee scope.

    • Users—members who represent an organization that purchases or uses materials, products, systems, or services, other than household, that are covered in the committee or subcommittee scope, provided that the member could not also be classified as a producer.

    • Consumers—members who primarily purchase or represent those who purchase products and services for household use within the committee or subcommittee scope.

    • General Interests—members who cannot be categorized as a producer, user, or consumer, for example government agency representatives, academia, and regulators.

    Members are classified in accordance with committee and subcommittee scopes. A member classified on any subcommittee as a producer shall be classified on the main committee as a producer.

    In classified committees and subcommittees, the number of official voting producers shall not exceed the combined number of official voting users, consumers, and general interests.

    Official Vote

    All committee members have access and are required to return all ballots. However, members with an official vote are obligated to return ballots that are counted in the percent return, percent affirmative, and in the tally of affirmative, negative, and abstaining votes cast. (See the Regulations.)

    NOTE — Regardless of the voting status of the member, all negative votes accompanied by a written explanation must be considered.

    Affiliate Members

    If a committee needs the expertise of an individual who cannot join the Society, he or she may be given an affiliate membership by the executive subcommittee. Affiliate members appear on the roster and may vote on committee and Society matters but do not pay Society fees nor receive a free volume of the Annual Book of ASTM Standards. The membership secretary should submit the names of those approved for affiliate memberships to their staff manager or the Committee Services Department at ASTM.

    The Regulations require that affiliate memberships be reviewed annually. An annual report on affiliate members must be sent to the ASTM Committee Services Department with a copy to the staff manager. An affiliate membership is not transferable. Each one must be handled individually by the committee recommending affiliate status.

    Honorary Committee Members

    Some committees give members honorary committee memberships in accordance with the procedures described in the committee’s bylaws. These honorary committee memberships do not affect the class of Society membership, and the honorary committee member must maintain Society membership in order to be retained on the committee roster. Do not confuse honorary committee membership with honorary Society membership, which requires election by the ASTM Board of Directors.

    If an honorary member of a committee is not a Society member and the committee wants to retain the individual on the roster, he or she may be approved as an affiliate member of the Society or the committee may pay the membership fee from committee funds.

    Administrative Procedure


    The most efficient way to join an ASTM technical committee is online at Once the application information is received at ASTM, the applicants are added to the roster as pending and the application is forwarded to the committee Membership Secretary for approval. At the same time, a welcome letter is sent to the applicant from ASTM. The applicant must be reviewed for approval by the executive subcommittee or as stated in the committee bylaws. All members assigned to a roster are expected to actively participate by returning ballots. Details are in the Regulations.

    The membership secretary works with the executive subcommittee to assign the classification and vote status for the new member. Members who do not receive an official vote must be assigned one of the non-vote reasons below:


    PENDING—new applicants that have not yet been classified or had their voting interest assigned


    REQUEST NO VOTE – special committee or individual request for non-voting status


    INACTIVE – assigned as a result of Executive Subcommittee or Subcommittee Chair action on members failing to return three consecutive ballots


    NON-VOTER – members of committees but not authorized to have a vote because of voting interest policy: ASTM Staff, CCRL, CPSC


    WAIT LIST– producers on the roster pending voting status due to committee balance


    REDUNDANT INTEREST – member of a committee whose voting interest is already represented on the committee by an official voter

    When notification is received to add individuals to the committee who are not Society members, they are invoiced for administrative fees. A membership application is also forwarded to them since they cannot be added to the committee until their Society membership has been established. The membership secretary will receive a copy of the staff letter to the prospective member.


    An inactive committee member can have their official vote removed by action of the executive subcommittee. Inactivity is defined in the Regulations as failure to return three or more consecutive ballots. ASTM staff will correspond with inactive members to determine their current interest and report this to the Executive Subcommittee. Membership secretaries and subchair can access an Inactivity Report from their My Committees webpage. Inform Headquarters of action to remove the official vote. In some cases, the terminated official vote may be reinstated if the member demonstrates satisfactory reasons for the inactivity. A member whose official vote has been terminated may appeal to the executive subcommittee. Membership can also be terminated for nonpayment of the annual Society fee.

    Changes in Company Representation (Change of Employment)

    The Regulations require that when an individual member (Member Tech) changes employment, the individual must reapply to the committee for consideration of classification and voting status.

    The Change of Employment process is initiated with the member logging into the My ASTM page and selecting My Account. Then select Change of Employment located under Contact Information. It is necessary to complete the application for review by the Executive Subcommittee. A member who has a change in employment, without resignation from the committee, shall remain on the roster list without an official vote. The Executive Subcommittee will review for determination of classification and voting status.

    New Subcommittee Members

    Individuals who are not Society members and wish to participate on an ASTM Committee may join via the ASTM/Membership webpage, will take 24 hours to process in the system. If they require a hardcopy invoice for processing, they may submit an invoice request to or contact Member Services by telephone. Once the society account is complete, the member will be added to the requested committee(s) and subcommittee(s) and the Membership Secretary will be notified to assign the classification and vote.

    Additional Changes

    A member has only one address for Society and committee mailings; each member chooses the business or home e-mail address for ASTM correspondence. Any changes to contact information can be updated by the member from their My ASTM webpage.


    Rosters (Word and Excel formats) are available at any time in the “Roster Maintenance” section of My Committees.

    Attendance Lists

    Attendance lists can be downloaded on the ASTM website by recording secretaries and subchair in the Roster Maintenance function. Officers are asked to circulate the lists with the request that the members initial the appropriate boxes. Visitors are asked to sign the attached visitors’ sheets. Attendance sheets are used to indicate in the minutes the number of members and visitors that attended the meeting; these forms do not need to be affixed to the minutes. After the meeting, the officer can keep the member lists and the visitors’ sign-in sheet for any follow-up action.

    Report to Executive and Main

    Before the scheduled executive subcommittee meetings, the membership secretary should prepare a written membership report (go to Roster Maintenance area to create and print report) for approval by the executive subcommittee. This report should be attached to the minutes and should contain the following:

    • Resignations received from any source

    • Changes in existing members’ classification and voting status

    • Transfer of organizational representation

    • Presentation of new members with recommendation of classification and their voting status or placement on a waiting list for official vote, which can occur when producers join a classified committee that is already in balance.

    • Tally of committee members

    • Affiliate Members

    • Balance Report

    What is Balance?

    Balance is defined in the Regulations and requires that on a classified committee or subcommittee, the total number of official voting producers must be less than or equal to the total number of combined official voting users, consumers, and general interest members of that same committee or subcommittee.

    With regard to placement of a new producer on a waiting list (as mentioned above), the following example is offered:



    General Interest

    Subcommittee 1




    Subcommittee 2




    Subcommittee 3




    All of the above subcommittees are in balance, but only Subcommittee 2 would require a waiting list.

    The committee’s bylaws will indicate the criteria by which the newly approved main committee members should be classified on the appropriate subcommittees.

    Subcommittee Chair

    Subcommittee Organization

    Subcommittees are the basic units of standards development work. All standards ballot items originate within subcommittees, and the subcommittees are responsible for handling negative votes on ballot items.

    Subcommittees must have a chair and should have a vice chair and a secretary.

    Division of responsibility between the subcommittee officers is up to the individual subcommittee. The chair and secretary should keep each other informed of all subcommittee actions. This section will refer only to subcommittee chair for simplicity, since the chair is responsible either for performing the listed duties or seeing that they are done.

    Each subcommittee typically meets twice a year in conjunction with main committee meetings. Figure 6 provides a broad outline of the subcommittee chair’s responsibilities, organized by activity type (meetings, standards development, administration, or membership) and by the time frame in which each duty is performed relative to the subcommittee meeting.

    In most instances, subcommittee chair serve on the executive subcommittee.


    The executive subcommittee is responsible for the establishment of subcommittees. The purpose of a subcommittee is described in its scope. The scope is generally balloted within the subcommittee and approved by the executive subcommittee as detailed in the committee bylaws. The scope should be specific enough to be meaningful but not restrictive. The scope should be reviewed periodically to ensure that it accurately reflects the work of the subcommittee. To facilitate efficient operations, subcommittees may be further divided into task groups. It is important that subcommittee chair monitor the progress of task groups. This is done through verbal or written reports and should be documented in the minutes.

    Task Groups

    Task groups are small working groups responsible for a specific assignment (development of a draft standard or implementations of an interlaboratory study) within a given time period. Task group chair may be appointed by the subcommittee or section chair. Once consensus has been obtained from the subcommittee to establish a task group, the task group chair asks for volunteers to serve on the task group or the subcommittee chair appoints members. The assistance of other experts in the field may be solicited. Experience has shown that fairly small task groups work best. Four to six members is a manageable size. A balance of interests is recommended. Task groups should have a clear mission statement as well as a realistic schedule of target dates leading to completion of the mission. Task group members are encouraged to meet between regular committee meetings or utilize other means such as collaboration areas, teleconferencing, or virtual meetings to accomplish their work. For information on how to schedule and conduct a virtual meeting, login to your My ASTM webpage and click on the “Additional Resources” tab. Task group members need not be members of ASTM, and no formal roster for task groups is maintained at ASTM. Upon completion of the mission, the task group is disbanded unless the subcommittee believes more standards can be created within this task group.

    Discharge of Subcommittees

    Subcommittees may be discharged, by action of the executive subcommittee, if their function is completed or if there is no activity by the membership. If a discharged subcommittee has jurisdiction over standards, action must be taken to withdraw the standards or transfer those standards to another subcommittee of the same main committee or to a different main committee.

    Subcommittee Meetings

    Subcommittees meet when there is business to be handled. Meetings are normally held in conjunction with and prior to the main committee meetings. Special meetings of subcommittees may be held at any time in accordance with the provisions in the committee bylaws. The subcommittee chair’s responsibilities concerning meetings include the following:

    • Notify all subcommittee members of the time and place of the meeting with staff manager assistance according to the policy set forth in the committee’s bylaws.

    • Prepare and distribute agendas to all subcommittee members and interested parties with staff manager assistance (see Figure 2 for a sample agenda).

    • Report to main committee on subcommittee actions – this should be a concise reflection of the subcommittee meeting minutes that will subsequently be submitted to the secretary and posted to the ASTM website under the “Minutes” link.

    • Write and upload minutes to the ASTM website. For information on writing minutes, see page 28.

      NOTE — ASTM provides draft minutes 30 days after a meeting ends. Subchair are emailed their appropriate draft meeting minutes in Word format which they can either submit as is or revise to include additional information.

    FIGURE 6Subcommittee Chair's Responsibilities

    Before Meeting

    During Meeting

    After Meeting


    • Submit room and time requirements to staff manager and recording secretary

    • Prepare and post agenda

    • Print attendance sheets

    • Chair meeting

    • Prepare action items to report at the main committee meeting

    • Prepare and review minutes of meeting and upload to website


    • Approve or submit subcommittee and main committee ballot items to ASTM via website by deadline

    • Preside over subcommittee consideration of negative votes

    • Review request for standards actions

    • Review existing standards including those due for 5 year review

    • Resolve negatives using the ASTM Online Resolution System


    • Review subcommittee scope, organization, and objectives

    • Review correspondence

    • Confirm the agendas and previous meeting minutes are posted

    • Review progress

    • Delegate tasks

    • Initiate or dissolve task groups

    • Call for reports

    • Assist task groups in navigating process

    • Appoint subcommittee officer(s)

    • Follow up on assignments made at meeting

    • Monitor progress of assigned tasks

    • Handle correspondence

    • Monitor ballots and negative resolutions


    • Review rosters for inactive members

    • Review voting lists for balance

    • Review member classification yearly*

    • Assign classification and subcommittee vote status

    • Report on balance

    • Report on membership changes

    • Introduce new members

    • Report on inactive members

    • Recruit new members

    • Correspond with inactive members to determine status

    • Promote membership, if necessary

    *Classified committees only

    Subcommittee Membership


    Rosters in Word and Excel format are available from the “Roster Maintenance” function on your My Committees webpage. Task group rosters are not maintained by ASTM, as it is not necessary to have Society membership to participate at that level.

    Roster Maintenance

    The subcommittee chair should work closely with the main committee membership secretary to maintain up-to-date rosters. Inactive members may lose their official vote in accordance with committee bylaws and the Regulations. It is important that classification and voting privilege be reviewed periodically. Roster maintenance also includes approving new members, replacing organizational representatives, and yearly approval of affiliate members.

    Roster changes can be made via the “Roster Maintenance” function on your My ASTM webpage.

    New Members

    Applicants cannot be subcommittee members unless they are ASTM members and have been approved for the main committee. The one exception is in establishing new activities, where ASTM non-members may be carried on a new subcommittee’s roster for six months. Society non-members submitted for addition to a subcommittee will be invoiced and sent an application for the main committee indicating that they have been approved for the subcommittee. When the application is returned to Headquarters, it will then be forwarded to the membership secretary for approval.


    If notice of a replacement on a subcommittee is received, this change can be made immediately if the new member is on the main committee roster. If not, the new member will be sent an application for the main committee.


    Society bylaws provide for the removal from the roster of any member who has not paid the Society membership fee by 1 April. Drop lists can be obtained from the Roster Maintenance section of the website. All members receive multiple reminders before being advised by letter that they have been dropped.

    Membership Recruitment

    Technical committees or subcommittees may find it necessary to recruit new members to enhance the level of participation, to increase representation of one of the membership classes, or to attract new expertise.

    The subcommittee chair can work with the staff manager to develop a membership recruitment campaign. Individual letters or e-mails can be sent to prospects. Other materials can be included such as committee activity reports, webpage links, and e-cards.

    The committee should be canvassed for lists of companies or names of individuals with their complete addresses, e-mail addresses and phone numbers. Targeted promotions are usually more successful than broad campaigns. The quality of the mailing list is more important than the quantity of the names.

    Standards Editing and Publication

    A review is required for every new or revised standard after it has been edited. The review ensures that no technical information has been changed inadvertently during the editing process; editorial changes resulting from a ballot are correctly incorporated; and queries from the editor are answered. Experience has shown that persons most familiar with a standard, such as task group chair or technical contacts, conduct the best reviews and should be included as reviewers.

    The technical contact or task group chair is asked to complete the review within two weeks. If an extension is needed, the technical contact should contact the editor. After a document has been set in type, the technical contact is sent a final copy for information only. Only essential corrections can be made at this point. All approved standards are available on the ASTM website and published in the next edition of the Annual Book of ASTM Standards; all new, revised, reinstated, and reapproved standards are also published as separates.

    All requests for editorial changes must be authorized by the appropriate committee or subcommittee officer with proper documentation and rationale submitted to the staff manager. Contact your standards editor or staff manager for guidance in determining whether a specific change is editorial.

    Editorial Changes to Balloted Items

    Requests for editorial changes to balloted items should be directed to the staff manager. If an editorial change is agreed upon in response to a negative vote, a marked-up copy of the balloted item must be uploaded to the ASTM website when resolving the negative vote using the Negatives & Comments link. Do not retype the entire document. Contact the staff manager if there are any questions about an editorial change.

    If an editorial change is omitted from the main committee or Society Review ballot, the change can be included when the edited standard is being reviewed.

    Editorial Changes to Published Standards

    Requests for editorial changes to published standards may be made at any time. To make the deadline for your committee’s volume of the Annual Book of ASTM Standards, it is necessary to send in the request one month before your committee’s publication cutoff. The cutoff date is the last date from which any standards actions will be included in the upcoming edition of the Annual Book of ASTM Standards. Your staff manager or standards editor can tell you what the cutoff date is for any volume of the Annual Book of ASTM Standards.

    When a typographical error of substance is corrected, the year date of the standards is changed. The exact date the correction was made appears in Footnote 1 as well as in the editorial note. A dagger is placed next to corrected values in tables to denote the editorial correction.

    If editorial changes are made that introduce no changes in technical content, the year date of the standard remains the same. However, these changes are noted by placing an epsilon after the designation number with an editorial note describing the change.

    1. 1.Editorial changes with year date changes:

      • Correction of typographical errors in significant values in tables or text.

      • Correction of errors in equations.

      • Reinsertion of inadvertent omissions (in typesetting) that could cause confusion or misinterpretation.

      • Correction of errors in technical content that originated in the technical committee during retyping of a manuscript.

      • Correction of errors in technical content that originated with the ASTM staff or printer during the publishing process.

    1. 2.Editorial changes with addition of epsilon:

      • Addition of metric equivalents.

      • Editorial correction of a title.

      • Replacement of obsolete units of measurements.

      • Rearrangement or renumbering of sections.

      • Addition of non-technical information for consistency.

      • Addition, deletion, or alteration of text notes.

    1. During the review process, when a minor typographical error is corrected, the year date remains intact.

    1. 3.Editorial changes with no change in designation:

      • Correction of typographical errors that cannot be misinterpreted.

      • Update footnote and reference information.

      • Title changes to sections, tables, or figures.

      • Change in editorial style such as use of degree and percent symbol.

    Task Group Chair


    A task group is the beginning of any standards writing activity in ASTM. It is where the majority of the work is accomplished. Task groups are comprised of a small number of highly knowledgeable individuals that are brought together by their parent subcommittee to work on specific projects—new standards, revisions, reviewing comments and negative votes on ballot items, or specific administrative projects. Each task group should have a scope that specifies the objectives of the group to ensure that the members are working toward a common goal.


    Task group chair, appointed by the subcommittee chair, are the technical contacts for the standard(s) for which the task group is responsible. The task group chair generally asks for volunteers from the committee to participate on the task group. In addition, the task group chair may also request the assistance of experts in the field. Task group members are not required to be members of ASTM or of the committee in order to serve, but they should represent diverse points of view. It is important to keep the task group to a manageable size of four to six individuals.


    There is not always time to accomplish all the work of the task group during the committee meetings. Task groups should meet more frequently, and meetings may be held at any time upon request of the task group chair. The subcommittee chair should be advised of all meetings. Task groups are encouraged to meet via virtual meeting or conference call between committee meetings, as well as utilize the Collaboration Area tool on the ASTM website.


    After the need for a task group is recognized, it is extremely important to promote and disseminate news of the activity to those affected by the proposed action. An announcement should be drafted and forwarded to the ASTM Corporate Communications Department and Standardization News after assessing the general industrial, societal, or public importance of the activity. In addition, the task group should contact other relevant ASTM committees or subcommittees to alert them of any new activity and invite them to participate. Announcements should include:

    • Proposed standard undertaking

    • Committee and subcommittee jurisdiction

    • Need for the standard

    • Intended or proposed use of the standard, including a list of those who could be materially affected by it

    • Time, date, and place of next meeting

    • Appropriate contact for further information

    • Invitation to join and take part in the development of the standard

    Developing a Draft Standard

    The task group meets to decide on essential elements. It is better to assign one member to prepare a first draft. After circulation to other task group members, further drafts may be prepared as necessary. It is not necessary to reach unanimous agreement on all aspects of the standard to achieve consensus. Remember that all ASTM standards can be revised as often as necessary.

    Managing the Effort

    In order to prevent duplication of effort, the task group should collect all documents that may relate to the standard being prepared, such as existing ASTM, company, federal, or industry standards, and any other relevant literature on the subject. In many cases, applicable documents can be referenced in your draft standard. Task groups may also wish to adapt various portions of existing documents as the basis for the new standard. Actual reprinting from copyrighted works, including figures, requires that ASTM obtain legal permission and that the correct citation is used.

    Establish a timetable for work on drafts. Make allowances for the inevitable delay involved in volunteer work. Reminder emails are usually effective. A task group chair who is unable to devote the necessary time should recommend the appointment of a new chair.

    Proper preparation will ensure that a document makes a smooth transition from rough to printed form. Deviations from ASTM style cause delays in standards development as well as in the publication; therefore, using ASTM’s upfront editor before the initial ballot can eliminate possible delays.

    The development of a new standard within a task group often creates the need to examine the state of the art within a particular technology. This need can be fulfilled by sponsoring a workshop or symposium in that field. To sponsor a symposium, the task group chair should notify the subcommittee chair. A symposium planning guide is available from staff. (See section on ASTM Services and Products for additional information).

    Standards Development Tools

    References and forms

    The following materials are available from the ASTM website or your staff manager, unless otherwise indicated.

    • Regulations Governing ASTM Technical Committees

    • Form and Style for ASTM Standards

    • ASTM Manual for Development and Implementation of Strategic Plans

    • Committee Bylaws

    • Guide for Appealing Actions on Negative Votes to the Committee on Standards

    • ASTM Standard Templates

    Other policies and procedures developed by the Board of Directors, Standing Technical Committees, or staff:

    • Committee Fund Solicitation Guidelines

    • Rules for Society Awards (including the Award of Merit)

    • Guidelines for Fund Solicitation and Management of Funded Projects

    • Adjunct Proposal Forms

    • Research Report Format Guide

    • Guide to Symposium Planning and Publication

    • Virtual Classroom

    • Author Instructions for Books and Journals

    • Guide to Book Proposals and Publishing Procedures for Manuals, Monographs, Handbooks, Data Series, Retrospective Publications

    • ASTM Standards on Precision and Bias for Various Applications:

      • E691 Practice for Conducting an Interlaboratory Study to Determine the Precision of a Test Method

      • E177 Practice for Use of the Terms Precision and Bias in ASTM Test Methods

    • Compilation of ASTM Standard Definitions

    This chart will show you how to access the web-based tools available on the ASTM website.


    From the main page at

    Go To This Link

    Then, This Link

    Ballot Results, Comments and Negatives

    Login to My ASTM

    On the "My ASTM / My Committee" page, on the right under "My Tools"
    Select "Ballots" under the committee name

    Select link "Negatives and Comments". Locate subject ballot designation
    Select "View Closed Ballots/Closing Reports"

    Regulations Governing ASTM Technical Committees
    Form and Style for ASTM Standards

    Select “Get Involved” then "Technical Committees"

    Under the Standard Development section

    Select the link for the document

    Templates for draft standards

    Select “Get Involved” then "Technical Committees"

    Under the Standard Development section

    Select link "Draft Standard Templates"

    Work Item Registration and Ballot item Submittal

    Login to My ASTM

    On the My Committee page, on the right, under "My Tools"

    Select link "Ballots & Work Items" then “Submit/Edit”

    Register an Interlaboratory Study

    Login to My ASTM

    On the My Committee page, on the right, under "My Tools"

    Select link “Additional Resources” then "Interlaboratory Study (ILS)"

    Rosters, member contact information

    Login to My ASTM

    On the My Committee page, select link "Rosters" under the committee name

    There is a link for the roster of the main committee, and all subcommittees. Member's name is a link to their contact information

    Roster Maintenance

    Login to My ASTM

    On the My Committee page, select "Roster Maintenance" on the right hand side under My Tools

    Use various functions to maintain main committee and subcommittee rosters

    Virtual Classroom

    Under Products and Services, select “Training Courses”
    Under Get Involved, select "Membership"

    Under Member and Officer Training, click the “more” link
    Under Member Resources, select "Virtual Classroom for Members"

    Register for the sessions that interest you.

    Outstanding ballots

    Login to My ASTM

    On the My Committees page, on the right, under My Tools

    Select My Outstanding Ballots

    Work items for which you are the Technical Contact or the Subcommittee Chair

    Login to My ASTM

    On the My Committees page, on the right, under My Tools

    Select My Work Items

    Ballot Inactivity Reports

    Login to My ASTM

    On the My Committees page, on the right, under My Tools
    Select Roster Maintenance, then select the (sub)committee

    Select link “Ballots & Work Items” then "Inactivity Reports"
    Select the Roster Reports tab, then Inactivity Report

    Jurisdiction list for a Subcommittee and status of all standards

    Login to My ASTM

    On the My Committees page, select link "Standards Tracking"

    Select link for the subject subcommittee

    Create My Agenda and Create My Schedule


    On the My Committees page, on the right, under My Tools

    Select “Meetings, Minutes, & Agendas”

    Launch a Collaboration Area (if you are a technical contact for an open work item)


    On the My Committees page, on the right, under My Tools

    Select “Ballots & Work Items” then “Launch Collaboration Area”

    On-line Registration for meetings

    Go to Committee home page.

    Select link "Future Meetings"

    Select link "Register Now"

    Standards Development

    Life Cycle of a Standard

    Standards development work begins when a need for a standard is recognized. Drafts are prepared by task groups whose members need not be ASTM members. The balloting process begins within the subcommittee. Before review by the Committee on Standards (COS), a standard’s action must pass successive subcommittee and main committee ballots and Society Review. All negative votes cast on standards at all levels that contain written explanation of the voter’s objections must be considered by the originating subcommittee. A technical change made to the balloted standard requires re-balloting. Final approval depends on COS concurrence that ASTM procedures were followed; negative voters received due process; and consensus was achieved in the standard’s action. Failure to achieve COS approval will require additional work by the sponsoring subcommittee.

    After publication, suggestions for revision may be made at any time. Editorial changes may be made at any time. Substantive technical changes must go though the entire balloting process. All published standards must be reviewed and balloted for reapproval, withdrawal, or revision within five years of the last publication date.

    Document Types

    The type of an ASTM standard is based on its intended use. An ASTM standard may be one of the following types: specification, test method, practice, classification, guide, or terminology. See the Regulations or the Form and Style Manual for definitions of types of standards. Use of such forms and types of documents should be decided upon by the sponsoring technical committees.

    Standards Actions

    Standards actions may be one of the following:

    • Development of a new standard

    • Revision of an existing standard; this involves substantive technical changes such as adding, deleting, or altering technical information in any portion of the standard.

    • Reapproval of an existing standard; this action affirms that the standard is technically up-to-date and needs no substantive technical change. When a standard is balloted for reapproval, the entire document is open to comment or criticism.

    • Withdrawal of a standard, with or without replacement. If a standard is withdrawn, a single page will appear in the respective volume of the Annual Book of ASTM Standards listing title, scope, date of withdrawal, and replacement, if any, for three years. The designation and title of the withdrawn standard will also appear in the contents of the volume and on the ASTM website. A ballot for withdrawal shall include a rationale and cover letter.

    To begin a standards action, a draft is usually prepared by a task group constituted for that purpose. Draft templates for the six types of ASTM standards are available on the ASTM website. Revisions are developed with a Word version of the standard supplied by ASTM. Once a draft has been formatted in accordance with the Form & Style Manual and has achieved task group consensus, the official ASTM balloting process begins. The process includes subcommittee and main committee ballots and Society Review. Final approval for publication is given by COS, which rules on procedural correctness of the balloting process. Following COS approval, notice of the standard’s action is published on the ASTM website. The new, revised, or reapproved standard is then published by ASTM in the applicable volume of the Annual Book of ASTM Standards. New and revised standards are also published as separates and made available for purchase on the ASTM website.

    Standards are assigned a designation consisting of a letter followed by a number. The number immediately following the designation indicates the year of original adoption or the year of the most recent revision. A letter following this year date indicates more than one revision in a calendar year, for example, 07a (second revision in 2007). A year date in parentheses indicates the year of last reapproval.

    A request for a standards action may come from many sources. Requests should be presented in writing to the subcommittee chair. The subcommittee chair will then present any requests for standards activity at the next subcommittee meeting. If a need is determined, a task group chair will be appointed. Often, the task group chair will be the person bringing the request to the subcommittee. It is then the responsibility of the task group chair to organize the task group and to produce a draft document for subcommittee ballot.

    Form & Style Manual

    ASTM requires that every standard comply with the Form & Style for ASTM Standards. The overall purpose of the Manual is to promote uniformity of form and style in ASTM standards. The Form & Style Manual is organized as follows:

    Types of Standards

    Part A

    —Form of ASTM Test Methods

    Part B

    —Form of ASTM Specifications

    Part C

    —Form of Other Types of ASTM Standards

    Part D

    —Use of the Modified Decimal Numbering System

    Part E

    —Terminology in ASTM Standards

    Part F

    —Caveats and Other Legal Aspects in Standards—Special Instructions

    Part G

    —Standards Style Manual

    Part H

    —Use of SI Units in ASTM Standards

    Annex A

    —SI Quick Reference Guide

    Parts A, B, C, and E are devoted to the six major types of ASTM standards: test methods, specifications, classifications, practices, guides, and terminologies. The definitions of these standards are listed, as are their mandatory section headings. Descriptions of the content and purpose of the mandatory sections and other commonly used sections are also included. Mandatory sections for each type of standard are as follows:

    • Test Methods require a scope, significance and use, procedure, precision and bias, and keywords.

    • Specifications require a scope and keywords, unless a specification includes a complete test method. In that case, the specification shall include the sections required for a test method.

    • Practices and Guides require a scope, significance and use, and keywords.

    • Classifications require a scope, significance and use, basis of classification, and keywords.

    • Terminology requires a scope, terms and definitions, and keywords.


    Part E provides guidance on the policies, rules, and recommendations governing the principles, form, and presentation of definitions. Terminology presents unique challenges to standards writing groups. The following sources can help with writing both terminology standards and definitions that are contained within technical standards.

    • Terminology Dictionary lists all of the definitions that currently appear in ASTM terminology standards as well as technical standards. (Available online on the My ASTM webpage free of charge for members)

    • STP 806 Standardization of Technical Terminology: Principles and Practices.

    • STP 991 Standardization of Technical Terminology.

    Legal Considerations

    Part F contains special instructions concerning legal considerations in standards. Examples include caveats, commercial-contractual statements, and patents. Guidance from ASTM Headquarters is required for the inclusion of any such legal statements.

    Sample Manuscript

    Part G includes a sample manuscript. When preparing a new or extensively revised document, it is helpful to consult either the sample manuscript or a similar standard. The committee editor may also provide additional guidance.

    SI Units

    Part H provides guidelines for the inclusion of SI units in ASTM standards. SI is a French mnemonic that stands for the International System of Units. In accordance with ASTM Board of Directors policy, SI units must be included in all ASTM standards.

    Additional Sources of Information

    In conjunction with the Form & Style Manual, an editorial subcommittee provides assistance with document preparation. If a document is reviewed by an editorial subcommittee before it is balloted, it should flow through the balloting process with a minimum number of negative votes related to editorial matters.

    Committees E11 on Quality and Statistics and E43 on SI Practice offer specialized information and may be called upon for assistance by any committee.

    The ASTM website holds the most recent ASTM publications. ASTM Customer Service Department may be contacted for questions regarding out-of-print ASTM publications or obsolete standards. Contact information for associations and copies of research reports are also available.

    Preparing Revisions for Ballot

    Revisions to standards may be prepared for ballot in one of the following formats:

    1. 1.Underline additions and strikethrough deletions respectively, using a word processing program, such as Track Changes.

    2. 2.Type a list of only those sections being revised with instructions that clearly state the additions, substitutions, or deletions to be made.

    3. 3.Make a two-column comparison of current text on the left side with proposed revisions on the right side of the page.

    4. 4.With a complete top-to-bottom revision of a standard, just indicate in the cover letter that the entire standard has been revised.

    If less than 25% of a document is changed, use Format 1, 2, or 3; if more than 25% of the document is changed, it is advisable to retype a new draft using Format 4.

    Interlaboratory Studies and Research Reports

    Statements on precision and bias are mandatory for all ASTM test methods whether or not data has been generated. A statement on precision allows potential users of a test method to assess its usefulness in proposed applications. To generate data for such statements, the task group should conduct an interlaboratory study. ASTM has established ILS Services to assist members with the administrative tasks involved in conducting an Interlaboratory Study. Refer to page 6 for additional information. Where no data are available, a statement explaining why there are no data is included in the standard. See Precision and Bias in Part A of the Form & Style Manual.

    Two standards that are recommended for use are E691 Standard Practice for Conducting an Interlaboratory Study to Determine the Precision of a Test Method, and E177 Standard Practice for Use of the Terms Precision and Bias in ASTM Test Methods. Both were developed by ASTM Committee E11 on Quality and Statistics.

    Maintenance of Standards

    Each subcommittee is responsible for maintenance of the standards under its jurisdiction. The subcommittee should review each standard during the fourth year after the last approval date and recommend it for revision, reapproval, or withdrawal. The Regulations require that standards shall be balloted for reapproval, revision, or withdrawal within five years of their last approval date. When a standard is due for a five-year review, the technical content is still current but a few editorial changes are needed, it should be balloted for reapproval with editorial changes. If the standard has not received a new approval date by December 31 of the eighth year since the last approval date, the standard will be withdrawn from publication.

    Jurisdiction Lists

    To aid in monitoring the status of standards, online jurisdiction lists are provided on the My Committees page. This provides a list of every standard under the jurisdiction of a subcommittee, the alphanumeric designation, the date of approval of the most recent revision or the reapproval date, title, and type of standard.

    The Balloting Process

    Basic Principles

    To be approved for publication by ASTM, a standard’s action must pass subcommittee, main committee, and Society Review of main committee ballot items, and review by the COS. Procedural requirements are detailed in the Regulations. Basic principles of all ASTM ballots are as follows:

    • All ballots are posted on the ASTM website “My Ballots” link. All ballots must be conducted via the ASTM website, ensuring that every member has an opportunity to vote

    • All ballots must be issued for a period of not less than 30 days allowing members adequate time to critically review the balloted documents

    • All negative votes shall be accompanied by a written statement and must be considered by the originating subcommittee

    • Whenever a ballot leads to substantive changes in a document, the revised version must be reballoted at all levels to ensure that the technical changes to a document are made on a consensus basis

    The responsibilities of the subcommittee chair are as follows:

    • See that all standards are reviewed for revision, reapproval, or withdrawal at least every five years

    • See that the subcommittee properly considers all negative votes and comments cast on ballot items originating from the subcommittee, whether the vote is cast at subcommittee, main committee, or Society Review

    The following sections outline the procedure for conducting ASTM ballots. These procedures are summarized in Figure 8. Official procedures for balloting actions are contained in the Regulations.

    Work Item Registration

    Before an item can be placed on ballot, it must first be registered as a Work Item. Work Item registration is required for new draft standards and revisions to existing standards; they are not required for reapprovals with or without editorial changes. Work Item registration is the first step in submitting an item for ballot. The link for work item registration is on the My Committees webpage under the My Tools section. Click on “Ballots & Work Items” then “Submit/Edit” and follow the instructions. Four important pieces of information that you will need to provide for the registration are the title; the scope (for proposed new standards); the rationale for why the standard is being developed or revised; and the keywords to be used in a search for the standard.

    Subcommittee Ballot

    A subcommittee ballot may be authorized by either a subcommittee chair or by a motion passed by a majority of voting members at a subcommittee meeting. To submit an item to subcommittee ballot, the subcommittee chair or technical contact should refer to the “Ballots & Work Items” link under the My Tools section on the My Committees webpage, then click on “Submit/Edit”. The ballot must contain a cover letter explaining the reason for the proposed action. Examples of such reasons are the following:

    • Request by an organization or individual for a new standard

    • Substantive changes made in response to negative votes or comments on a previous ballot

    • Request for revisions to a standard

    • Any other circumstance prompting a subcommittee ballot

    Subcommittee ballots are conducted by Headquarters. The ballot results, negatives, and comments are included in a closing report which all subcommittee members can access via the ASTM website once the ballot is closed.

    Sixty percent of the official voting members must return ballots before the ballot can close. Abstaining votes are counted for the requirement.

    An affirmative vote of at least two-thirds of the combined affirmative and negative votes cast by the official voting members on each ballot item is required for a successful ballot of that item. Abstentions do not count in the calculation.

    Negative votes received on subcommittee ballots are considered by the subcommittee that initiated the item. If substantive changes to the document are made in response to a persuasive negative vote, the item must be reballoted. If, however, all negative votes are withdrawn or ruled not related or not persuasive, the item may go on to main committee ballot assuming all other ballot requirements are met. See the next section for details on how to handle negative votes.

    Submitting Items to Main Committee Ballot and Society Review

    Items that have passed subcommittee ballot without any negatives will automatically be forwarded to main committee ballot and Society Review. All other ballot items need to be submitted to ASTM Headquarters for ballot of the main committee and Society Review via the ASTM website.

    Negative votes from the subcommittee ballot that were ruled not persuasive or not related by the subcommittee must be forwarded with the submission for distribution with the main committee ballot and Society Review. Vote counts and rationale for not persuasive and not related motions must be included.

    It is essential that the name of the subcommittee chair or the task group chair to whom the edited document is to be sent for review be listed on the ballot item’s cover letter. The reviewer should have agreed to return the proof copy within the time prescribed by the editor.

    Main Committee Ballot and Society Review of Ballot Items

    Each main committee ballot should include the following:

    • The text of the proposed action

    • A cover letter explaining the rationale for the proposed action

    • Tally of the subcommittee ballot results

    • Documentation on any subcommittee negative votes ruled not persuasive, not related, or previously considered; rationale; vote count; date of the not persuasive motion; and the text of the negative vote

    At least 60% of the official voting members must return ballots before a main committee ballot return is valid. Abstentions count in this calculation.

    Approval of each main committee ballot item requires an affirmative vote of at least 90% of the combined affirmative and negative votes cast by official voting members. Abstentions do not count in this calculation.

    The number of affirmative, negative, and abstaining votes on each ballot item is reported to the committee in the closing report. Copies of negative votes are posted to the link “Negatives and Comments”; this link is located under the “My Tools” section on the My Committees page and also under Ballots, View Closed Ballots/Closing Reports.

    ASTM posts copies of negative votes to the website and sends e-mails notifying the subcommittee chair and the task group chair (or technical contact) if one is identified. After a ballot closes, negative votes can be resolved by accessing the Negatives & Comments link then selecting the appropriate ballot. (See “Handling of Negative Votes”)

    Negative votes are considered by the subcommittee and, if necessary, by the main committee at the next meeting. If substantive changes are to be made to the text of a ballot item in response to a persuasive negative vote, the item is removed from ballot for further study and requires a new subcommittee or concurrent ballot. (See “Handling of Negative Votes”) Copies of negative votes are posted to the link “Negatives and Comments”; this link is located under the “My Tools” section on the My Committees page.

    Society members have an opportunity to participate in the balloting process during the main committee ballot. Society Review notification is now on the ASTM website. The link to Society Review is found on the “Technical Committees” page under the “Standards Development” section. Members can request copies of documents of interest, review the documents, and submit comments to ASTM. Negative votes received on Society Review of main committee ballot items are considered by the originating subcommittee in the same way main committee negative votes are handled. (See section on Handling of Negative Votes)

    Concurrent Ballots

    A concurrent subcommittee/main committee/Society Review ballot may be issued when approved by the main committee chair and either approved at a subcommittee meeting or requested by the subcommittee chair. The decision on whether to ballot concurrently to subcommittee and main committee or to ballot at the subcommittee level only should be based on how extensive the revisions are. It may be best to develop consensus at the subcommittee level before going to main committee ballot if the committee membership is not already familiar with and in agreement with the proposed revision. All concurrent ballot items must contain a cover letter. The cover letter should include background information on the ballot item.

    The ASTM Regulations do allow for the initial balloting of a new standard concurrently. If a demonstrable demand exists, a two-thirds affirmative vote cast by the voting members of the subcommittee and the approval of the main committee chair will enable the initial draft of a new standard to be balloted concurrently. Please see Section 11.7 of the Regulations for complete balloting requirements.

    Committee on Standards Review

    Following a successful main committee ballot and Society Review, a ballot summary detailing returns and handling of negative votes is submitted to the Committee on Standards (COS) by the Standards Coordination Department. COS determines whether all procedural requirements have been met. Should an appeal be requested or a COS member find fault with the action of a technical committee, representatives of the committee and other individuals may be present and participate in discussions on controversial items. If COS approves the standards action, the document is published by ASTM.

    FIGURE 8Balloting Sequence and Requirements


    To Initiate

    To Complete Successfully and Proceed to Next Level


    No formal requirements

    No formal requirements


    • Subcommittee chair approval or motion passed by a voting majority at subcommittee meeting

    • At least 30 days between issue and closing date

    • Standard title, ballot action, work item, technical contact information, clear rationale explaining reasons for ballot

    • 60% of ballots returned

    • 2/3 affirmative votes (of total affirmative & negative votes cast on each item)

    • All negative votes considered and revolved via Negatives & Comments link

    • No negative votes are persuasive


    • Main and subcommittee chair approval or motion passed by voting majority at main and subcommittee meeting

    • Revisions and withdrawals or new standards that have undergone at least one subcommittee ballot

    • Chair and subchair to determine if revision requires subcommittee ballot first

    • 60% of ballots returned

    • 90% affirmative vote (of total affirmative & negative votes cast on each item)

    • All negative votes considered

    • All negative votes resolved via Negatives & Comments link

    • No negative votes are persuasive


    • All subcommittee ballot requirements completed

    • All main committee ballots are issued by Headquarters

    • Ballots for reapproval

    • 60% of ballots returned

    • 90% affirmative vote (of total affirmative & negative votes cast on each item)

    • All negative votes considered

    • All negative votes resolved via Negatives & Comments link

    • No negative votes are persuasive


    • Staff submits item to Committee on Standards after successful Main Committee Ballot/Society Review

    • Committee on Standards agrees that procedures were followed correctly


    • ASTM Editor will send a review copy to the technical contact for final review and approval to publish

    Handling of Negative Votes


    A commonly held misconception in the negative vote resolution process is that all communication between a committee and a negative voter must take place at a committee meeting. This is not true. In order to expedite the resolution of negative votes, subcommittee chair and technical contacts are encouraged to contact negative voters in advance of the committee meetings. This type of one-on-one communication can often result in the establishment of a common ground, which may provide the necessary incentive for the negative vote to be withdrawn.

    Should this type of communication result in the withdrawal of a negative vote prior to a committee meeting, the subcommittee chair should immediately inform their staff manager. The removal of the negative vote will then enable the ballot item to proceed through the balloting process toward approval.

    Consideration of Negative Votes

    The Regulations mandate that all negative votes must be considered, and proper consideration of negative votes cast throughout the ballot process demands that due process be afforded to all negative voters. Negative votes received on subcommittee ballots are considered by the subcommittee that initiated the ballot item. Negative votes received on main committee ballots are considered by the subcommittee that initiated the ballot item and, if necessary, by the main committee. The subcommittee chair’s report at the main meeting must report on these negative votes and the subcommittee’s consideration of them, including rationales for any action taken and vote counts on motions. At the main meeting, the committee chair must allow discussion before taking a vote on any motions to uphold the actions of the subcommittee. A hand count of official voting members must be taken on these motions. The votes are recorded, along with the reasons for the motion, in the minutes.

    Resolution of Negatives Online

    Before the item can proceed to publication, all negative votes must be resolved via the Negatives & Comments link on the ASTM website. Depending on the type of resolution, vote results and rationale(s) or editorial changes must be included.

    Documenting Negative Votes

    The Regulations mandate that due process be afforded to negative voters. Thus, the minutes should fully reflect the consideration given to negative votes. When not persuasive or not related actions are taken on negative votes, it is very important that the minutes record:

    • Name of the voter

    • Content of the negative vote

    • Action taken on the negative vote with detailed rationale (address each portion of the negative vote)

    • Subcommittee and main committee vote tallies reflecting the count of affirmative, negative, or abstaining votes by voting members

    It is important that the rationale for finding a negative vote not persuasive or not related addresses each portion of the negative vote and that the rationale is thoroughly recorded. Such complete records provide a detailed explanation to the negative voter and also minimize the potential for additional negatives.

    If the ballot item is progressing to the next level, the negative voters ruled not persuasive or not related shall be notified as to the disposition of their negative votes. This notification will occur via email once the disposition is recorded on the ASTM website by the technical contact or subchair.

    If negative votes are withdrawn by the voter, simply note this in the minutes. If negative votes are withdrawn subject to an editorial change, note this as well as the editorial changes that were made to the ballot item.

    Disposition of Negative Votes

    The following dispositions are possible for subcommittee and main committee negative votes:

    WITHDRAWN: A negative voter may withdraw his or her negative at any time before it is ruled otherwise. A negative vote that is withdrawn is changed to an affirmative vote (or an abstention vote, if the voter so indicates) and requires no further consideration. If a negative vote is withdrawn subject to an editorial change, or if editorial changes are made for another reason, indicate the changes on a marked-up copy of the balloted item or on a separate page and upload it via the Negatives & Comments link when finding the vote “Withdrawn with Editorial Change”.

    NOT RELATED: A ruling of not related means that the negative voter’s comments relate to material that was not part of the balloted item. The subcommittee cannot rule a negative vote not related because it feels the voter misunderstands the intent of the ballot item. In such cases, it is best to contact the voter to try and reach a resolution. If a motion is needed, a not persuasive motion is in order. A motion to find a negative vote not related to the item balloted requires a two-thirds affirmative vote of the affirmative and negative votes on the motion either at a meeting or by a ballot. At a meeting, a hand count must be taken. Only official voters or their proxies are eligible to vote.

    If the motion passes, the negative vote is recorded as an abstention on the subcommittee ballot tally but must be considered as an item of new business. Record the vote count and reasons for the subcommittee’s action in the minutes. Resolve the negative via the Negatives & Comments tool on your My Committees page. The vote count, negative statement, and not related rationale must be included with a ballot item for it to move forward on a main ballot.

    If a two-thirds affirmative vote is not obtained on a motion to find a negative not related, then the motion fails and the negative vote remains unresolved. This unresolved negative then needs further consideration and can be ruled persuasive or a motion for not persuasive can be made.

    NOT PERSUASIVE: Action to find a negative vote not persuasive must begin with a motion specifying reasons for the action. A motion to find a negative vote not persuasive requires a two-thirds affirmative vote of the affirmative and negative votes cast by subcommittee voters on the motion either at a meeting or by ballot. At a meeting, hand counts must be taken; only official voters or their proxies are eligible to vote.

    If the motion passes, record the vote count and reasons for the subcommittee’s action in the minutes. Resolve the negative via the Negatives & Comments tool on your My Committees page. The vote count, negative statement, and not persuasive rationale must be included with a ballot item for it to move forward on a main ballot.

    PERSUASIVE: If a two-thirds affirmative vote on a motion to find a negative vote not persuasive is not obtained, the negative vote is considered persuasive and the item is removed from ballot for further work and deliberation. If the subcommittee makes substantive changes, the item is re-submitted into the ballot process.

    Sometimes the negative voter’s rationale for modification to the balloted document is apparent to all present at the subcommittee meeting. In such cases, the chair, not hearing any motion to find the negative vote not related or not persuasive and by unanimous accord of the subcommittee, may declare the ballot item removed for further study.

    PREVIOUSLY CONSIDERED: If a negative vote is submitted for the same reason as one previously considered by the committee having jurisdiction, the appropriate subcommittee chair may affirm that the negative has been considered and submit written documentation, including the negative vote, consideration given by the subcommittee, and the subcommittee and main committee vote counts on the action. Further consideration by the committee is not required.

    Appeal Mechanisms

    Confirming Ballot

    A negative voter, whose vote was found not persuasive at the subcommittee meeting and the main committee meeting, may request a confirming ballot of the subcommittee. The written request must come to ASTM Headquarters within 30 days after the negative voter has been notified of the committee action. A two-thirds affirmative vote of the affirmative and negative votes returned by subcommittee voting members in favor of the not persuasive motion is required to confirm the action.

    Appeal to the Committee on Standards

    Negative voters who feel they have not received due process may appeal during COS review. Refer to The Guide for Appealing Actions on Negative Votes to the Committee on Standards for appeal requirements.

    NOTE — It is important to remember that COS will only adjudicate issues of a procedural nature. Issues of a technical nature are addressed within the appropriate technical committee.

    Committee on Standards

    Following successful completion of Society Review, the results of the ballot are submitted to the Committee on Standards (COS).

    If any not persuasive, previously considered, or not related negative votes were generated by the ballot item, it is forwarded to COS for review. The COS consideration includes the complete text of the negative vote(s), the reason(s) for being found not persuasive, previously considered, or not related, and the vote count(s) on the motion(s). Any COS member who feels a negative voter was not accorded due process by the technical committee may cast a COS negative vote. A COS negative halts all action on the ballot item until it is resolved.

    The subcommittee chair is encouraged to contact the COS member to provide further explanation of the action taken. Often a COS negative is withdrawn on the basis of a telephone call or e-mail from a subcommittee chair.

    If the COS negative is not withdrawn, the item is put on the agenda of the next COS meeting. At that meeting, COS may pass a motion finding procedural error and return the item to the subcommittee for reconsideration.

    Avoiding COS Negatives

    COS negative votes on ballot items may mean delay or removal from ballot. To avoid them, reasons for not persuasive or not related motions must be complete and well documented. COS does not attend subcommittee meetings and they base their decisions solely on the written record. Here are some guidelines to help satisfy the requirements of COS procedural review:

    • If a negative vote consists of several parts, address each part separately in the rationale.

    • Give significant reasons for action. Cryptic one-line answers to extensive negative votes may not be considered due process by COS. For example, to merely note that “the negative was discussed” or “we disagree with the voter” reveals little to the outsider about the subcommittee’s thinking.

    • It is more expeditious to have negative votes withdrawn than to rule them not persuasive. Therefore, work directly with the negative voter whenever possible.

    • If a negative voter requests an editorial change that is accepted as editorial, make the change and have the negative vote withdrawn.

    • Distinguish clearly between negative votes that are not persuasive and not related. Not related negative votes must be introduced as new business at the subcommittee’s next meeting.



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