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This list of Frequency Asked Questions (FAQs) is provided to familiarize educational facilities professionals with the standards setting process, and APPA’s role in codes and standards development.

What is a standard?

According to the American National Standard Institute (ANSI), “a standard is a documented agreement, established by a consensus of subject matter experts and approved by a recognized body,that provides rules, guidelines or characteristics to ensure that materials, products, processes and services are fit for their purpose.” Standards allow industry, government, and other interest stakeholders to agree on certain technical requirements with regard to construction materials; electrical and plumbing systems; heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems and equipment; and fire and life safety, among numerous other areas. In many cases, local and state regulations require compliance with written standards.

How are standards and codes established?

Standards can be established by standards-setting organizations. Additionally, at times national government agencies may request “public comment” on regulations which, in effect, serve as standards for compliance purposes. Within the United States, standards are most commonly established by independent standards-setting organizations whose activities are open to the public.

What is the APPA Standards and Codes Council?

The APPA Standards and Codes Council was established on behalf of educational institutions (higher education, K-12, museums, and libraries, among others) to accomplish the following:

Why is it important for APPA to monitor and engage in standards development activities?

By engaging in standards activities, APPA plays an important role in representing the interests of colleges and universities, K-12 school systems and other learning institutions in the standards-setting process. Most standards development activities are “consensus based,” which means that interested stakeholders need to have a seat at the table when standards are created or modified, to ensure that stakeholders’ interests are met. Failure to be active in the process can result in standards that are not only ineffective, but are costly to implement and may not adequately support the education mission. In the current economic environment, where many educational institutions are facing scarce resources, it is perhaps more important than ever for the education field to effectively monitor and influence standards activities.

What standards development activities and which standards organizations does APPA track through the CATF?

While there are numerous standards-setting bodies and government agencies whose activities impact educational institutions, APPA presently tracks and engages in standards activities within the following organizations: