Standards produced by the ASME undergo a process of continual change in response to new developments and requirements. The process of updating standards is a rigorous and lengthy process in order to ensure that all aspects are covered and that the relevant technical committee arrives at a consensus which is untainted by commercial or other considerations.
ASME is recognized by ANSI (American National Standards Institute) as an accredited standards developing organization.
Certification standards are updated as necessary and typically as a result of a specific request by a technical committee. Changes and developments in the industry often necessitate a revision of standards.
In situations where a new standard is required, the concept is first discussed by the relevant supervisory board who either allocate the standard to an existing technical committee or form a new standards committee. A technical committee is staffed by volunteers who are recognized as specialists in their fields with the appropriate competence to be involved in the development of the required standard.
Technical committee meetings are open to the public, and all discussions and deliberations are covered by carefully crafted procedures. The committees are structured so that there is always a balance of interested parties represented. Points are agreed by a process of consensus that requires that a significant majority of members of the committee agree each point. Voting procedures are used to illustrate this consensus.
In the final approval process, drafts are circulated for public comment and it is a requirement that all comments are reviewed, discussed and, where necessary, amended. An appeal process is available should any member feel the committee has erred in any way. Once approved by the relevant supervisory board, the standard is approved and published by ASME.
An important part of this process is the notification of revised standards, by which the, ASME issues quarterly newsletters that detail changes and amendments to standards in order to keep interested parties informed. In some cases, webinars are conducted to introduce important aspects of new and amended standards.
The processes adopted ensure that certification standards are continually kept up to date and that standard requirements are realistic, practical and balanced.