ASME Codes & Standards Development

image6“Importance of International Participation”

ASME International develops over 600 Codes and Standards, many of which have become widely used all around the world.  In several cases, such as the ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code, the B31 Code for Pressure Piping, and the BPE standard on Bioprocessing Equipment, their use is so common internationally that they have been designated as international standards.  The concepts that define which standards can be considered international also define why it is important for ASME to encourage participation by individuals from around the world in its standards development process.
A recent WTO document (G/TBT/1/Rev. 8, Issued May 23, 2002) contains the WTO Committee on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) decision on principles for development of international standards.  That decision includes the following statement “In order to improve the quality of international standards and to ensure the effective application of the (TBT) Agreement, the Committee agreed that there was a need to develop principles concerning transparency, openness, impartiality and consensus, relevance and effectiveness, coherence and developing country interests that would clarify and strengthen the concept of international standards under the Agreement and contribute to the advancement of its objectives.”  It is important to note that the Committee on TBT has intentionally not limited development of international standards to any specific organization, such as ISO or IEC.  Standards that are relevant to international markets and are developed using the elements described in the Committee’s statement are international standards, regardless of which the standards’ developer is.  ASME International supports this position, which mirrors the process by which all ASME Codes and Standards are developed, and the manner in which ASME Codes and Standards are used internationally.
ASME’s process for developing its Codes and Standards includes most of the elements contained in the Committee on TBT’s statement.  The process is open to all interested parties and ASME’s provisions for due process for objecting opinions and full public review of all proposed standards provides transparency.  Standards are approved when consensus is achieved among all affected interest groups, none of which can have a majority membership on the standards committee, so impartiality is achieved.  Market relevance, effectiveness and coherence of ASME Codes and Standards are demonstrated by the large number of products manufactured to ASME standards around the world, both for domestic use and for import/export trade. 
ASME Codes and Standards committees currently have some members from interests located outside the USA, but this is an area that must be improved to strengthen the contributions from interests in countries that use ASME Codes and Standards, including developing countries. Engineers around the world who use ASME Codes and Standards in the course of their engineering careers are encouraged to join in the development process. 
For more information on participating in ASME International’s Codes and Standards development, contact Leong Yee Hong of ASME Singapore Section, email:

© Pressure Systems Interest Group 2010