Standards development committees: What's involved?

Standards solutions are used by a diverse range of organisations to:

  • keep people safe and prevent accidents and injuries
  • increase productivity and boost economic growth and trade opportunities by connecting New Zealand to international markets
  • minimise unnecessary duplication, confusion, and inconsistencies in processes
  • encourage best practice within sectors and support quality regulation.

Standards solutions:

  • save time and money
  • foster innovation
  • offer effective alternatives to making legislation
  • build support for best practice through a consensus-based process.

Standards solutions include:

  • standards or publicly available specifications that set a benchmark for best practice and can be cited in Acts, regulations, or other legislative instruments (for example, rules)
  • interim standards that are urgently needed in a particular sector, but the necessary research required in some area has not yet been completed (Interim standards are published with an expiry date, and must be reviewed and re-issued as final standards within a certain time period)
  • handbooks, guidelines, and codes of practice that provide sector guidance including how to implement established standards
  • auditing tools that assist in measuring performance against established standards or other specifications
  • other documents (for example, industry guidelines) that use a standards development process to address specific issues and can become a full standard when, and if, required.

Why do committees matter?

Standards development committees are central to the standards development process. They make an immense contribution to their sector and to New Zealand as a whole. They work on a transparent and consensus-based approach that leads to the development of standards solutions that are robust and workable.

Committees are comprised of appointed members who are experts within their profession and who have been nominated by organisations that will be directly affected by the final standards solution. We have some of the best and brightest people within their fields serving on standards development committees.

Committee members work together to develop content for the standards solution, with input from other interested parties during the public consultation period. This inclusive process generates wide support and recognition for the final standards solution and ensures it is fit for purpose.

Standards span an enormous breadth of subject areas including engineering, building, adventure tourism, organic production, health and disability, gas and electricity, energy efficiency, and risk management. They range from technical guidelines for earthquake resistant building design to safety specifications for household electrical appliances and screening and intervention guidelines for family violence.

How are committee members selected?

We invite organisations that represent the views of a large, usually national, group with a common interest in the area being addressed by the standards solution to nominate a representative for the committee. We appoint members from the nominations received – working to ensure the committee is balanced and has a good mixture of expert knowledge and experience. The final composition of the committee must be approved by the Standards Approval Board.

Nominating organisations

Nominating organisations may be regulators, professional bodies, research agencies, manufacturers, end users, or others with an interest in the subject.

Examples of nominating organisations include the Institution of Professional Engineers New Zealand; Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners; the Timber Industry Federation; the Fire Protection Association of New Zealand, and the Building Research Association of New Zealand. Government agencies that act as nominating organisations include the Ministry of Health; the Department of Internal Affairs, and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

What are the benefits of being involved in the development process?

By being involved in the development of a standards solution, committee members are able to directly contribute to and shape the direction of their sector. The process can also support a committee member’s professional development by:

  • enhancing their professional experience
  • building networks and learning from other experts in their field
  • contributing to, and learning from, the latest international knowledge and practice
  • helping create trade opportunities
  • representing and protecting the public interest.

Some professional organisations award ‘continual professional development points’ for standards development involvement that count towards a professional certification, for example, Information Technology Certified Professional.

More information

 Do you want to get involved in standards development?

 Last updated 30 June 2016