Voluntary Consensus Standards Development

SAE is a global leader in the development of market-driven, voluntary-consensus standards that can be used by industry and governments globally. These standards reduce the cost of product development, increase safety and trade and reduce the cost of government. Government agencies referencing standards reduces the cost of government by eliminating the need to independently create the information. SAE supports the position that the market must have the "right to choose" standards, based on technical merit that meet the provisions of the World Trade Organization's (WTO) agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) rather than arbitrary interpretation, which many times is taken to mean that only International Elecrotechnical Commission (IEC) and International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standards meet the WTO TBT requirements. Use of market-based standards will ensure the most cost effective and fair use of the process.

Issues in the government relations arena related to voluntary-consensus standards development include:

  • Government Use of Standards in Regulation
    SAE aerospace standards form the basis of 130+ FAA regulatory documents (Technical Standard Orders and Advisory Circulars), as well as 50+ EASA regulatory documents (European Technical Standard Orders). These documents allow manufacturers and airlines to efficiently comply with FAA and EASA safety rules without a lengthy, expensive process of revising U.S. or European governmental rules or laws. SAE is a valuable partner that assists governments with maintaining aircraft safety in a timely, cost-effective manner. In similar fashion in the ground vehicle sectors (automotive and commercial vehicle), SAE standards are referenced in regulations issued by DoT, EPA and DoE. SAE supports increased government use of its standards in the global-regulatory process. (DoT, DoE, EPA, EASA)

  • Government Use of Standards in Procurement
    SAE standards are widely used by government agencies, such as the DoD and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), as "short-hand contract language" in numerous types of procurements. The DoD has adopted more SAE standards than those of any other standards development organization (SDO) (3,200+) and 1,700+ U.S. Mil-Specs have been converted to SAE standards. SAE is an officially recognized civilian SDO to NATO with a Technical Cooperation Agreement that allows NATO to support and adopt SAE standards. SAE supports increased global government use of its standards for government procurement. (DoD, U.K. MoD, NASA, FAA)

  • Government Participation in the Consensus Standards Process
    The strength of the SAE standards process is the dedicated, mobility engineers that participate in its technical committees. These well-qualified individuals come from industry, academia and government agencies. The government representatives serving on SAE technical committees, ensures that the standards produced consider address both industry needs and the regulatory concerns of governments worldwide. FAA personnel serve on 95 percent of SAE aerospace committees. Numerous EASA, DoD, U.K. MoD and NASA personnel serve on many SAE technical committees. Similar involvement by the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA), DoE and EPA personnel occur within the ground vehicle standards development committees. SAE supports government agency policies that provide support for government personnel to actively participate in SAE standards committees. (DoD, DoT, NASA, DoE, U.S. EPA, U.K. MoD, EASA)

  • Standards Referenced in Legislation
    In addition to the primary government uses of standards in regulation and procurement, some legislative bodies are accustomed to referencing private-sector standards in legislation. Although this is not common with SAE standards, it is becoming more common in other areas, such as pipeline standards and building codes. Some legislative bodies have attempted to reproduce all or part of a non-government standard in a law without regard for the copyright infringement this entails. SAE is working with other major SDOs to reign in this precedent, which would endanger the survival of the private-sector standards system we have come to rely upon. (U.S. Congress, European Parliament)