Prestandard Programs and United States System of Standards and Codes

by William G. Kirkland, (F.ASCE), Acting Exec. Dir.; Building Seismic Safety Council, Washington, D.C.,

Serial Information: Journal of the Technical Councils of ASCE, 1982, Vol. 108, Issue 2, Pg. 249-256

Document Type: Journal Paper


A concise description of the United States system of codes and standards is given, with the objective of presenting highlights of the system of interest to the civil engineer and the introduction of the concept of prestandards programs. The voluntary standards programs in the United States involves over 300,000 individuals who volunteer some of their time to writing standards. If all standards and prestandard activities and programs were included, the individual individuals involved would far exceed the 300,000 estimate, and overall expenditures related to standards would amount to hundreds of millions of dollars. A program related to the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program, which can be defined as a prestandards program, involves the follow-up work on the Tentative Provisions for the Development of Seismic Regulations for Buildings prepared by the Applied Technology Council (ATC) and widely distributed in 1978. This program, under the overflow authority of the Building Seismic Safety Council (BSSC) is a unique undertaking in the building community for which there may be no precedent. It provides the opportunity for technically qualified individuals as well as all other diverse groups with an interest in the subject to participate before code and standards work begins under the voluntary standards procedures.

Subject Headings: Standards and codes | Seismic tests | Seismic effects | Volunteerism | Writing skills | Earthquakes | Building codes | Overflow | United States

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