Washington, D.C. — The Office of Management and Budget published its revised version of OMB A-119, a document that has guided federal agencies' use of private-sector standards since the early 1980s. The International Code Council actively participated in the revision process, filing comments with fellow standards development organizations (SDOs) through the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and recommending that new criteria be added to avoid conflicts by preferring the use of standards already widely adopted at the state or local level.
OMB accepted ICC’s recommendation for standards adopted at the state and local level to qualify them as compliant. "Model codes," as the term used by ICC, are included in the definition of standards used in OMB A-119 and are widely used by federal agencies. The Code Council’s governmental consensus process complies with the criteria defined in the OMB A-119 including the principles of openness, transparency, the representation of interests, due process, appeals process and a majority consensus.
"Overall, ICC along with many other SDOs achieved our objective: a continuation of the federal preference for codes and standards developed in the private sector over unique government standards," explained Code Council Chief Executive Officer Dominic Sims, CBO. "The revised OMB A-119 continues to require that agencies adopting private standards respect and protect copyrights of the standards developers; that agencies participate and vote in the same way as other standards development participants; and that agencies continue to be strongly encouraged to use private sector standards, wherever possible."
OMB A-119 was first issued during the Reagan Administration, guiding federal agencies to use voluntary consensus standards from the private sector wherever they meet agency needs, rather than creating government-unique standards for acquisition and regulatory purposes. ICC participated in the 1998 review of OMB A-119, as well as in the development and support of the law in Sec. 12(d) of the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act (15 U.S.C. Sec. 272). Currently, there are more than 1,450 standards referenced in the International Codes or I-Codes that are developed by the Code Council.