When it comes to developing standards and guidelines fo the mechanical systems industry, it isn't easy. There are a lot of stakeholders with different agendas and blending all their needs into a cohesive standard that benefits everyone is a most difficult task. But it is an important task that requires the stakeolders to work together in the best interest of the industy.
Last month, in the printed version of Contracting Business.com as well as on this website, I wrote my April FIRST WORD column on the politics of certification. In that editorial, I shared a letter that was written by 13 HVAC industry organizations to the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) regarding issues with another organization's irregularities when it came to standards development in the area of home performance.
As I knew it would, this column sparked some controversy and lead to one of the organizations feeling the need to clarify issues to their members.
So just to clarify – my intent with that column was to present the facts, which were provided to me -- unsolicited -- by the trade association in question, so that the entire industry could see the problem and hopefully come to consensus on a solution. It wasn’t a “choose one side over the other” type of editorial – it called for industry unity. Like any good editor, I made that letter public to back up what I wrote about in my editorial.
With all the changes going on at the federal and the state level throughout this country with regard to energy efficiency, defining how a building works with a mechanical system, and the roles that various groups within the HVAC industry play in making this country more energy sustainable, there needs to be standards set that are fair, that make sense, and that have the end result of achieving the goals being set by our government.
Organizations like the ANSI play a vital role in helping to keep the country on track to achieving those goals by setting ground rules for creating and certifying the standards that guide us. ANSI relies on the cooperative efforts of the many stakeholders in the industry to work together to set these standards. When that cooperation falls apart, it negatively impacts the entire industry and creates confusion, which can lead to even bigger problems. Standards matter to our industry. Period.
My FIRST WORD column simply outlined the problem as I see it and called for the parties involved to get together, work out the issues, and get back to work developing the standards that will enable HVAC contractors to do their vitally important work. I stand by that and call on all the parties involved to move past territorialism and get on with it.
You can’t get any clearer than that.