ANSI approves the process, and the standard. ANSI does not write standards, and ANSI does not approve products.

Many ANSI standards are born in trade associations, whose members have special product expertise. These groups achieve consensus through a process that involves a balanced group of producers, users, government agencies and experts. This group, unique to each standard or set of standards, may conduct its work as a committee or through correspondence.  Whichever method is used, it continues to rewrite the standard until objections are resolved and a final ballot indicates consensus. Public comments are also solicited through ANSI.  The association or professional society provides the secretariat, administering the process and publishing the standard.

Standards organizations such as NFPA and ASTM develop standards through technical committees, made up of experts on the product or process under review. They have their own structures and systems to achieve consensus, and generally submit their standards for public review and approval as ANSI standards as well.

The sponsoring organization’s job does not stop when the standard is approved. For example, ISEA publishes and sells the ANSI standards for which it is the secretariat, and responds to inquiries from users. Under ANSI procedures, the secretariat has sole responsibility for interpretation, and calls to ANSI about a standard are routed to the sponsoring organization. The secretariat also maintains files pertaining to its standards, and begins preparing for future revisions almost as soon as a standard is published.