Test Protocol and Standard Development Options

Introduction

This document provides a summary of various customized options which are available for companies that need a new “WQA test protocol” or a new “WQA standard” to support one of their products. This is often necessary in support of products which:

  • Utilize emerging technology;
  • Take innovative new approaches to the application of established technology; or
  • Make new claims which are not covered by existing standards.

While this document describes the most common options requested, it is not intended to be prescriptive and Companies are free to suggest alternatives and variations.

All development projects involve direct and indirect costs that WQA must recover. Where fees are listed below, the assumption is that the requesting Company will fund the project. All fees indicated represent a “typical development project” and the cost factors specific to each project also need to be considered. Where no fees are listed below, there must be adequate need and broad interest to justify a long-term return on the investment either through certification fees or other dues.

Test Protocols

In this scenario the Company works privately with WQA to develop a test procedure which is applicable to their product. WQA will perform testing and issue a test report to the manufacturer. No certification is involved, but the company can use the WQA test report in support of an “independently tested” claim.

Fees: Typically $2000 or more for the test protocol development, plus the cost of testing.

Pros: Fast, highly customizable, less expensive than certification.

Cons: Less recognized, no authorization to use Gold Seal, no certificate or listing on the WQA GS website.

Privately Developed Confidential Standard

The Company works privately with WQA to develop a confidential standard to be used for a certification project. Typically this includes development of a test protocol in addition to safety and/or performance criteria.

Fees: Typically $2500 or more, plus the cost of testing and certification.

Pros:  Fast, highly customizable, allows product certification (authorization to use the Gold Seal, a certificate of conformance and a product listing on the WQA website).

Cons:  Higher cost due to certification activities, limited adoption and less recognized than other types of standards because all stakeholders are not involved in standard development and because the standard is not published for public use.

Privately Developed Standards for Public Use

The Company works privately with WQA to develop a standard which can be used for certification. The standard is then published by WQA for general use by the industry, regulatory agencies, testing laboratories, and certification bodies.

Fees: Typically $2500 or more.

Pros:  Fast, highly customizable, allows product certification (authorization to use the Gold Seal, a certificate of conformance and a product listing on the WQA website), publication of the standard increases recognition and adoption.

Cons:  More costly due to certification activities, less recognized than Consensus Standards since all stakeholders are not brought in up front.

Consensus Standards

A group of representative stakeholders is brought together on a collaborative task force to develop a consensus standard which is then made available for public comment and public use.

Fees: There is no fee for this type of standard development or to join a standard development task force. However, there must be adequate interest from the industry to justify the investment of WQA resources.

Pros: Allows product certification, bringing in key stakeholders increases recognition and adoption of the standard.

Cons: Slower, requires enough interest to justify the cost of development.

ANSI or SCC Consensus Standards

An American National Standard (ANSI standard), and/or Canadian Standard (SCC standard), is developed through an accredited Standard Development Organization (SDO).

Fees: There is no fee for this type of standard development or to join a standard development task force. However, there must be enough interest for the standard for WQA to negotiate a partnership with an accredited SDO to sponsor the standard through the ANSI and/or SCC process. Examples of this include the WQA/ASPE/ANSI Sustainability standards and the WQA/ASPE/ANSI Electrochemical standard.

Pros: Allows product certification, maximizes credibility and recognition because it is open to all stakeholders and goes through a formal public review process managed by ANSI/SCC, more likely to be adopted in plumbing codes and other regulatory documents.

Cons: Slower, requires enough support by industry to justify WQA’s costs, and will require broad based support from all impacted stakeholders in order to make it through the ANSI/SCC process.

Cost Factors

The costs associated with each development project will vary. The fees listed above are normally adequate to cover the cost of basic literature research, for example researching similar test methods, related standards, or drinking water requirements in order to harmonize the test protocol/standard with other published references. Other factors should be considered when estimating costs and fees, including:

  • Will the project require significant literature research or laboratory research by WQA?
  • Are there regulatory obstacles to overcome prior to adoption of the proposed standard/test protocol, that either require lobbying or submittal for review and potentially revision?
  • Is it anticipated that multiple rounds of revision will be required? This is impacted by the number of parties involved, and whether or not the standard/test protocol will require a validation process.
  • Will WQA need to bring in outside expertise on the subject matter (e.g., paid consultant, specialist, outside firm)?
  • What is the impact of the proposed scope, purpose or application (e.g., a very broad scope tends to increase complexity, while a very narrow scope tends to create contention and barriers to adoption)?