Why do standards-setting organizations like NFPA charge for codes and standards?

Blog Post created by mikehazell Employee on Mar 27, 2012

A new article on DailyFinance.com looks at the issue of why standards development organizations (SDOs), like NFPA, charge for their codes and standards. Author Bruce Watson writes:
"Codes and standards -- the rules governing everything from fire safety in your office to your home electrical system -- occupy a twilight area between private information and public law. On the one hand, some of these rules are part of the legal system, and a failure to abide by them can result in stiff penalties. On the other, many of them were developed and updated by private organizations like the U.S. Green Building Council, the National Fire Protection Association or the Society of Automotive Engineers. Having produced these codes and standards, these nonprofit organizations are legally allowed to charge for access to them."
For the past several years, NFPA has made all of its codes and standards available for free on its website in a read-only version.
But it's more than just a question of cost. NFPA President Jim Shannon points out that if private agencies were no longer able to produce codes and standards, that gap would be likely be filled by the federal government, and we would lose the efficiency, independence, and responsiveness of the nation's standards development organizations.
Read the complete article, "The 'Secret' American Laws You Have to Pay to See", on DailyFinance.com