Standards Development

Standards Development


Since 1905, NCWM's primary function has been to develop the national standards for weights and measures.  Years prior, there was no uniformity among the various states, counties and cities for testing and approving weighing and measuring devices used in commerce.

The standards adopted by NCWM are published in:

  • Handbook 44:  Specifications, Tolerances and Other Technical Requirements of Commercial Weighing and Measuring Devices
  • Handbook 130:  Uniform Laws and Regulations
  • Handbook 133:  Checking the Net Contents of Packaged Goods
Our ability to develop quality standards is dependent on volunteer participation of regulatory officials, technology experts, manufacturers and retailers of consumer products, federal advisory officials from NIST, and consumer interests.  The organization brings the right interests together to keep pace with innovative advancements in the marketplace.

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Instructions Regarding How to Submit a Proposal to Amend a NIST Handbook:

  •  Complete Form 15: Proposal to Amend Handbooks, Bylaws and Publication 14. Click here to submit your Form 15. 
  • Complete all sections and include all research and documentation supporting the Form 15 submission.
  •  Submitt the Form 15 in Microsoft Word format to NCWM within online from provided by August 15.
    • NCWM will forward all proposals submitted by August 15 to the four regional associations for consideration at their fall meetings.
    • See Policy 3.3.2. Procedures to Modify Handbooks, Section E for exceptions for "Priority" items submitted to NCWM that were not vetted through the regional associations.  
  •  The regional associations have the option to accept Form 15 submissions after August 15. Contact each region first to determine whether they will accept the item. This is not the recommended method.
  • If the submitter of an item choses to refine it based on comments from the regional associations or other sources the submitter may email the changes to NCWM at and request that it be forwarded to the standing committee and posted to the NCWM website.   
  • Contact NCWM for assistance at (402) 434-4880.

What Happens Next?

Each region will consider the proposals on their respective agendas.  It is beneficial for the submitter to attend the regional meetings and provide testimony in support of the proposal and to request that the regional committee recommend the desired status.  It is also an opportunity to hear comments in support of and in opposition to the proposal.  If any one of the regional associations forwards your proposal to the National Conference on Weights and Measures (NCWM) Standing Committees by November 1, it will be considered at the NCWM Interim Meeting the following January through the Open Hearings and committee review process. Click here for links to the regional associations' websites for meeting information.

We highly recommend that each submitter attend the NCWM Interim Meeting in January to address any concerns brought forward through the regional process, to provide or explain any updates to the agenda item, and to provide justification for the item to the Standing Committee.    During the NCWM Interim Meeting the Standing Committees designate a status for each agenda item for future consideration at the NCWM Annual Meeting in July.  The status options and the entity responsible for further development are listed in the table below :


Stage of Development


Ready for consideration by the body


Well formed, allows time for stakeholder review and possible refinement by the committee


Needs further work by a subgroup


Needs further work by the submitter


Insufficient support in its current form


If the standing committee gives the item "Developing" status, the submitter may choose to refine the item by emailing changes in Microsoft Word format to no later than April 15 following the January Interim Meeting and November 15 following the July Annual Meeting.  

Agenda items that are included in the reports presented by the Standing Committees at the NCWM Interim Meeting in January are incorporated into the NCWM Annual Meeting Agenda in NCWM Publication 16.  If the item is adopted by the Conference at the NCWM Annual Meeting in July, it will be published in the next version of the NIST Handbooks the following January 1.

For more information regarding this process, click here.   


Just as it is important to have uniform national standards, it is also important to harmonize international standards.  Harmonization reduces costs of manufacturing weighing and measuring devices and cost of distributing consumer goods by reducing duplicative testing and other barriers to trade.  NCWM makes efforts toward international harmonization on several fronts, including:

  • Inclusion of Canadian officials representing Measurement Canada and Industry Canada in NCWM standards development processes
  • U.S./Canada Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) on Type Evaluation
  • Participation in international meetings of legal metrology
  • Mutual Acceptance Arrangement (MAA) under OIML

Federal officials from Measurement Canada and Industry Canada have participated on NCWM committees, task groups and National Type Evaluation Program Sectors for many years.  This gives experts from both North American countries the opportunity to compare and explore best practices for standards in the market place, leading to improved harmonization.  Harmonization in turn leads to fewer trade barriers which mean lower production costs and ultimately lower costs for consumers.

The US/Canada Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) goes the next step in harmonization.  Under this agreement, Measurement Canada and NCWM are accepting each other’s test reports for certain device types.  In doing so, the applicant for type evaluation can save significant costs for obtaining certifications in both countries by submitting to a single evaluation.

The International Organization of Legal Metrology (OIML) is an international treaty organization that does for countries of the world some of the things that the NCWM does for the states in the U.S., which is to provide model standards that can be used voluntarily to harmonize legal metrology requirements.  The International Bureau of Legal Metrology (BIML) located in Paris, France serves as the headquarters of OIML.  The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) actively participates in the many technical committees and subcommittees in OIML.

On occasion, NCWM will also participate when appropriate in the OIML standards development process.  NCWM Members are also invited to participate in national working groups to provide input in the international standards development process.  In turn, NCWM takes international standards into consideration as it develops similar U.S. standards.

NCWM has entered into the OIML-CS for load cells (R 60) as a utilizing participant.  This means that NCWM will accept test reports for certain issuing authorities in foreign countries for the purpose of issuing NTEP Certificates of Conformance.  This provides similar benefits as described in the U.S./Canada Mutual Recognition Arrangement.  NCWM will give consideration to possible participation in other MAA’s as the program continues to develop and expand to additional device types.