Page 1 of 1

What are Standards?

Posted: Sun Sep 01, 2013 7:30 pm
by johnleeke
Here are some definitions:

A standard is a basis for comparison; a reference point against which other things can be evaluated; they set the measure for subsequent work"

A standard practice or procedure gives a set of instructions for performing operations or functions.


"A technical standard may be developed privately or unilaterally, for example by a person, corporation, regulatory body, military, etc. Standards can also be developed by groups such as trade unions, and trade associations. Standards organizations often have more diverse input and usually develop voluntary standards: these might become mandatory if adopted by a government, business contract, etc." --Wikipedia


"The existence of a published standard does not imply that it is always useful or correct. For example, if an item complies with a certain standard, there is not necessarily assurance that it is fit for any particular use. The people who use the standard ... have the responsibility to consider the available standards, specify the correct one, enforce compliance, and use the standard correctly. Validation of suitability is necessary. --Wikipedia"

Re: What are Standards?

Posted: Sun Sep 01, 2013 7:47 pm
by johnleeke
What "standard" means to me, and why do we even need standards in the first place?

In my own trades work I have my own shop standards. I call them 'standards' because they are more than simply 'the way I do things.' Many tradespeople and shops have 'the way' they do things. They recall the last time they did it and do it the same way again. This depends on memory and 'the way' often drifts over the long-term; a step gets left out, or a different material is used or another worker has another way. Along 'the way' the result of the work changes, which might be good--or not good. Or a key employee is lost, and all of "the ways" she knew are gone.

My dad taught me to keep 'work notes' and early in my work career these written notes became my 'standards'. Benefits: I can exactly recreate a result for a piece of work I have not done in 30 years. When I go back and see a piece of my work has failed I can look up exactly how I did it, which helps find the cause, and update my written standard to include the improvement. After that all my work of that type is improved. Over the decades this adds up to pretty good work and very consistent results, my work lasts longer, I have fewer call backs, work more effectively, make more money, etc. If I am lost someone could pick up my standards binder and be likely to carry on my work with very similar results. (Those of you who have read my articles and publications over the years are often looking at my written standards. After a few decades of proven performance I'm comfortable enough with my standards to share them with some confidence that others will find them useful.) So, that's why I support the idea that a set of standards we could all follow would benefit us all.

I suggest the current endeavor of setting standards ( is not to establish training programs, certify workers, write model specifications or educate the American public in why our work is important (although these are important things that would be good to do), but this endeavor is to begin in a small way to set a few standards that will serve us in our work and business. By limiting the scope we can actually come up with something definite and useful within a fairly short time.

Some have said via email that the term "standard" is getting in our way. Review the definitions above and let us know what you think. I suggest we call this "setting standard guidelines", which would let us pick and choose and still get something done.

Now that an initial set of window standards has been developed ( we can see how they work, revise them if needed, expand on them, develop new ones, etc.

I think there are three areas for standards:

1. Philosophical. Why are YOU saving windows instead of replacing them? (post a message with two three reasons and explain each.)

2. Business Practice. How do you operate your business practice? (the replacement pirates and their corporateering masters market heavily sometimes with outright lies, then employ professional sales people who will say anything to get a sale and meet the month-end quota. How do you do it? Do you sell as much as you can, or only what's needed? How do you decide what is needed? The pirates hope homeowners don't notice their disposable windows last only a few years, and they tend to go out of business before you do notice. How long does your work actually last? What do you do about that?)

3. Technical. What methods, materials, and procedures do you use? (Do you document them in writing, or just try to remember it? Do you always follow the same technical standards. How do you decide to change your standards? How long does your window work last (by actual observation)? Are you willing to share your technical standards, or are they secret? If so, post a message describing one or two of your procedures; If not, tell us why not.)

As some ideas and subjects in this discussion solidify, I'll summarize them and post each for detailed discussion and set up a poll on each so we can see if there is any consensus.