How Technical Committee Volunteers Help Develop AWS Codes and Standards

August 2022

Standards are paramount to the infrastructure that makes up our modern civilization. And at the heart of these standards are technical committees, steering the propulsion for innovation through all the processes of the welding industry.


What is a Standard?

Standards ensure uniformity across all platforms, providing engineers with the proper specifications to develop quality designs and fabrications. A standard is a document used repeatedly, as a rule, guideline, or definition. It is developed by a committee of experts who work within different areas of industry – ensuring that the standard is well-rounded.


Who can Join an AWS Technical Committee?

Welding standards are written for our industry by our industry. All committee members are categorized as consultants, educators, general interest, producers, or users. Anyone with a range of experience is welcome to join.

"There are great personal and professional advancement opportunities as you work on committees," said Peter Portela, Director, Standards Development. "I encourage everyone to get involved."


Benefits of Serving on a Technical Committee

Volunteers on AWS Technical Committees provide the knowledge to develop standards and other technical publications to serve the ever-changing welding industry. With more than 1,500 volunteers and 200 AWS technical committees, subcommittees, and task groups dedicated to developing consensus standards, there is an opportunity for everyone to contribute and expand their knowledge.

"The relationships built while working on committees are amazing to observe," said Peter. "You see everything from strangers becoming friends, people becoming co-workers, to old college buddies reconnecting over rewriting clauses. There are great personal and professional advancement opportunities as you work on committees. I encourage everyone to get involved in task groups and smaller teams as you begin to apply for membership."


Serving on a Standards Committee During Covid

Throughout the pandemic, all committee meetings have been hybrid. However, Lawrence Bower, AWS D1.3 Committee Chair; AWS D1.1 Vice-Chair Prequalification Task Group; and AWS D1.1 Fabrication Task Group, said there are benefits to working remotely.

"You can participate fully without airfare and hotel costs and time away from home," Lawrence said. "However, you can attend some virtually and travel to others as circumstances permit."

Lawrence continued that the technology for hybrid meetings is very good and encourages people who've attended past committee meetings to continue to do so, as there is still much to gain from a remote setting, and that the pandemic isn't slowing down the need for committee members or the work they accomplish.


Recruitment Challenges

Although AWS Technical Committees are crucial to the development of Standards, recruitment can be challenging. Besides the shortage of welding personnel across the entire industry, Peter said that volunteers often miss the support they need from employers.

"Even as we continue to move forward with hybrid meetings, employers need to understand the value of having their staff sit on committees," Peter said. "With the support of employers, committee members can have more time to volunteer."


Join a Technical Committee Today

If you're interested in actively participating on any AWS Technical Committee, please complete the online Technical Committee Membership Application. To learn more about AWS Standards, watch our on-demand webinar AWS Standards: Cracking The Codes That Protect Our Community.