Anyone may submit a proposal to modify an NFPA standard, and the technical committee will consider it. Proposals can be submitted online at the NFPA website in the Code Development Process area or by fax or mail.

The closing date for NFPA 86 proposals in the current cycle was Dec. 1, 2008. Approximately 100 proposals were received, and the technical committee reviewed them in February of this year. By the time this column appears in print, the Report on Proposals (ROP) will have been published.

After publication of the ROP, there is a 10-week period for public comments. The deadline for comments in the current cycle is Sept. 4, 2009. Then the technical committee will meet to consider the public comments, and a Report on Comments will be produced.

After the ROC is published in February 2010, the work of the committee is complete, and the document is ready for publication.

The final step in the process is approval by the NFPA membership at the 2010 annual meeting. Generally, the final vote is uneventful for most documents, but occasionally one or more individuals will make a motion to amend a particular requirement in opposition to the vote of the committee. In order to prevent prolonged floor fights, the NFPA requires such motions to be submitted in writing prior to the annual meeting as a Notice of Intent to Make a Motion (NITMAM).

If no NITMAMs are submitted, the assembly invariably accepts the recommendation of the technical committee and approves the standard. Occasionally, a floor motion is persuasive to the voting members, and a document is rejected and sent back to the committee to resolve the disputed language.

Once the document is accepted by the membership, it goes to the NFPA Standards Council where it is formally approved and published as an American National Standard. Barring any unresolved challenges, the 2011 edition of NFPA 86 will be issued in August 2010.