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Voluntary Product Standards Program

Voluntary Product Standards (VPS) published by the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) are developed under procedures published by the Department in Part 10, Title 15, of the Code of Federal Regulations. The purpose of these standards is to establish nationally recognized requirements for products and to provide all concerned interests with a basis for common understanding of the characteristics of a product. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) administers the VPS Program on a fee-for-service basis.

NIST acts as an unbiased coordinator in the development of these standards.  NIST provides editorial assistance in their preparation, supplies assistance and review as is required to assure their technical soundness, and seeks satisfactory adjustment of valid points of disagreement.  NIST also determines compliance with the criteria of the Department's procedures, provides secretarial functions for VPS Committees appointed under DOC procedures, and publishes the standards as public documents.

Producers, distributors, users, consumers, and other interested groups contribute to the establishment of Voluntary Product Standards by initiating and participating in their development, providing technical or other comments as appropriate, promoting the use of and support for the standards, and assisting in keeping the standards current with respect to advancing technology and marketing practices.

The use of DOC Voluntary Product Standards is voluntary. NIST has no regulatory power in the enforcement of their provisions; however, since the standards represents a consensus of all interested groups, their provisions are likely to become established as trade customs. In addition, when a Voluntary Product Standard is made a part of a legal document, such as a sales contract or code, compliance with the standard is enforceable.

The benefits derived from Voluntary Product Standards are in direct proportion to their general recognition and actual use. Producers and distributors whose products meet the requirements of a Voluntary Product Standard may refer to the standard in advertising and on labels to promote greater public understanding for confidence in their products. At times, purchasers may order products conforming to the requirements of a Voluntary Product Standard.

Additional background on this program can be found on the Brief History of DOC voluntary standards page. 

The comment period closed on the Proposed Revision to Voluntary Product Standard (PS) 20-20 Rev. 1, American Softwood Lumber Standard

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has solicited public comment on revisions to the Voluntary Product Standard (PS) 20-20 Rev. 1, American Softwood Lumber Standard.

The standard was developed by the American Lumber Standard Committee (ALSC).  PS 20-20 Rev. 1, American Softwood Lumber Standard establishes standard sizes and requirements for development and coordination of the lumber grades of the various species of softwood, the design values when called for, and the preparation of grading rules applicable to each species. It provides for implementation of the Standard through an accreditation and certification program to assure uniform industry-wide marking and inspection.

Written comments received: 

Current DOC VPS Standards

Recently Superseded DOC VPS Standards

Withdrawn and Superceded DOC Commercial Standards (CS) and Product Standards (PS)



Created May 10, 2017, Updated May 1, 2024