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How BHMA became the American National Standards Institute standards bearing association for hardware

How BHMA became the American National Standards Institute standards bearing association for hardware

Friday, May 15, 2020

The 1960s were a time of change for the building industry and for BHMA:  The organization changed its name from the Hardware Manufacturers’ Statistical Association (HMSA) to the Builders Hardware Manufacturers Association (BHMA) and changed its mission from focusing on statistical reporting to developing standards for builders hardware. 

In researching the ways in which a standards program could be developed, BHMA learned that federal specifications for builders hardware were written by individuals who were not trained in hardware--and that those specs were only reviewed every 8-9 years. This paved the way for BHMA® to put its collective expertise to work by writing the specifications themselves.

The next steps were more complicated. BHMA had to determine the best method for publishing and distributing their work—and assuring others that BHMA was an experienced, serious-minded and objective standards organization. The group proved their objectivity to the Federal Supply Service, a move which would pave the way—some years later--for the Department of Defense's willingness to adopt the BHMA-sponsored ANSI standards.

Initially, BHMA sought to work with the Department of Commerce (DoC) Product Standards development program. Older standards were already completed with the DoC, including DoC CS 22 Standard for Builders Hardware and its CS-9 Standard for Template Hinge Dimensions (now ANSI/BHMA A156.7), and BHMA members were involved in their development.

When the DoC program was phased out, BHMA turned to the ANSI Canvass Method (then called the Existing Standards Method) because it seemed the most efficient and allowed for BHMA to maintain authorship control in the early stages of development.  Ultimately, the BHMA Board of Directors elected to publish standards only after ANSI approval. In time, the Federal Supply Service and the Department of Defense adopted the ANSI/BHMA Standards, and BHMA became a known as the sole accredited standards developer under ANSI.

Currently, there are more than 40 ANSI/BHMA standards for builders hardware – including two dedicated to residential locksets.

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