Committee members from ASHRAE and NSF have a proposed new agreement to finish the building water management standard previously known as NSF 444: Prevention of Injury and Disease Associated with Building Water Systems.

If the joint agreement is approved, ASHRAE will serve as the lead sponsor with the responsibility for publication and maintenance of the standard, and NSF International will serve as a joint sponsor, according to a statement from Jessica Evans, director of standards at NSF International. The new standard will be known as ASHRAE/NSF Standard 514 on Prevention of Injury and Disease Associated with Building Water Systems.

It would take the place of the standard previously known as NSF 444, which has remained in committee and has not been approved for adoption. The existing draft of NSF 444 was developed by a joint committee of stakeholders that includes several ASHRAE members who were also involved in the development of ASHRAE 188, which was approved in 2015.

Standard 188 is focused on Legionella, while Standard 444 (and now ASHRAE/NSF 514) is broader, covering prevention of injury and disease from Legionella as well as other waterborne pathogens, chemicals and hazards, according to an NSF spokesperson.

The NSF 444 committee has proven turbulent at times. Several of its members resigned this spring. The resigned members were concerned with possible conflicts of interest created when NSF International’s Water Services program signed a non-exclusive professional services agreement with building water services provider Homeyer Consulting. Homeyer provides health care facilities with hazard assessments, inspections, and/or testing to control Legionella in their water systems. NSF defended the service agreement, saying that it was between its for-profit water services program and Homeyer, and that it would not influence the NSF’s nonprofit Standards Development Organization.

Dissatisfaction with the original 2016 memorandum of understanding between ASHRAE and ASF led to resignations from ASHRAE's 188 standards committee, as well.

The news about the possible 514 standard appears to be a new way forward.

“On Jan. 8, conference calls were held with committee members from ASHRAE Standard 188, Legionellosis: Risk Management for Building Water Systems, and NSF Standard 444 to provide an update on a proposed joint agreement between NSF International’s Standards Development group and ASHRAE leadership,” according to Evans' statement. “ASHRAE leaders and NSF International agree the standard is urgently needed to assist regulators, public health departments, building owners and health care facilities in better managing the risk of waterborne pathogens and hazards in building water systems.”

The committees intend to present the agreement to the appropriate ASHRAE approving bodies, including the Policy Procedures and Interpretation Subcommittee (PPIS), Standards Committee (StdC), Tech Council (TechC) and the Board of Directors, at the upcoming ASHRAE conference at AHR Expo in Atlanta.

In accordance with ANSI requirements, the “ANSI” designation can be added to the name when the standard is finalized and published.