From Proposal to Publication
There are two versions of the making of UL 1482: official and unofficial. Like textbook descriptions of the legislative process, the official version misses most of the important subtleties. But it describes the framework within which the standard was written and is necessary to understanding the unofficial story that follows, which is based more on interviews than on official documents.
The official story begins in January 1978, when UL "proposed" the standard to its Fire Council and to manufacturers of wood-burning appliances, circulating the standard for written comments. Five engineering councils composed of outside safety experts provide input to UL engineers in standards development. Council members may not have any formal relationship with manufacturers or distributors. Councils
meet only every other year, however, so most business is conducted by letter ballot. The standard was revised and circulated for comments in August. Three months later, UL hosted a two-day meeting for stove manufacturers and trade association representatives to discuss the proposed standard with UL's engineers. Based on comments received at those meetings, another revised version of the standard was circulated for comments in January 1979. By this time, the wording of the warning label was the only provision at issue. A revised warning label proposed by UL in April 1979 received sufficient support from industry for UL to consider the standard acceptable and publish it.
Successive drafts of the proposed standard indicate how it changed during this process. Unfortunately, this paper trail reveals little about the motivation for these changes. And UL employees are reluctant to discuss the deliberations that go into a standard. Even the so-called rationale statements recently added to UL standards are often brief and general, providing little insight into the trade-offs and underlying issues.
In the case of UL 1482, most of the changes involved the finer points of test methods. For example, the proposed standard described the charcoal briquettes to be used in testing by reference to the product manufactured by the Kingsford Chemical Company. The revised version adopted a more generic approach, specifying the size, weight, and moisture content of acceptable briquettes. The aspects of the standard that were changed most significantly during this process and appear to have generated the most disagreement were the warning labels and installation instructions. As originally proposed, UL 1482 required limited installation instructions and a warning label—or "caution mark," in UL terminology—on the stove. The Wood Energy Institute took strong objection to the warning label and convinced UL of Canada, but not UL, to drop the requirement. UL revised the labeling requirement, however, in response to this opposition. The minimum letter size for the warning label was reduced and, for stoves with glass doors, the label did not have to appear on the front of the stove. The requirements concerning installation instructions were less controversial. They were expanded during the revision process without substantial opposition.