Industry Standards for Consultants and Experts

Industry Standards for Technical Experts and Consultants

Becoming a consultant may still be as simple as adding that description to your business card. However, professional organizations, engineering standards groups and federal regulations are standardizing both the rules of conduct to be followed by consultants and technical experts and the rules companies must abide when hiring them.

Groups from ASTM International to the French national standards organization have standards regarding the employment of experts and consultants.

ISO Standards for Consultants

ISO 10019 gives the guidelines for selecting quality management system or QMS consultants and using their services.

ISO 10019 has been adopted by the French, British and Spanish national standards organizations, in addition to ISO std 10019 being an international standard in its own right.

Industrial standards for consultants are common, and they have been issued for groups as diverse as quality consultants to forensic experts.
Industrial standards for consultants are common, and they have been issued for groups as diverse as quality consultants to forensic experts. | Source

ASTM Standards for Consultants and Technical Experts

ASTM E620 gives the standard practice for reporting the opinions of scientific or technical experts and consultants. ASTM E678-07 describes the standard method of evaluating scientific and technical data used by consultants to form an expert opinion.


ASTM E2159 outlines the recommended practices for selecting, assigning and monitoring technical experts, assessors and auditors. ASTM E2159 is ANSI approved.


ASTM International has several standards specific to forensic experts. For example, ASTM International Standard E1188 describes the practices for collecting and preserving physical items as well as information by an investigator. ASTM E860 lists the practices for preparing items that may be involved in a later court case.

ASTM International has issued a number of standards on evaluating properties and real estate. ASTM D7053 is the ASTM guide for evaluating low sloped roofs for causes of water leakage. ASTM D7053 states that it is a guide for engineers, roofing contractors and consultants with a background in the maintenance and design of low sloped roofs.

ASTM E2166 gives the approved method of organizing information about buildings for direct comparison. ASTM E2166 is the recommended method of reporting to be used by consultants discussing building conditions.

European Standards for Consultants and Technical Experts

UNI 11251 is the Italian set of guidelines for delivering organizational consulting and training to public administrations. UNI 11369 describes the method of classifying management consultants. UNI 11394 gives guidance on how to use management consultants to develop small enterprises and small business.
AFNOR NF X50-767 is the French standard for setting the quality of services for recruitment consulting firms. AFNOR CWA 16275 gives the guidelines to be followed when selecting consultants giving advice on integrating quality, safety, health and environmental management systems.

American Standards for Consultants and Technical Experts

A variety of American standards organizations have issued standards on how to work with consulting engineers and subject matter experts and addressing the standards consultants should meet.

ASCE MOP 45 is a publication by the ASCE on how businesses can select and best work with consulting engineers.
ACGIH 03-027 is a publication by ACGIH, the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists Inc., which details the recommended business practices of its members working as consultants.


The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials or AASHTO has published a Guide for Consultant Contracting or GCC. AASHTO HDG CHAPTER 15 lists the recommended guidelines for selecting and using hydraulics engineering consultants.


The American Institute of Architects or AIA has a list of recommended agreement forms for use by consultants and clients, with different agreement forms identified for those work with international clients and those working with domestic clients.

AIA C401 is the standard form for American architects and clients, while AIA B161 is the standard agreement form for international projects. AIA C727 is the standard form for consultants providing special services other than designing and building projects. AIA B204 is the standard form to architects to use when the owner is also employing a value analysis consultant.

U.S. Government Standards Regarding Consultants

DOE 3304.1 is a Department of Energy publication on the hiring of consultants and subject matter experts. DOE 3309.2 addresses the use of consultants by DOE contractors.
7 CFR PART 1789 describes the allowed use of consultants funded by borrowers. 29 CFR PART 406 outlines the reporting required of labor relations consultants.

U.S. DoD standards also require contractors to avoid conflicts of interest, such as permitting an employee to work as a consultant for a competitor or hiring a relative of the contracting party as a consultant.

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