SAE International Standards Classification System

SAE International revises its standards classification system - December 2010

In an effort to improve its standards classification system, and to reduce confusion for standards users, SAE International has restructured and simplified its system.

With the implementation of the new SAE International Standards Classification System, every SAE standard will be published with a classification label and a clear definition of the classification. The change entails the elimination and combination of certain classifications and the addition of others. The categories of "Non-Current," "Amendment" and "Re-Issued" have been eliminated, while a "Stabilized" category has been added.

With these changes, SAE takes a step to address the lack of consistency among the many Standards Developing Organizations (SDOs) with respect to the nomenclature used to designate classifications of standards. A recent survey of just eight SDOs identified over 20 different categories of standards. As a result of this vast array of categories, the actual definitions of the many classifications in use are often found to be unclear and confusing to standards users.

Following are the definitions of the new SAE standards categories:

  • Issued - The first time a technical report is published.
  • Revised - An active technical report has been updated and re-published.
  • Reaffirmed - A technical report which has been reviewed by the technical committee and determined to be current with no need for immediate revision.
  • Stabilized - A technical report that has been 'frozen' at the last active revision level.
  • Cancelled - A technical report that is deemed to be 'not fit for use' due to technical reasons or when its technical requirements are totally superseded by another document.

Reasons that a document may be "Stabilized" include if it covers technology, products, or processes which are mature and not likely to change in the foreseeable future; if it covers technology, products, or processes for which a technical expertise no longer resides in the owning committee; or if the standard development committee cannot find users for it.

The following criteria will apply to a status of "Cancelled:"

  • A Cancelled technical report will carry a clear rationale statement and, if at all possible, will direct users to alternative technical reports.
  • A technical report shall not be cancelled based only on administrative reasons such as no identified use, existence of newer technology, or no committee expertise, etc.
  • Determination that a document is not fit for use may be made when there is a clear safety issue with continued use, or when there has been a government requirement that can only be accommodated by elimination of the document.