November 2, 2022
Technical Committee Member Spotlight: Bruce Paterson
Our Technical Committee (TC) members make up a core component of our Standards Development Process. TCs are responsible for developing and maintaining consensus-based UL and ULC standards, following the requirements of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the Standards Council of Canada (SCC).
Each TC is required to represent a balance of interests, with members from nine different stakeholder categories: producers; supply chain; commercial/industrial; general regulators/authorities having jurisdiction (AHJ); government; testing and standards organizations; consumers and international delegates. To help assure fairness, our goal is for none of these categories to represent more than 33.3% of the TC membership. Active member participation is critical to helping maintain this balance and advance the standards development process.
Our Member Spotlight series highlights the contributions of TC members who play a key role in standards development.
Today’s spotlight is in honor of Bruce Paterson. Paterson is the Chair of ULC TC 500F, Technical Committee on Fire Alarm and Life Safety Equipment and Systems. He is a Forensic Fire Protection Engineer with the Fire Investigation Services Section of the Ontario Fire Marshal’s Office (OFM). Before joining the OFM in 2004, Patterson held many engineering positions over the course of more than 25 years at UL Solutions of Canada and was involved in the testing and certification of fire alarm and security equipment and systems. He holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Toronto and has been involved in writing National Standards of Canada (NSC) and codes for more than 42 years. In addition to serving as Chair of ULC TC 500F, he is also the OFM’s voting representative for approximately 30 ULC fire alarm and security standards.
Why did you decide to join a Technical Committee (TC)?
Initially, I was requested to join my first committee by my manager at ULC [now known as UL Solutions of Canada]. I had just started my first project testing smoke detectors. We agreed that participating on the committee would be a great learning tool for me to understand how the standards writing process works and to provide me with valuable information to help with my work. I realized very quickly how important my participation was for my job but also my life. It allowed me to meet and work with some of the best leaders and designers in the industry that were molding the world’s future, and I wanted to be a part of that process. After 42 years, I still participate on that first committee, along with about 30 others and continue to learn and hopefully contribute to their success.
What value do you see in participating on a committee?
I think everyone will get a different value from participating on a committee, depending on their roles and interests. Certainly, there is the satisfaction that they have contributed to the standard to hopefully make it better and in promoting safety. Some will feel it is important to get involved and be a trailblazer rather than waiting for a standard to be published and just accepting the result. The nice thing about Canada’s standards development process is that everyone’s comments are reviewed and discussed so you know you have contributed in one way or another. Personally, I get great satisfaction knowing that my contribution to a standard may have saved someone’s life because of the requirements put in the standard to make products better.
I think everyone will get a different value from participating on a committee, depending on their roles and interests... Personally, I get great satisfaction knowing that my contribution to a standard may have saved someone’s life because of the requirements put in the standard to make products better. - Bruce Paterson, Chair of ULC TC 500F
What are your goals for participating in the development of standards?
My goals have always been the same over the years and they are to contribute to a standard to add value to it such that it continues to improve and to be forward thinking enough to adjust to new technologies.
What value do you think standards bring to global safety?
Standards are critical for global safety. With the portability of so many products today, having global and harmonized standards becomes very important. About 40 to 50 years ago, I remember that most countries used their own standards, and there was a good chance that a product would work in one country but not in another. As time passed, countries saw the benefits of having harmonized requirements so that a product could be used in more than one country. This has opened so many more markets, allowing world trade and manufacturing to be a lot more versatile. There is still a long way to go but international committees are now talking to each other and sharing far more data to strive for harmonized standards.
Thank you for your many years of service, Bruce. Your time and contributions to standards development make a daily impact around the globe, helping us in our mission of working for a safer, more secure and more sustainable world.
If you are interested in joining the standards development process for UL and ULC standards, there are several ways to participate:
• Apply for TC membership: TC membership is contingent upon participation, as active member participation is critical to helping maintain a balance of interests and advance the standards development process.
• Subscribe and follow a standard: Subscribe to receive up-to-date information on new standards projects, standards for public review, recently published standards and more. You can elect to receive activity notifications and get involved without being a member.
• Propose changes to a standard: Submit a proposal or request to attend a meeting.