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NFRC Balloting FAQ

NFRC's New Balloting Process FAQs

Pilot Program and Testing Phase

  •  Why is NFRC making this change to the balloting process?
    • NFRC is investigating new approaches for balloting at the request of membership. Several online balloting tools were considered but the system chosen (SpecBuilder) aligns most closely with NFRC’s procedures. There are considerable benefits to updating NFRC’s balloting system, including:
      • The tool allows membership groups to develop specifications, test methods, and procedures all online without the need for cumbersome e-mail threads detailing document changes.
      • Archives projects for future use
      • Allows the tracking of discussions and votes on revisions
      • Eliminates the risk of valuable information getting lost in heavily-revised, high-trafficked, digital drafts.
      • Offers the ability to move ballots from conception to member approval efficiently and effectively.
      •  Provides a more complete record of ballot discussion from the task group level up through the chain.
      • Allows those who volunteer their time on ballots to get input before the ballot reaches the voting stage, increasing the likelihood that a ballot will pass in fewer runs through the cycle.
      • Will improve transparency as members can view the ballots that are being considered.

  • Will there be a separate login required to access the tool
    •  If you have been entered in the database as a current NFRC member, your initial username and your password will be emailed to you. You may change your password after the first log in.
    •  If you already use the tool for ASTM balloting, you will log in with the same password you use for ASTM’s balloting, however, the location from where you access the SpecBuilder NFRC balloting tool, SpecBuilder, can only be accessed by logging into first.

  • Can I bookmark the page? 
  • Will I get spammed email?
    • There are settings within your SpecBuilder account that allow the user to specify the notifications received. Instructions for doing this will be provided in upcoming training for users.

  • How will I keep track of open ballots and deadlines?
    • In addition to members receiving a bulletin and the NFRC bi-weekly Update newsletter, you will also receive e-mail notifications of new ballots and reminders for those still open (if you haven’t already voted) from the SpecBuilder tool. 
    •  In addition, your home page in SpecBuilder will provide a complete listing of all your NFRC task groups, subcommittees and committees, a listing of ballots, and your voting status for each. Instructions for setting up notifications will be provided in upcoming training for users.
    • The ballot page on the NFRC website
  • Is there a file size or type limit in SpecBuilder?
    • Ballot files MUST be Word documents to allow staff full access to tracked changes. The file size limit is 1GB. For non-ballot file needs, any file type may be uploaded except .exe files. 

  •  What will the timetable for ballots be?
    • The timetable for each ballot will be in accordance with requirements set forth in NFRC 710:  Operating Policies Manual. Time needed by staff for processing, as well as chair and liaison duties, will be determined during the pilot phase. 

  • What happens to ballots that fail?
    •  As with the current process, ballots that do not pass membership approval will be either returned to the task group for additional work or will be voted down completely.
  • Does electronic balloting  change the voting protocols?
    • Electronic balloting does not change the rules for processing ballots, just the frequency. While the current system allows ballots just twice a year, prior to the spring and fall meetings, this new system will allow ballots to progress using online meetings of membership and rostered committees. For example, if a ballot fails at a Membership Meeting and is returned to the task group, once the new system is vetted, that group could rework the ballot, repost it for comment immediately following the Membership  meeting, and resolve those comments online in a virtual meeting. This will allow a ballot to potentially pass well in advance of the next in-person meeting. Who can vote, quorum requirements for committees, and other rules for NFRC voting still apply; the forum for holding those votes is all that changes. 

  •  What if I don’t want people to see my comments?
    • Commenting on an NFRC ballot, particularly as a negative, requires consideration by membership therefore regardless of the format, if you have voted negative and provided comment, membership will review that comment.

  • What if a discussion needs to be confidential?
    • Members still have the option to directly e-mail the NFRC staff liaison or chair of the group to discuss confidential concerns.

  • When will the pilot period end?
    • The pilot period is expected to reach completion by the end of 2019, when a final recommendation will be provided to the Board. The success of the pilot program, and the potential speed for full setup and acceptance of the SpecBuilder tool is largely dependent on volunteer participation.

  • Where should I submit issues with the software – to NFRC or to SpecBuilder?
    •  Please submit issues with, or comments about, the SpecBuilder tool to Jen Padgett ( and Una Moneypenny ( Staff will be tracking and monitoring issues, and welcome comments.

  •  Is my info secure?
    • Access is only provided after logging in to the SpecBuilder website, accessed from behind the log in page. Be sure to change your password after you first log into the SpecBuilder.
    •  Proprietary information is made secure by only allowing access to internal document creation on this secure platform.
    • Files are accessible only to registered users, provided permissions by NFRC staff.
    • The history tool documents all activity in chronological order.
    • An activity list identifies the name of the person initiating the activity along with the date, time, and type of activity performed.
    • All activity is recorded.

  • How will NFRC keep non-members from voting?
    • Access to the SpecBuilder tool will be granted via the NFRC Community member status. Current members will be able to access the site once logged into the member portal.
    • Non-members will still be able to see the full list of ballots on the ballots page in the NFRC Community website.

  • As a non-member, will I still be able to review ballots? 
    •  A list of ballots will be available for review but not for voting via the NFRC Ballots page. This page will also announce the ballots that are currently open, with deadlines posted.

Updated 6-13-2019

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