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Accreditation – How Far Does it Go?

by Moncef Souissi

IAS Lab #342 Technical Manager

CTL / Thompson

March 2013

So you finally got your accreditation, after months of pulling your hair out and cussing out various people at assorted 3 letter organizations (CTL, IAS, IRS, CIA, etc).  Now what?  You can finally go after those projects in California and New York.  Where else?  How about Denmark?  Japan?  Sure.  Thanks to ILAC.

Globally, the effects of accreditation can be related to two world organizations: WTO and ILAC. In the last 20 years or so, the global economy has seen a shift in the way the nations trade goods and services. This shift has resulted in what we call “Globalization” which culminates in creating the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1995. Today, nearly 90% of all world trade is impacted by WTO. At the time of its establishment, country members of WTO agreed that the absence of technical regulations has created unnecessary obstacles to international trade. WTO officials recognized that technical barriers, in the form of conformity assessment issues, will pose a serious threat to free trade. One common example of technical barrier is the refusal of a country to accept products based on laboratory tests conducted in the countries of origin.

ILAC is the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation ( It was created in 1977 to harmonize the technical requirements for testing and calibration laboratories. Today, it is basically considered the world “governing” body of accreditation. In the USA, there are about 5 or 6 accrediting bodies (such as IAS and A2LA) that are regularly audited by ILAC.  Under the ILAC arrangements, governments around the world have greater assurance that testing and calibration accreditations issued by the signatory bodies around the globe are equivalent in quality. This simplifies international trade without the need and expense of obtaining additional /redundant accreditation from each country.

As the world economy gets more and more interconnected through free trade, manufacturing standards and quality assurance will become more and more essential. Nations will require that products be objectively tested and inspected by accredited laboratories and inspection agencies to technical standards that meet not only nationally recognized building codes and standards, but also align with internally recognized quality standards.  Thanks to ILAC, the efforts made to achieve accreditation in one country will allow you to sell your product in many others.

CTL I Thompson, Inc.

351 Linden St., Suite 140

Fort Collins, CO 80524

Ph # 970-206-9455

Fax 970-206-9441