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Accreditation and Quality Standards
by Moncef Souissi
IAS Lab #342 Technical Manager
CTL / Thompson
Accreditation, as defined by the International Accreditation Services (IAS), is a formal recognition that a laboratory is competent to carry out specific tests or calibrations. The accredited laboratory must meet a set of requirements before it can become accredited. To ensure continued compliance, accredited laboratories are regularly examined to ensure they maintain the standards of technical expertise defined by the accrediting agency. These laboratories are also required to participate in regular proficiency testing in order to demonstrate their ongoing technical competence.
Many people may be familiar with ISO/IEC 17025 published by the International Organization of Standards and International Electro Technical Commission, and ISO 9001. So what is the difference? ISO 9001 addresses the quality management system utilized. It does not evaluate the technical competence of a supplier. In other words, the evaluation of a product supplier under ISO9001 does not ensure that the tests, inspections or calibration data are accurate and reliable. Unlike ISO 9001 certification, laboratory accreditation uses criteria and procedures specifically developed to ensure reliable and accurate data (technical competence). ISO/IEC 17025 standards specifically address these factors that are relevant to a laboratory’s ability to produce precise, accurate and reliable data. In summary, for accredited testing and calibration laboratories that are required to demonstrate technical competence as described in their quality systems, ISO/IEC 17025 is the appropriate standard. For manufacturers (such as helical pile manufacturers), ISO 9001 is the appropriate standard.
CTL I Thompson, Inc.
351 Linden St., Suite 140
Fort Collins, CO 80524
Ph # 970-206-9455