Monday, October 28, 2013

Why Quality Audits Are Part of a Product Certification Program

Clients in the building industry commonly wonder why a quality audit of their plant is required as part of their building product certification program. A simple way to define building product certification is the act of verifying conformance to a standard or other requirement. For a more detailed explanation of building product certification, check out this recent post by NTA President and CEO David Tompos: “What is Building Product Certification?” And to read a clear and concise examination of the differences between building product testing and building product certification, read Project Engineer Corey Nigh’s post: “Product Testing Versus Product Certification.”

ISO/IEC 17065:Conformity assessment ― requirements for bodies certifying products, processes and services states “Certification of products, processes or services is a means of providing assurance that they comply with specified requirements in standards and other normative documents. Some product, process or service certification schemes may include initial testing or inspection and assessment of its suppliers’ quality management systemsfollowed by surveillance that takes into account the quality management system and the testing or inspection of samples from the production and the open market.”
When the certification scheme of a building product is complete, the evaluation report, or the issuance of the certification documentation, is the evidence demonstrating the product meets the specified requirements. However, to ensure the product continues to meet these requirements ― which, in turn, is a requirement of the certification scheme ― a quality system has to be implemented and overseen via regular audits. 
Audits are usually both an internal function required by the plant’s quality system ― to monitor and ensure all materials and procedures related to the production of the product are functioning correctly ― and an external function completed by a certification agency. Although it’s not possible to completely guarantee the performance of a product, a quality system that uses testing and audits to identify non-conformance and generate continuous improvement, gets a building product manufacturer that much closer to it.
NTA is an independent quality assurance and materials testing agency capable of providing a wide range of structural product testing and inspection services. For more information about all the services we have to offer, contact us.

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