Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Product Certification Checklist

by Brad Wear

Many manufacturers in the construction and building industry are required to have completed a certification program as evidence of quality and code compliance.  However, with today’s concern over product quality and safety many manufacturers are being proactive and voluntarily participating in a product certification program.  Regardless of what industry you are in, a product certification program to verify code compliance is a plus!

A certification program results in more than just verifying certain aspects of your product. The program culminates in a code compliance report that contains details about your product, verifies the products’ compliance to applicable codes and regulations, offers installation information and other valuable details. The certification mark that is also given as evidence of completion of a code compliance program shows code officials and consumers that you are a manufacturer who cares. But how do you go about a obtaining a code compliance report and a certification mark? Where do you even begin? 

Step one: Choosing your testing and certification agency
  • The best agencies (like NTA!) are accredited in three ways:
    • ISO/IEC 17025 for testing
    • ISO/IEC 17020 for inspection
    • ISO/IEC 17065 for certification
This means we are a ‘one stop shop’ that is capable of performing the testing, the quality audits and inspections, and issuing a certification mark when the program is successfully completed.

Step two: Starting the certification process
  • Initially, there is a Certification Program Application to be filled out. It will ask about:
    • Product name, product variations, and material composition
    • The product’s scope or limits of use and its general uses and applications
    • The building codes that are to be evaluated (if applicable), and any existing test data or current certifications that might be able to be accepted as part of the evidence for certification
    • Quality manuals and installation instructions, drawings/schematics, and possible photographs of the product
    • Manufacturing facility information, and general company information
    • A list of included components, and possible alternate components
    • Applicable MSDS
    • Technical Information sheets for the product or included components (if applicable), including any certification information for the components
Once this is completed and submitted, and an account manager is assigned, you will receive a project number and you are on your way to a certification mark!

Step three: The certification process
  • There are several parts to the certification process:
    •  Desk review and assessment of the Quality Manual
    •  Facility (In-Plant) Audit
    • Independent Third-Party sampling of the product 
      • Fully functional samples, which are typical of production, including any hardware (if applicable)
    •  Qualification Testing is performed on sampled product
    • Engineering Evaluation for Certification
    • Issuance of a Listing Report for the certification
      •  More information on a Certification or Listing Report is detailed in “How to Read A Report
      •  This report contains the technical data that can be used as evidence of code compliance and quality
    • A “mark” is provided to place on your products, proudly displaying your commitment to quality and safety to anyone who uses it. 
The commitment to product certification can open doors to markets previously unavailable to you, while increasing market share in your existing ones.

For more information on NTA’s product testing, inspection and certification services, contact us, and let NTA help make your product certification process simple, efficient and seamless.

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