Quality Standards for Test Laboratories

Within the test industry, the quality standards that are applicable in other industries have a “stay in business” implication for test laboratories.

For all quality standards to which a company is accredited, the accrediting bodies (e. g., British Standards Institute [BSI], Lloyd’s Register Quality Assurance [LQRA], or the United Kingdom Accreditation Service [UKAS]) will ensure compliance by visiting those companies as follows:

• Surveillance visits every six months—This will involve the accrediting body visiting to audit parts of the quality system in rotation.

• Recertification every three years—This will involve the accrediting body auditing every part of the quality system.

In the United Kingdom, the following quality standards apply. Note that many other internationally accredited quality standards exist, although most follow the same general patterns.

BS EN ISO 9000 Series

The ISO 9000 series sets out methods that can be implemented in an organization to ensure that customers’ requirements are met fully. Not only does a fully documented quality management system ensure that the customers’ requirements are met, but the organization’s requirements also will be met, both internally and externally and at an optimum cost. This is the result of efficient utilization of the available resources— material, human, and technological. This quality standard covers the entire operation of the company, including methods and procedures that a company commits to follow to assure the quality of its service or product that it is supplying to its customers.

The ISO standard is endorsed by Lloyd’s Register Quality Assurance (LRQA) or by British Standards Institute (BSI) and is an international standard. The standard covers disciplines such as the following:

• Customer initial contact through to invoicing procedures

• Service or product tracking through the company procedures

• Service or product quality control procedures

• Quality auditing systems

• Customer concern, follow-up procedures, and so forth

When a company is accredited to BS EN ISO 9000, it is for the entire engine test operation.

United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) (EN 45001)

The United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) is recognized by the government of the United Kingdom as the body responsible for the assessment and accreditation of organizations performing testing. UKAS was formed in 1995 as a company limited by guarantee by the merger of the National Measurement Accreditation Service (NAMAS) and the National Accreditation Council for Certification Bodies.

Testing organizations that comply with the requirements of the NAMAS Accreditation Standard and Regulations are granted NAMAS accreditation by UKAS and are entitled to use the NAMAS logo.

This body provides accreditation for companies operating in the engine testing industry, primarily testing engines, fuels, oils, additives, and components by measurement and sampling.

Engine testing establishments apply to UKAS to be accredited for individual test proce­dures that they perform on their site or premises. These tests are already recognized test procedures; the test house is seeking to demonstrate that it can run the tests competently to UKAS standards.

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