Historical agreement between IEC, ILAC and IAF

Nov. 30, 2010
Reducing cost, time and complexity through the pooling of resources

GENEVA – A historic agreement between IEC, ILAC and IAF will help significantly reduce cost, time and complexity for the reassessment of certification bodies and testing laboratories that are accredited by IAF and ILAC Member ABs (Accreditation Bodies). One of the most important outcomes of the tripartite MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) that was signed in Shanghai, China, last month will be that henceforth a single reassessment – instead of three – will suffice and be accepted by all three bodies.

This type of cooperation agreement is unprecedented in the conformity assessment world and builds on years of collaboration between the IEC CA (Conformity Assessment) Systems, ILAC and IAF. It directly and positively impacts the certification bodies and testing laboratories that are accredited by IAF and ILAC Member ABs and operate as registered members of the relevant IEC CA System(s).The three bodies have already put in place a successful pilot program to test this new approach, and have set up a dedicated website (www.iec-ilac-iaf.org) to implement the tripartite agreement.
Under the MoU a common steering committee was created and held its first successful meeting under the chairmanship of Pierre de Ruvo, IECEE Executive Secretary. Regina Robertson, ILAC AIC (Accreditation Committee) Chair has been named secretary. The steering committee will be responsible for developing cooperation strategies, providing support and dealing with project issues and deliverables.
Another objective set out by the MoU is to facilitate a coordinated application of ISO/IEC standards and guidance documents for the purpose of assessment of certification bodies and testing laboratories operating in the IEC CA systems. This includes a common understanding of the technical issues and the harmonization of the respective assessment procedures. Provisions are also made for joint training and workshops for lead assessors, and when possible, joint work on the development of harmonized procedures and policies.                

The IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) is the world's leading organization that prepares and publishes international standards for all electrical, electronic and related technologies. The IEC also manages Conformity Assessment Systems that certify that equipment, systems or components conform to its International Standards.

IECEE is the IEC flagship System for Conformity Assessment of Electrotechnical Equipment and Components. It operates the CB Scheme and the Full Certification Scheme including factory inspections. IECEE provides third-party conformity testing and certification for safety and performance of home and office equipment, home entertainment, medical devices, cables, lighting, portable tools and solar photovoltaic. The IECEE website provides a complete list of product categories.

This system relates to equipment for use in explosive atmospheres. Coverage includes certification of electrical and electronic products and systems in explosion protection and certification of personnel competencies (maintenance and repair). This includes all areas where inflammable gases, liquids and combustible dusts may be present, i.e. the oil and gas industry, mining, refuelling stations for cars, trucks and planes, printing and paint industry, grain storage and handling, and sugar refineries.

The IEC quality assessment system for electronic components covers the supply of components and associated materials and processes, the business-to-business supply chain management systems for avionics, management of electrostatic discharge and use of hazardous substances in manufacturing processes.

ILAC (International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation) is an international cooperation of laboratory and inspection accreditation bodies formed more than 30 years ago to help remove technical barriers to trade. ILAC counts as its members laboratory and inspection accreditation bodies representing more than 90 economies and regional organizations. ILAC provides a focus for developing and harmonizing laboratory and inspection accreditation practices and for promoting laboratory and inspection accreditation to industry, governments, regulators and consumers.

IAF (International Accreditation Forum, Inc.) is the world association of Conformity Assessment Accreditation Bodies and other bodies interested in conformity assessment in the fields of management systems, products, services, personnel and other similar programmes of conformity assessment. Its primary function is to develop a single worldwide program of conformity assessment which reduces risk for business and its customers by assuring them that accredited certificates may be relied upon.