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EA – Continuation as a recognised regional cooperation body of ILAC has been confirmed

As a result of the recent ILAC Arrangement Council ballot, the continuation of the recognition for the European co-operation for Accreditation (EA) as a recognised regional cooperation body of ILAC has been confirmed. The endorsed AMC recommendation is shown below:

 

The ILAC AMC recommends that the scope of recognition of the EA MLA to the ILAC MRA be:

 

  • continued for the accreditation of calibration and testing laboratories using ISO/IEC 17025, medical testing laboratories using ISO 15189, inspection bodies using ISO/IEC 17020, proficiency testing providers using ISO/IEC 17043 and reference material producers using ISO 17034.

 

It is recommended that the next re-evaluation of EA is scheduled to begin no later than July 2026.

 

Information on the recognised regions including EA to the ILAC MRA is available from https://ilac.org/ilac-mra-and-signatories/recognised-regional-cooperation-bodies/

 

We look forward to continuing to work with our colleagues from EA.

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ILAC-BIPM MoU Reaffirmed

The ILAC and International Bureau for Weights and Measures (BIPM) Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has recently been reaffirmed.

The MoU supports the already established and ongoing development of links between accreditation and metrology.  In addition, it recognises the need to cooperate on actions in respect of our tasks related to national and international measurement infrastructure.

Information on the BIPM and ILAC partnership, including a copy of the reaffirmed MoU, is available from here.

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2023 ILAC GA RESOLUTIONS

The meeting of the 27th ILAC General Assembly was held on the 13 and 15 of November 2023 in Montreal, Canada.   

The adopted resolutions from the ILAC 2023 General Assembly are now available here.

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Latest revisions of ILAC P5, P8 and R6 published

ILAC-P5:11/2023 – ILAC Mutual Recognition Arrangement: Scope and Obligations.
This document describes the elements of the ILAC Mutual Recognition Arrangement (hereinafter referred to as the Arrangement) for conformity assessment body accreditation covered by the Arrangement.

ILAC-P8:2023 – ILAC Mutual Recognition Arrangement (Arrangement): Supplementary Requirements for the Use of Accreditation Symbols and for Claims of Accreditation Status by Accredited Conformity Assessment Bodies.
The requirements in this document have been developed to ensure a more uniform approach to the use of accreditation symbols and for the manner in which a CAB may refer to its accreditation status and make claims in relation to the ILAC MRA. 

ILAC-R6:11/2026 – Structure of the ILAC Mutual Recognition Arrangement and Procedure for Expansion of the Scope of the ILAC Arrangement.
This document describes the structure of the ILAC Mutual Recognition Arrangement as well as the steps to be used by ILAC to consider and approve new international accreditation programs for inclusion in the ILAC Arrangement.

P5 and P8 are available here and R6 is available here.

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Signatory Status – SCC, Canada

The signatory status of Standards Council of Canada (SCC), Canada, to the ILAC MRA has been extended to include the accreditation of Proficiency Testing Providers (ISO/IEC 17043).

The full list of signatories to the ILAC MRA is available from https://ilac.org/signatory-search/ .

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CASCO Webinar: Conformity assessment building trust in a digital world

ISO/CASCO has extended an invite to this webinar to anyone that is interested in ensuring quality and safety in a complex and digital world.

In this webinar: Conformity assessment building trust in a digital world, CASCO will address the assessment of increasingly complex and digitalized objects, processes, services and systems with the aim of providing assurance of quality and safety.

The webinar will take place on Tuesday, 21 November 2023, from 13:00 to 14:30 CET.

This webinar follows on from the CASCO Workshop on conformity assessment and digitalization, held as part of the 37th CASCO Plenary in April 2023 however attendance at the April workshop is not a prerequisite to attending this webinar.

Click here to find out more about the event and to register.

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Accredited testing laboratories for the construction and civil works sector in Colombia.

By: Paola Aguirre V., Diana Jácome M., and Mauricio Rodríguez R. International Technical Direction. National Accreditation Body of Colombia – ONAC

Let’s start with a little history about accredited laboratories in Colombia.

When we talk about accredited laboratories, it is important to highlight the fact that the first accreditation granted by ONAC in laboratories scheme, was to a construction and civil works one. It was in 2009 (14 years ago), the same year ONAC started with the accreditation activity in the country.

Today, this is the sector with the highest number of accredited testing laboratories (52) that represents 19% of the total number of accredited testing laboratories. Thus, since 2019 a growth trend has been evidenced in this sector of laboratories, as identified in Graph 1, the highest growth rate was achieved in 2021, reaching 10 new accredited laboratories. Moreover, the first semester of 2023, accreditation has been granted to 3 new laboratories and there are another 5 in the process of accreditation, maintaining the growth trend that started since 2019.

In addition, it is worth mentioning that since 2014, the testing laboratories scheme has the international recognition signed with the InterAmerican Accreditation Cooperation (IAAC) and the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC), which are multilateral agreements that allows around 100 economies worldwide to accept and recognize the results issued by testing laboratories accredited by ONAC.

 

Graph 1

Additionally, Graph 1 also shows the number of new laboratories accredited pr year (grants), the increase in the number of testing or the number of sites (expansion), laboratories that have had their accreditation withdrawn (withdrawals), and the net number of accredited laboratories in the sector. Thus, since the first accredited laboratory, the sector achieves an average growth rate of 3.3 new laboratories per year.

Regarding the withdrawals of accreditation, no clear trend is observed, these are considered isolated cases, with a maximum of 4 for 2022, 2 in the years 2015 and 2017, and values of 1 or 0, for the other years. On the other hand, in the last years there is also an increasing trend regarding the expansion of accreditation, taking into account that only until 2013 the first expansion of the scope was presented by one laboratory accredited in the construction sector, with values between 1 or 2 laboratories that expanded their accredited scope between 2013 and 2020.

In the last two years there was a substantial increase in applications, 8 laboratories in 2021, 9 laboratories in 2022 and 4 so far in 2023 have expanded their accredited scope, showing that not only in the last two years the number of accredited laboratories in the sector has increased, but that laboratories are seeking to expand the portfolio or capacity of their accredited services to meet market needs.

The fact that the number of accreditations for testing laboratories in this sector is predominant with respect to the other sectors of laboratories accredited by ONAC, demonstrates the importance and confidence that the user of these services, recognize in accreditation, which is a fundamental element to confirm the competence to guarantee the validity of the results that are issued, from which relevant decisions will be taken within the processes of planning and execution of the constructions and civil works.

Overview of accredited laboratories

When we talk about accredited laboratories, it is important to keep in mind which is the scope of each accreditation, i.e., which are the specific activities that each laboratory performs competently. These scopes are dynamic and depend on the services that each laboratory has demonstrated that can perform competently, including, in effect, the traceability of its measurements to the International System of Measurements (SI).

One of the aspects that are part of the accredited scope are the laboratory locations, from which three types of laboratories can be differentiated: permanent, on-site and mobile laboratories. The first ones, are those that perform the tests in the permanent location of the laboratory, which is clearly registered in the accredited scope and using equipment that cannot be moved from one location to another.

The second category is characterized because the tests are performed with portable equipment, directly at the sampling site, which may be at the front of the construction or civil works, delivering results immediately in most cases. And the last one, it is the complete laboratory that moves to the sampling site, regardless of the nature of the equipment used in the tests. Each type of laboratory presents a series of conditions, restrictions and benefits when providing services, but, as long as they are covered by the accreditation granted by ONAC, they comply with the elements of competence established in the international standard ISO/IEC 17025 and the requirements of the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC).

Currently, ONAC has 52 accredited Conformity Assessment Bodies (CABs) for this sector, legal entities that subscribe the accreditation with ONAC. The operational headquarters or Laboratories reach a total of 67 (permanent site) covering 11 departments from 32 in whole country, and 20 cities and/or municipalities, information that can be identified in Figure 1. Additionally, fourteen (14) CABs have laboratories that are accredited to perform on-site testing and one (1) corresponds to a mobile laboratory, being this the only sector that has this type of laboratory.

Graph 2

As can be seen in Figure 1, the largest number of accredited laboratories are located in the city of Bogotá, D.C., with 32 laboratories, equivalent to 48% of the total, Antioquia has 8 laboratories, representing 12%, Atlántico with 7 laboratories, reaches 10%, Cundinamarca with 6 laboratories equals 9%, Santander with 4 laboratories accredited laboratories reaches 6%, Norte de Santander with 3 laboratories reaches 5%, Valle del Cauca and Bolívar with 2 laboratories, 3% each one and Risaralda, Caldas and Boyacá with 1 laboratory, correspond to 1.5% each one. In general terms, testing activities for the sector are centralized in the departments of the Andean, Caribbean and Pacific regions, covering the main capital cities. It is important to clarify that the 14 on-site laboratories and the mobile laboratory cover the entire national territory.

 

When we refer to the scopes accredited in Construction laboratories, it is possible to analyze them from several aspects, starting with the type of testing provided, as shown in Graph 2, in which tests under mechanical techniques predominate, reaching 40% of the total accredited tests offered by the accredited laboratories, tests that include: tensile, tension, breakage, compression, among others, to determine material resistance.

Graph 3

Secondly, there are gravimetric techniques, which constitute 35 % of the total number of accredited tests, including: moisture determination and ratios, particle size distribution, aggregate index, density, among others. 12% corresponds to physical tests, which include the determination of surface quality, linear mass, moisture content by distillation, among others. 6 % of the accredited tests are dimensional, with tests such as: measurement of projections in bars, thickness of compacted specimens of asphalt mixtures, measurement of graphite and wires, among others.

And finally, the remaining 7% (Others) corresponds to tests performed under various techniques such as: physicochemical, colorimetry, optical emission spectrophotometry, rheology, among others. All these tests are of great relevance for the sector, as they allow to determine the quality of materials and items, and thus guarantee their reliability and adequacy in the construction processes.

Another way to classify the accredited scopes of the sector’s laboratories corresponds to the test item, although a laboratory may have within its portfolio, for example, tests in the mechanical field, this is limited to a detailed group of items, for which it has demonstrated that it can provide services competently. Graph 3 shows the distribution of accredited tests by type of item.

 

Graph 4

 

The accredited tests cover several types of items and materials. Among these, we find tests for soils, rocks and aggregates (fine and coarse aggregates), which are mostly gravimetric and the most offered in the sector, reaching 49 % of the total accredited scopes. Then, with 17 % are the tests performed on asphalt, cement and pavements, including hydraulic cement, and with 9 % the tests on asphalt mixtures, in which for these two types of materials the tests are predominantly of mechanical and gravimetric type.

Accredited tests on steel materials (rebar, smooth bars, electro welded mesh, smooth and drawn steel wire, among others) represent 12 % of the total number of tests, and for this type of materials, most of the tests are mechanical. Tests on concrete (including hydraulic concrete) and prefabricated concrete, in which mechanical compression and flexural tests predominate, represent 9 %, and tests on masonry materials (paving blocks, slabs, bricks, blocks, etc.) of mechanical type represent 4 %.

Although the materials and items mentioned above are those that predominate in the construction and civil works sector, there are also accredited testing laboratories that offer services for complementary materials and items or items of indirect use for the sector, such as electrical elements, plastics, pipes, among others. All these scopes and the accredited laboratories that provide these services can be consulted in the Official Directory of Accredited Laboratories – DOA.

If we analyze the accredited scopes by type of standard or testing standards used for the provision of services, we can identify a distribution as shown in Graph 4. In which we can see that 47% of the tests offered by accredited laboratories in this sector are performed according to the guidelines of the standards of the National Roads Institute (INVIAS), which is probably related to the needs generated by the institutions that outline the requirements in the contracting of public civil works.

Graph 5

While 34 % of the accredited tests are performed under National Technic Colombian standard – NTC standards, issued by ICONTEC, recognized by the Colombian Government as the National Standardization Organization, these standards are usually adoptions of international standards or standards developed by national standardization committees. In a low percentage, 9%, there are tests with ASTM international standards, and 10% with other standards such as AASHTO (American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials), API (American Petroleum Institute), among others.

Considering that almost half of the tests are performed with INVIAS standards, documents based on NTC standards, which are derived from international standards such as ASTM, it is necessary to call attention to the fact that these standards are outdated in relation to the international documents on which they are based (mainly 2013).

This is due to the fact that the speed with which international standards are produced and updated is greater than the speed with which these documents are adopted in Colombia; even more so, when they are included in National Technical Regulations or in the terms for contracting of these services by the State. This lack of updating represents a competitive disadvantage for national laboratories in relation of the mutual recognition agreements that ONAC has signed with ILAC.

Finally, from the information available in ONAC, it is possible to identify the type of organization that owns the accredited laboratories. Most of the accredited laboratories in the sector correspond to private entities, reaching 85%, being clear that it is this type of entities that can adjust their strategies, budgets and operations in a more dynamic way to the market demand in this economic sector. The remaining 15% of the laboratories correspond to public entities. Now, considering the importance of this sector in a developing country like ours, it is highlighted that the academy has taken part in this sector, 9 laboratories are identified ascribed to educational institutions, reaching a participation of 17 %, three laboratories of SENA (National Learning Service) and 6 laboratories of universities, of which two correspond to public universities.

Some reflections

The analysis carried out allows identifying the growth trend of accredited testing laboratories for the construction and civil works sector, as well as some classifications that can be made based on the accredited scopes and the legal nature of the accredited laboratories, but it also allows showing the areas, specific sectors, techniques, items or materials, where there is no supply or the existing supply is insufficient.

An economic and growth sector, such as construction and civil works, in terms of infrastructure for a country owes its success, growth and contribution to society, in part to the quality assurance of its processes, as well as the search for efficiency in its construction methods, for which accredited conformity assessment services, such as the activities performed by testing laboratories, are fundamental and indispensable, in the different stages, from planning, to the confirmation of designs and compliance with specifications once the works or constructions are completed.

For this reason, having a greater capacity of accredited testing, with a greater offer and with the globally accepted level of competence, is a strategic aspect in the competitiveness of the sector.

 

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Tutorial on the ITU Testing Laboratories Recognition Procedure

If you missed the ITU Tutorial that included a presentation by Erik Øhlenschlæger​, ILAC AIC Chair, the background information and recording is now available here

 

This tutorial provides guidance for all stakeholders on the Testing Laboratories recognition procedure established by ITU, its benefits and the logistical details required for submitting an application for ITU recognition of a testing laboratory competent to test according to ITU-T Recommendations, in collaboration with existing accreditation bodies.

 

The ITU-T Guideline on Testing Laboratory Recognition procedure defines recognition criteria for TLs from laboratories that are accredited by an Accreditation Body (AB) that is a signatory to the ILAC Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) for testing where the scope of accreditation contains ITU-T Recommendation(s).

 

ILAC published the ILAC Assessment Procedure in the field of Telecommunications​. This document was created in the framework of cooperation established under the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), IAF and ILAC.

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ILAC Secretariat Update October 2023

ILAC members and colleagues, we are abandoning our traditional Secretariat update covering all things ILAC for this edition of ILAC News, as it is with mixed emotions that I confirm this is the last edition of ILAC News from the current Secretariat.

 

A significant chapter in the history of ILAC comes to an end on 31 December when the contract between NATA and ILAC for the provision of Secretariat services concludes. The ILAC Secretariat has been staffed via a Deed of Agreement (DoA) with NATA since 1996 when the formal cooperation to establish ILAC was signed and even prior to this period, NATA resourced the Secretariat from the inception of ILAC as a conference in 1977.

 

Many of you will recall the key staff that have managed the ILAC Secretariat under the NATA DoA, in particular, Ann Margaret Gilmour and Alan Squirrell, who each made a significant contribution in supporting and growing the organisation from its earliest foundation.

 

On behalf of the current staff, Sharon, Hannah, Joelle, Rose, Stephanie and myself, I would like to thank all our members, liaison partners and colleagues and the IAF Secretariat for their support in progressing the work, profile and role of ILAC to become the internationally recognised organisation it is today. It has been a pleasure and privilege to work with all of you, with so many wonderful learning experiences and friendships made along the way.

 

During my time as the ILAC Secretary (2007 – 2023) I have been very fortunate to have had an exceptional team of loyal, skilled and dedicated staff that made it possible for the Secretariat to deliver the range of services that have continued to grow and expand over this period.  That is especially the case with the current team members working with me during these final months and I want to acknowledge their support, dedication and professionalism, without which it would not have been possible to maintain the required level of service.  

 

We will be actively working to support a smooth and comprehensive transition process to the new Secretariat team for the remainder of 2023 and during the first quarter of 2024.  Details of the new Secretariat will be announced by ILAC and IAF when finalised. The new Secretariat will be supporting and guiding you from 1 January 2024, and also working to prepare the foundations for a single international organisation for accreditation! We look forward to seeing the continued growth, development and acceptance of accreditation in the international arena.

 

The staff of the ILAC Secretariat send our very best wishes to all for a safe and exciting future.   

 

Thank you!

 

 

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CRESAC celebrates WAD 2023
World Accreditation Day 2023 celebrations, organized by the Regional Center for Evaluation in Education, Environment, Health and Accreditation in Africa (CRESAC) were held on Friday June 9, 2023, at the Amphitheater of the UFR of Pharmaceutical and Biological Sciences of the Felix Houphouët Boigny (FHB) University of Cocody. The generic theme was: “Accreditation: Supporting the future of global trade.” 
 
The subthemes developed by CRESAC were entitled:
 
  1. “Issues and Challenges of accreditation in the sustainable development of global trade: Case of the health and education sectors”.
  2. “CRESAC: Regional accreditation opportunity”.
 
This day was co-sponsored by:
  • the Minister of Health, Public Hygiene and Universal Health Coverage (MSHP-CMU), Mr. Pierre DIMBA,
  • and the Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, Professor Adama DIAWARA.
 
The agenda for the day was structured around two important activities:
  • Speeches;
  • Conferences.
1. The speeches
 
  • PCO speech: Welcome and content of the agenda
The day began with a welcome from Professor MONDE Absalome, Head of the Studies and Development Department and President of the Organizing Committee. He addressed warm greetings from CRESAC to the authorities and participants and brought to their attention the content of the day’s agenda.
 
  • Speech by the President of FHB University
The teacher Vincent MONSAN, Vice-President of the University, representing Professor BALLO Zié, President of the Félix-Houphouët Boigny University of Cocody (University hosting the ceremony) indicated that his university was honored by the choice made on it to host such an event.
He also in his speech, recommended to decision-makers to preserve the interests of future generations before hoping in his closing remarks, that the “exchanges resulting from this day lead to an improvement in higher education and health of our populations.”
 
  • Speech by the Executive Secretary of CRESAC
The Executive Secretary of CRESAC, Professor SESS Daniel first thanked his hosts who, through their presence, gave a special shine to this commemorative meeting of the 16th World Accreditation Day. He then noted the need for professionals in the various fields concerned as the world is changing.
 
Mr. Executive Secretary indicated that quality being at the heart of all activity “accreditation bodies and the various players in the quality sector have a duty to work to meet the challenge of fighting for quality and the well-being of our fellow citizens”.
 
The Executive Secretary took the opportunity to present the history of CRESAC, and bring to the attention of the assembly certain achievements including upgrading of the centers of health, development of benchmarks, achievement of accreditation, etc.
 
Mr. Executive Secretary also announced the prospects of accreditation of new laboratories and his vision of seeking the status of signatory of the Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) of ILAC.
 
At the end of his speech, he expressed his warm thanks to the Ministers.
 
  • Speech by the Representative of the Minister of SHP-CMU (Opening of the day)
Professor Soro _ Kountelé Gona, Deputy Chief of Staff, representing Mr. DIMBA Pierre, Minister of Health, Public Hygiene and Universal Health Coverage (MSHP-CMU) welcomed the multiple efforts undertaken by CRESAC, headed by SESS Professor Daniel for the commitment to the culture of quality.
 
In his message, he noted that today’s world is more interconnected than ever, with trade that transcends borders and continents.
 

2. Conferences 

  • 1st Conference
This conference hosted by Ms. Professor DOSSO Mireille, Director of the Pasteur Institute of Ivory Coast, had the theme: “Issues and challenges of accreditation in the sustainable development of global trade: Case of the health and education sectors”.
 
It has structured its development around three axes:
– Definition of the concepts of quality, certification and accreditation
– Issues and challenges of accreditation in education
– Issues and challenges of accreditation in health
 
Regarding the issues and challenges of accreditation in the sustainable development of global trade in the health and education sectors, Professor DOSSO Mireille highlighted the interest in accreditation by demonstrating that it can add value to an organization by establishing trust in its goods and services, improving its competitiveness and making it easier to monitor its compliance in order to “Support the future of global trade.”
 
For her, accreditation in the Higher Education sector will promote the implementation, deployment and recognition of the reform of the License-Master-Doctorate (LMD) system of our States on a global scale, as well as the universalization of knowledge and academic mobility requirements.
 
For the speaker, health accreditation consists of committing to reducing the risks linked to care in order to resolve the equation of sustainability of human existence in global trade.
 
In short, health accreditation remains the key to reducing the challenges in health globally, as well as many problems and potential consequences of this sector, in order to promote global trade.
 
The discussions with the speaker were then moderated by Professor Mamadou SAMBA, Director General of Health.
 
  • 2nd Conference
The second conference was moderated by Professor BONNY Jean-Sylvain, Head of the Occupational Medicine Department of the UFR SMA, who is also a member of the CRESAC executive secretariat.
 
The theme of his intervention was:
“CRESAC: Regional accreditation opportunity”
 
From the outset, he gave the history of the creation of CRESAC and presented its opportunities in the field of accreditation noting that CRESAC remains a benchmark in terms of accreditation, especially since its scope covers several areas.
 
Professor Jean-Sylvain BONNY presented the accreditation procedure:
  1. Accreditation request (Applicant organization)
  2. Examination of the application and notification to the applicant
  3. Preparing for the evaluation visit
  4. Initial assessment
  5. Decision of the Sectoral Accreditation Committee
  6. Notification of the decision to the requesting organization.
 
He presented the opportunities of CRESAC accreditation as contributing to regional positioning and affecting competition in the global market.
 
For Professor Jean-Sylvain BONNY, the laboratories demonstrate their competence and high level of quality thanks to accreditation to international standards, thus strengthening their quality management system.
 
It also increases business efficiency, governance, productivity and profits. Accreditation to globally recognized standards is increasingly important due to competition in the global marketplace.
 
Additionally, accreditation increases the level of investor confidence and strengthens collaboration between suppliers from different countries.
 
The exchanges between the speaker and the public were moderated by Professor MONDE Absalome, Head of the Studies and Development Department of CRESAC.
 
  • Conclusion
The closing speech was made by Professor GNAGNE-KOFFI Yolande, Technical Advisor to the Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, responsible for Health. On behalf of the Minister, she addressed words of thanks, encouragement and congratulations to CRESAC, for having developed this precious theme showcasing the challenges in the accreditation of our education and health systems with a view to making a significant contribution in the sustainable development of world trade.
 
She, on behalf of the Minister, congratulated Professor SESS for the strong actions carried out to promote accreditation in Africa and confirming the availability of the ministry to support CRESAC.
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