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Conformity Assessment Information

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Conformity assessment includes all activities concerned with determining directly or indirectly that relevant requirements in standards or regulations are fulfilled. Conformity assessment procedures provide a means of ensuring that the products, services, or systems produced or operated have the required characteristics, and that these characteristics are consistent from product to product, service to service, or system to system. Conformity assessment includes: sampling and testing; inspection; certification; management system assessment and registration; accreditation of the competence of those activities and recognition of an accreditation program's capability. A specific conformity assessment process may include one or more of these conformity assessment activities. While each of these activities is a distinct operation, they are closely interrelated. In addition, standards are interwoven into all aspects of these activities and can have a major impact on the outcome of a conformity assessment process. Conformity assessment activities form a vital link between standards (which define necessary characteristics or requirements for products) and the products themselves. Together standards and conformity assessment activities impact almost every aspect of life in the United States. The documents and website links listed below are designed to provide an easy way to access some of the basic information on conformity assessment procedures and issues. In the future, we plan to expand the site to include more information on these topics.

NIST Reports on Conformity Assessment

Federal Conformity Assessment Guidance

NIST Directories of Domestic Certification Bodies

NIST Directories of Domestic Laboratory Accreditation Bodies

Mutual Recognition Activities - International

  • Common Criteria Project is an international initiative by CSE (Canada), SCSSI (France), BSI (Germany), NLNCSA (Netherlands) (CESG (UK), NIST (USA) and NSA (USA) to to develop criteria for evaluation of IT security.

  • International Accreditation Forum (IAF) has developed a mutual recognition scheme for accreditors of quality system registrars/certifiers. IAF is expected to expand the system to include accreditors of environmental system registrars and is considering a scheme in the certification area.

  • International Automotive Task Force (IATF) is an "ad hoc" group of automotive manufacturers and their respective trade associations, formed to provide improved quality products to automotive customers worldwide. IATF members include the following vehicle manufacturers: BMW, Daimler Chrysler, Fiat, Ford, General Motors (including Opel Vauxhall), PSA Peugeot-Citroen, Renault SA, Volkswagen and their respective trade associations - AIAG (U.S.), ANFIA (Italy), FIEV (France), SMMT (U.K.) AND VDA (Germany).

  • International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC)

  • International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) is developing an ILAC Multilateral Recognition Arrangement for evaluation of laboratory accreditation bodies.

  • International Organization for Legal Metrology (OIML) is developing a voluntary system for mutual recognition of type approvals and verification of measuring instruments.

  • Global Harmonization Task Force (GHTF) is an effort to respond to the growing need for international harmonization in the regulation of medical devices. The five founding members of the GHTF are: Canada, United States, European Union, Japan, and Australia.

Mutual Recognition Activities - Regional

Information on NIST's National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program (NVLAP)

Information on NIST's Laboratory Accreditation Program for State Labs and Related Legal Metrology Activities

Information on NIST's National Voluntary Conformity Assessment Systems Evaluation (NVCASE) Program

Information on NIST's Measurement Related Conformity Assessment Programs

Information on the National Cooperation for Laboratory Accreditation (NACLA)

Information on Quality System Registration and Related Standards and Activities

Information on Environmental Management System Registration and Related Standards and Activities

Certification Information Related to the Use of Fair Labor Practices

Information on ISO/IEC 17025 - General Requirements for the Competence of Calibration and Testing Laboratories (formerly ISO/IEC GUIDE 25)

NIST Reports on Foreign Conformity Assessment Bodies/Activities

Links to Other Sites of Interest

Contact:  maureen.breitenberg@nist.gov

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For technical questions concerning the Global Standards and Information Group, contact us:

Global Standards and Information Group, Standards Services Division, NIST, 100 Bureau Drive, MS 2100, Gaithersburg, MD 20899-2100
Phone: (301) 975-6094, Fax: (301) 975-4715, Email: gsig@nist.gov

Date created: January 02, 1999
Last updated: January 15, 2003

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