What Separates an Accredited Lab?
When it comes to excellence for laboratories internationally, the bar is set by the ISO/IEC 17025 standard. ISO/IEC 17025 specifies the general requirements for the competence, impartiality, and consistent operation of laboratories and is the standard that accrediting organizations, like the American Association for Laboratory Accreditation (A2LA), use to evaluate laboratories globally. Labs seeking accreditation are audited to ensure that they possess, among other characteristics, the following:
- A robust quality system & quality assurance procedures
- Precisely calibrated and properly maintained testing and environmental conditioning equipment
- Experienced, proficient, and highly trained staff
- Accurate recording and reporting procedures using the most current and relevant testing procedures
Certificates from accredited labs can be looked to with confidence to make sound judgments during the design process or to properly assess and mitigate risk when selling or specifying products in the marketplace.
What About Non-Accredited Labs?
In contrast, non-accredited labs aren’t required to adhere to any of the standards listed above. They can place their fabric samples that may or may not be cut to the right size on a potentially non-calibrated machine in environmental conditions that don’t meet the specifications of the test standard and then interpret the results however they’d like.
The situation above is a worst-case scenario and is not always what occurs in non-accredited labs however the questions that arise with non-accredited test results are precisely the reason that such results cannot be used in a court of law.
Utilizing a laboratory accredited to perform the test method needed removes the uncertainties. In a field claim or the event of a catastrophe, you’ll want to be able to provide an accredited result proving that proper testing was done before selling or specifying a fabric into the marketplace.