What Distinguishes an ISO-Compliant Product Certification Agency?

Whether it’s fair-trade coffee, sustainably harvested lumber, energy efficient appliances, or other certified products, consumers and companies look for products that have high standards of origin, production, and performance. Structural Integrity Associates’ TRU Compliance mark is no different. Our mark shows buyers a product has undergone rigorous assessment for seismic, wind, and blast performance to nationally recognized standards.

However, not all agencies conform to the internationally recognized set of standards that govern a product certification agency, allowing it to be impartial, objective, and accountable to the public. The standard ISO/IEC 17065 Conformity assessment — Requirements for bodies certifying products, processes and services spells out requirements that make agencies like TRU Compliance accountable to its clients and to the public. The requirements in TRU Compliance’s Certification Manual are broad, but they generally fall into the three categories below.

Structural Requirements

The management structure of TRU Compliance is that it is a separate legal entity operating separately from the consulting arms of Structural Integrity, and accountable to different standards. An annual management review meeting occurs highlighting potential areas for improvement in quality and impartiality. An impartiality committee consisting of experts external to TRU Compliance convenes annually as well and reviews the steps TRU has taken to protect the objectivity of their certifications. This committee has the power to escalate issues to the SI’s Quality Assurance department, accrediting organizations, and to halt certification activities until their concerns are addressed.

Process Requirements
Product assessment is carried out to the TRU Compliance Certification Standard for Seismic, Wind, and Physical Security Performance, which references national standards from ASCE, ICC-ES, IEEE, ASTM, and others. This standard is available upon request by emailing info@trucompliance.com. The assessment is not offered in conjunction with any consulting activity and TRU Compliance certification engineers are precluded from working on assessments of products for which they provided design advice for a period of two years.

The evidence documenting a product performance is submitted to an expert member of the TRU Certification Decision Maker (CDM) roster who has not participated in the certification activities up to that point. The CDM reviews all pertinent information and makes the final decision on whether the certification can be granted.

After a product is granted a certification, the manufacturer submits their production process to periodic surveillance to make sure the products for market are well represented by the products submitted for testing or assessment. TRU staff will review records and make factory or point-of-sale inspections to confirm products can still be marked as TRU Compliance certified.

Public Accountability
TRU Compliance maintains public records of products it certifies on its Seismic Certification Database. Visitors can search and sort products rated for seismic certification, filtering for product category, seismic level, and building code. Manufacturers who label their products with a TRU certification mark are communicating to discerning buyers that their product has been subjected to industry standard by testing, analysis, or combinations thereof. The mark of conformity allows any user to search for the active listing to verify the product indeed has an active certification.

TRU Compliance is further accountable to the public with its system for public comment and complaints, which are overseen by Structural Integrity’s Quality Assurance team (reachable at 877-4SI-POWER). This process allows anyone to file a grievance if they believe a certified product is not in conformance and for the management of TRU Compliance to be held accountable to SI’s Quality Assurance department.

With the certification program going active July 2018 and external accreditation expected in early 2019, the TRU Compliance certification has never been a more robust program for seismic, wind, and blast compliance of products.

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