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What is conformity assessment?

Conformity assessment involves a set of processes that show your product, service or system meets the requirements of a standard.

Undergoing the conformity assessment process has a number of benefits:

The main forms of conformity assessment are testing, certification, and inspection.

In addition, ISO has a committee, CASCO, that develops standards and addresses issues related to conformity assessment

Get an overview of conformity assessment with Sean MacCurtain, below.

Looking to get certified?

ISO doesn’t provide certification or conformity assessment. You’ll need to contact an external certification body for that. Read more about certification and how to find a certification body.

Resources for conformity assessment

We have many standards related to performing conformity assessment as well as many other useful publications and resources. Access resources for conformity assessment.

hand that holds a sheet

Certification

Certification is the provision by an independent body of written assurance (a certificate) that the product, service or system in question meets specific requirements. Certification is also known as third party conformity assessment.

Many companies and organizations decide to get certified to one of ISO’s management system standards, such as ISO 9001. This is a way of showing outsiders that the organisation has an effective quality management system in place. Read more about getting certified to ISO’s management system standards.

test tubes

Testing

Testing is the determination of one or more of an object or product’s characteristics and is usually performed by a laboratory.

For example, many people have their blood tested which involves analysing the blood against a number of characteristics such as whether it shows the presence of a disease, or genetic disorder.

CASCO has developed a number of standards that laboratories can follow to help ensure that their results can be trusted.

foreman inspected the wooden structure of the building

Inspection

Inspection describes the regular checking of a product to make sure it meets specified criteria.

Fire extinguishers, for example, need regular inspections to ensure they are safe for use.

CASCO has developed a number of standards that inspection bodies can follow to help ensure that we can trust their work.  

Keeping it consistent

ISO has produced standards to help make conformity assessment activities as uniform as possible across industries and across the world. Amongst other things, this reduces the need for duplication of testing when importing or exporting,thus facilitating global trade.

Read more about ISO’s commitment to facilitating trade.

A Mutual Recognition Agreement or Arrangement (MRA) increases confidence in conformity assessment between countries as it formally recognises the results of each other’s testing, inspection, certification or accreditation, reducing duplication of conformity assessment activities.

Read more about MRAs in ISO/IEC Guide 68:2002

CASCO

CASCO is the ISO committee that develops policy and publishes standards related to conformity assessment. Read more about CASCO.

Are you a member of CASCO?

Tools and resources for CASCO members can be found here (a log in will be required).