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Significance and Use
This practice provides basic criteria for evaluating the qualifications of agencies utilizing the test methods promulgated by ASTM in Section 4, Construction, of the Annual Book of ASTM Standards. The existence of a formal accrediting authority such as a federal, state, municipal, or nongovernmental body is not necessary for the use of this practice. These criteria may be supplemented by more specific criteria for particular classes of testing, quality assurance, and evaluative agencies. Specification E 329
The intent of this practice is to provide a “consensus-system” standardized basis for evaluating a testing, quality assurance, or evaluating agency with respect to its capability to provide the specific service(s) needed by the user without prejudice to the agency offering other services or being affiliated with other agencies or organizations. In those situations where a strict literal interpretation of the phrase “shall be made available,” as used in this practice, would be inordinately burdensome to an agency, it will generally be sufficient that the agency concerned has the information available for “on-site” review.
The criteria of this practice are described in terms of the basic information necessary for an accrediting authority to evaluate the capability, with respect to objectivity, and competency of a testing, quality assurance, and evaluating agency regarding common characteristics pertaining to the organization, human resources, material resources, and quality systems employed by the agency in performing the services offered. Typically, accreditation of an agency involves the following three essential phases:
Submittal, to an involved accrediting authority, of basic information in accordance with the criteria of this practice by an interested agency.
Evaluation of the agency-submitted information by the involved accrediting authority.
Verification, “on-site,” of the agency-submitted information by the respresentative(s) of the involved accrediting authority.
Although three categories are presented, an agency may provide one or any combination of these categories for which it can qualify. An agency requesting qualification under more than one category must satisfy the criteria for each category for which acceptability is desired.
The criteria set forth herein represent areas upon which agreement can be reached. There may be other areas to be given consideration which may be of importance to the user. The user should include such other areas as a part of its own criteria.
This practice represents minimum criteria necessary to perform, monitor, or evaluate the test results of those standards promulgated by ASTM Committee E-6.
It is anticipated that the ultimate user of this practice will have the expertise necessary to exercise good judgment in the areas of human resources, physical resources, and quality systems of the agency being evaluated.
Note 1—For example, when judging the qualifications of the various individuals in a particular agency, related factors or alternative resources (such as mechanical, electrical, or electronic equipment used to aid, control, or monitor the work of the personnel) should be considered when assessing the overall qualifications of such individuals. The job experience and the reliability of the individual should also be considered in the judgment, where applicable.
When assessing the organization and the resources of a particular agency, the judgment should take into account only those factors or resources specifically related to the technological area being served by the agency in terms of the specific evaluation, and only as necessary to form an adequate judgment in relation to the evaluation. Conversely, those technological areas served by a particular agency that are not required to be evaluated in a specific instance should not be impugned through the lack of such evaluation. The absence of evaluation or the denial of accreditation by any one party should not prejudice future evaluations by other parties because small differences in needs can influence the judgement of users. The use of this practice does not abrogate the right to “due process” necessary to all assessments under this practice. The right of rebuttal to any conclusions drawn during an accreditation procedure shall be extended to the agency.
Each act of evaluation should be viewed as a “one-to-one” judgment and should not be construed as being a universal judgment by others interested in the agency's services. In order to ensure proper interpretation of each act of evaluation, the purpose of the evaluation and the evaluation area shall be clearly specified in any report of an evaluation made pursuant to this practice.
1.1 This practice provides a guide for the information to be obtained and provides specific recommended criteria for evaluating the capabilities of an agency to conduct inspections and tests and to report on tests performed in accordance with ASTM standards primarily on factory built components and assemblies.
1.2 The criteria in this practice describe the basic information used in judging the capability of an agency to perform its intended functions objectively and competently as well as to disclose possible conflicts of interest judged from the standpoint of the user of this practice. Testing, approval, and certification of a company's own products and services by its own testing agency does not necessarily constitute a conflict of interest.
1.3 The criteria presented herein are divided into three categories of endeavor, namely,
Part A—Standards and Criteria for Testing Agencies
Part B—Standards and Criteria for Quality Assurance Agencies
Part C—Standards and Criteria for Evaluating Agencies
1.4 The fundamental purpose of this practice is to provide criteria for evaluating an agency as denoted in 1.3 either by a user of that service or by an accrediting authority.
1.5 It is not the purpose of this practice to provide a basis for determining the quality of a product or service being evaluated.
1.6 This practice is not intended for the evaluation of those activities normally associated with the production and sale of products and the like, such as a manufacturer's internal quality program. However, any organization may request or perform an evaluation of its own in-house facilities under this practice if it so desires.
1.7 It is not the intent of this practice to be the basis for the determination of the type of agency to be selected by the user.
1.8 This practice can be used in conjunction with Specification E 541
1.9 Specification E 329
1.10 The use of SI or inch – pound units, or combination of, will be the responsibility of the technical committees referred to in this standard.
2. Referenced Documents (purchase separately) The documents listed below are referenced within the subject standard but are not provided as part of the standard.
E329 Specification for Agencies Engaged in Construction Inspection, Testing, or Special Inspection
E541 Specification for Agencies Engaged in System Analysis and Compliance Assurance for Manufactured Building
E651/E651M Practice for Evaluating Capabilities of Agencies Involved in System Analysis and Compliance Assurance for Manufactured Building
ICS Number Code 91.060.01 (Elements of buildings in general)