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Conformity Assessment

Conformity assessment


What does "conformity assessment" mean?

At its simplest, "conformity assessment" means checking that products, materials, services, systems or people measure up to the specifications of a relevant standard. For example, a customer may want to check that the product he or she ordered from a supplier meets the purpose for which it is required. One of the most efficient ways to do this is when the specifications of the product have been defined in an International Standard. That way, both supplier and customer are on the same wavelength, even if they are based in different countries, because they are both using the same references.

Why is conformity assessment so important?

Today, many products require testing for conformance with specifications or compliance with safety or other regulations before they can be put on many markets. Even simpler products may require supporting technical documentation that includes test data. With so much trade taking place across borders, it may just not be practical for these activities to be carried out by suppliers and customers, but rather by specialized third parties. In addition, national legislation may require such testing to be carried out by independent bodies, particularly when the products concerned have health or environmental implications. In fact, conformity assessment has become an important component of world trade which is most often carried out by specialist organizations, such as inspection and certification bodies and testing laboratories.