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The following are step-by-step procedures for seeking AASHTO R18 accreditation, ISO 17025, ASTM E329 and other accreditations through the CMEC Accreditation Program for your construction materials testing laboratory.
This simple five-step process will help you prepare for your laboratory’s on-site assessment. If you have further questions, please contact CMEC online or call 407-628-3682.
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Start by reading the CMEC Laboratory Accreditation Program Procedure Manual and evaluating how the criteria may be applicable to your construction materials testing laboratory. Laboratories requesting accreditation must complete the application form and make arrangements to complete the on-site assessment, quality management system evaluation and proficiency samples.
The applicant laboratory agrees to comply with the requirements for accreditation and supply any information needed to complete the on-site assessment.
After the CMEC Accreditation Program receives your application request, we will call and schedule a date for your on-site assessment. This assessment, as well as the quality management system evaluation, are requirements specified by the CMEC Accreditation Program.
This process includes a visit by CMEC’s laboratory assessors to evaluate the apparatus and procedures used to conduct the physical tests for which the laboratory requested accreditation, and to determine if the laboratory’s quality management system implementation activities are consistent with those specific in the laboratory’s documents.
CMEC bases its on-site assessments on AASHTO and ASTM standard methods of testing. Additional methods employed by various state and local authorities may also be included.
At the completion of each CMEC assessment, the assessor holds a briefing conference with the laboratory manager or supervisor to summarize the findings and point out any nonconformities requiring corrective actions. These nonconformities may include deviations from standard methods of testing for which accreditation is requested or with the laboratory’s quality management system.
The assessor leaves a copy of the preliminary report, signed by the assessor and the laboratory manager, confirming any nonconformities. On returning to the office, the assessor prepares a formal report and sends it to the laboratory.
The laboratory must provide satisfactory evidence that all nonconformities noted were either corrected or that action has been taken to correct the nonconformities before CMEC can grant accreditation. In most cases, this evidence will take the form of written documentation.
Occasionally, however, because of action or inaction by the management of a laboratory, another visit to the laboratory may be required before granting accreditation. The laboratory may have to pay an additional fee for this service if it is required.
Proficiency testing is an additional factor used to evaluate the performance of a laboratory. It provides information not otherwise available from the on-site assessment and a means of continued monitoring of laboratory performance.
The CMEC Accreditation Program requires laboratories to participate in all applicable CMEC proficiency testing programs depending on the field(s) of testing for which the laboratory is seeking accreditation. Participation includes performing all test methods within the scope of a laboratory’s accreditation on all applicable samples distributed within the specified time frame, and returning the resulting data to CMEC for analysis.
The distribution of proficiency samples by CMEC will not generally coincide with the on-site assessment. Initial accreditation may be granted to a laboratory if it has enrolled in the appropriate proficiency testing program(s) but the distribution schedule is such that it has not received samples for testing. This assumes all other criteria for the accreditation has been met. However, continued participation in the program(s) is required to maintain accreditation.
The accreditation decisions are made by the Executive Director and staff, who have been designated by the CMEC Board of Directors to act as Management Council for the CMEC Accreditation Program. All accreditation decisions are confined to matters specifically related to the scope of the accreditation being considered.
CMEC evaluates a laboratory’s accreditation status after CMEC assessments, every 12 months after the initial on-site assessment and whenever there is evidence to question a laboratory’s conformance to accreditation requirements.