CERTIFICATION - Conformance to standards
The simplest way to ensure that a product meets a standard is to purchase one that is part of a conformity assessment scheme. This is not always obvious but usually products that are part of these schemes will have identifying marks on them. These are referred to as ‘certification marks’.
Certification marks are trademarks that can only be used by licensed manufacturers who have been certified that they meet a set of rules and the product has been assessed against the relevant standard.
The misuse of the certification marks is unlawful. Unfortunately it is becoming more common for manufacturers to illegally apply certification marks to uncertified product.
Product conformity assessment schemes are operated by conformity assessment bodies (CAB) who in turn are controlled by four bodies that make up Australia’s standards and conformance infrastructure – the Joint Accreditation System of Australia and New Zealand (JAS–ANZ); the National Association of Testing Authorities, Australia (NATA); the National Measurement Institute (NMI); and Standards Australia (SA).
JAS–ANZ and NATA are concerned with the accreditation of conformity assessment bodies (CAB).
Product certification is special case of product conformity assessment. It is an independent verification of compliance by the certification body. It provides a third party service in areas where there is trade in relevant goods and services.
The certifying body attests to the conformity of the product based on its evaluation of the product. This evaluation can be conducted by the certifying body itself or may be outsourced to laboratories, inspection bodies or auditors/assessors. In Australia, the EWPAA operates as a certification body and provides an independent verification of wood panel product conformity to the Australian and various other standards.
To understand the standards involved in building, view an interactive guide on the SAI Global website: http://infostore.saiglobal.com/ncc-house/index.html
Guide to verification of certification claims
To verify if the claims made by a manufacturer that their products are certified requires the gathering of information mainly about their certifying body.
- What is the manufacturer’s name?
- What is the product?
- What standard is the manufacturer claiming to meet?
- What is their certification number?
- Who is the certifying body?
- Who is the accreditation body?
- Obtain a copy of their certificate from the online register of the certifying body
Much of this information can be found either printed on the product or on the pack label or simply ask the supplier.
To verify if a manufacturer’s product is certified, you can contact the certifying body or visit their website and search your manufacturer and their product.
The EWPAA manufacturers search can be performed at:
To verify that a certifying body is currently accredited you can contact their accreditor or visit their website and search for your certifying body.
The accreditation details of the EWPAA can be found at:
Another label that you can look for on Australian-made furniture is the emissions tested label which indicates that the product raw materials have been tested and meet Australian requirements. An example of the label can be seen here.