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Standard Interpretation



Standard: NEFAP
Section: 6.1.1.1
Link to relevant standard

REQUEST:

In regards to the 8/10 meeting minutes the requirement reads that the application must be completed within 9 months. This is in direct violation of ISO/IEC 17011. An application for accreditation is completed when accreditation is granted and it take at times 12 months to get accredited even without undue delays caused by the AB and/or the CAB (FSMO). An AB is required to have a policy in place to handle delays with assessments and make a judgment based upon action and/or non-action of the CAB. I do not read the requirement any other way. Section 6.1.1.1 states "... [an AB must] complete action on an application within nine (9) months from the time a completed application is first received from the FSMO. This time period shall not apply if delays are caused by the FSMO responses to the accreditation process, on-site assessment or proficiency testing requirements beyond the required time limits set forth in this standard."

The second sentence which ties back to the first sentence talks about the entire accreditation process therefore this requirement means that from the time the application is received the FSMO must be accredited within 9 months unless delays are caused by the FSMO. As I already mentioned, it can take up to 12 months if not longer especially if follow-up visits are necessary to accredit a CAB and neither the AB or the CAB is causing any delays.

TNI FINAL RESPONSE:

Section 6.1.1.1 and the reference to 9 months are additions to ISO/IEC 17011 language and provide a timeline for the completed process of the <u><i>application</i></u> and not accreditation. This is not in violation of ISO/IEC 17011 which identifies having <i>sufficient competent</i> personnel available. These are two different issues (completing action on an application versus completing accreditation). Accreditation may take longer.