A Day in the Life of a Product Certification Auditor:

From data security to fire door manufacturers, achieving relevant certifications for your business can have a multitude of benefits, both commercially and internally. While not always mandatory, certifications can give a business an advantage over competitors with improved business development and better client retention. BM TRADA is a leading testing, inspection and certification company offering an extensive range of product certification schemes covering both the manufacture of products, such as fire doors, and their installation by certified individuals.  We spoke with one of our experienced audit managers, Steve Roberts, to find out more about a day in the life of an auditor and what the certification process entails for your business.

What is the importance of achieving product certification?

Third party certification is applicable to many industries but it’s of particular importance in the construction industry. Product certification is process of certifying that a specific product or product range has undergone the appropriate appraisal to comply with the performance aspects of the relevant building regulations.  It also confirms that the manufacturer has the appropriate quality assurance processes in place in their factory to ensure that the product is manufactured consistently to the same high standard.  Being accredited by a third party certification body such as BM TRADA gives our customers an advantage over an uncertified company and can give them an advantage in the market place.  

Do auditors have to undertake any training themselves?

To become an auditor for BM TRADA’s product certification schemes, we must first gain the IRCA ISO 9001:2015 Lead Auditor qualification and be trained in the specific requirements of each of the schemes and standards that we audit. This ensures that we have the knowledge to ensure compliance with the scheme requirements and have the necessary skills to conduct a comprehensive audit.  We also take part in regular training sessions as the business continues to improve the content of the schemes and the auditing process to meet the latest requirements of the standards and regulations. Many of BM TRADA’s auditors are experts in their fields, which provides customers with confidence that we have the appropriate background knowledge to ensure that they are compliant with the certification that they hold.

What is the process onsite?

We want to minimize the level of intrusion in the client’s business so we arrange  a mutually convenient date and time for the audit in advance.  We also send out a pre-audit plan to ensure that they are prepared for the audit and have everything required to hand.

A typical day will involve travelling to the site, which could be the client’s office, factory or in the case of Service Provision audits such as Fire Door Installation or Maintenance, a school, hospital or construction site.

Once on site we will meet with the client’s representative and explain the audit process and the scope/criteria of the audit.  We also review any previous audit findings to ensure that any non-conformities have been fully resolved.

We then perform verification of processes, both physical and documented, to ensure consistency across various locations on site. An example of this would be checking that employees know the proper procedure for the process that they’re undertaking. This takes the form of a three-stage process identifying that they know what they’re doing, why they’re doing it and how they know it’s being done correctly. We may review training records as part of this process.

The audit visit concludes with an audit report being issued to the customer and a timescale agreed for resolving any non-conformances. This audit visit report is then sent into the office by the auditor and a review will take place to determine if certification should be awarded/continued.

What are the next steps for a business looking for product certification?

Our comprehensive product certification procedures are globally-respected, which ensures international recognition for your certifications. Get in touch with us today to find out more about the wide range of certification services that we offer across multiple industry sectors. To learn more about the full list of product and personnel certification schemes we provide, please look at our website, or call one of our experts on +44 1494 569750 or email us and we'll get in touch.