At BSI we are asked to certify many fantastic innovations that meet a specific objective (e.g. a new technology for extinguishing a fire). However, because it’s new and innovative, there often isn’t a suitable standard to certify the product against.
Fear not, there are a few ways to solve this problem, especially if you think outside of the ‘standard’ box.
Whilst the BSI Kitemark™ confirms that a product or service conforms to a particular standard, this means it’s not always compatible with new concepts or products.
The Verification process allows companies to have their product endorsed by BSI, with a view for it to be awarded a Verification Certificate. This is quite different to a Kitemark™ Certificate and it has its own logo – the VerifEye™.
An independent overview of the product and/or process by industry experts can often give you a beneficial advantage in the market place. Verification considers both the type testing to a standard (or equivalent), and a review of the technical file. If this is successfully approved, the certificate is issued, without the need for ongoing surveillance or assessment visits to be carried out as part of the verification process.
Self-testing (including witnessed or third-party testing to your test method) may be the only option open to you, if:
- no standard exists in the market place, or
- evidence is needed that your product has been assessed to a specific requirement
BSI can review your technical information, test data, technical file and reports, and subject to approval - will issue a Verification Certificate to accompany the test report. We will also review the testing, manufacturing and installation (where appropriate) if this aids your application.
The Technical File contains the bulk of the information required and will consist of controlled documentation, including the following:
- Product / Process Description – What it is and what it does and how it does it
- Drawings and or photographs – Identification, so it is recognizable
- Component list – What they are and what they are made of
- Test Report and data – Third party reports, or we can always witness the tests
- Marking – Logos, dates, descriptors, version etc
- User Information – What the client would receive to operate, maintain or repair the product and who to contact
In addition, a record of your complaints/comments procedure (customer feedback) and also a declaration relating to document retention is required. Of course, each Technical File is dependent on the product and the manufacturer’s requirements, so we will look at them on their own merits.
The Verification Certificate and report, whilst only valid on the day of issue, will usually last for three years before expiry (unless withdrawn by either party) which allows time for your product to be recognized and accepted by the marketplace.
We find that during this time the product is often developed, adapted or otherwise improved and ready for a new Verification Certificate by the end of the verification certificate life span. If there are modifications or upgrades that need to be released during the first three years, then we can review these and run through the verification process to recertify the modified product.
Of course, if your product does conform to an existing standard, then there is always the BSI Kitemark™ route, accepted and recognized world-wide.
Author: Antony Field, Certification Manager, Fire Team