Is UKAS accreditation worth the cost and effort?

Ian Robinson 2017 v2

Ian Robinson
Business Services Manager, Assurity Consulting
8th July 2016

We are now in our 25th year of UKAS accreditation for air and water quality testing and sampling at our customers’ buildings and the analysis of these samples in our own ‘in-house’ laboratory.  We are also now in our fifth year of UKAS accreditation as an inspection body for legionella risk assessments. We received ISO 9001 certification in 1993 and also have ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001 certification.  So why ask the question? Well, we have just finished our latest UKAS surveillance audit. With four UKAS auditors inspecting what we do at our customer buildings and at our head office for a total of six and a half days it can seem like a lot of hard work!

Even with 25 years of experience in accreditation it still takes a lot of work and effort behind the scenes to maintain accreditation with systems that constantly evolve to keep us in a market leading position. For example, our bespoke iPad software used by our consultants to record tests, samples and inspection information at customer buildings has been developed in-house to make sure it meets all of our quality requirements whilst also being intuitive and easy to use. This gives us a robust single point of entry of data that is fully traceable. This software has taken lots of time and money to develop. Another example is our rigorous training programme that builds confidence and competence in our consultants. It takes at least 3 months before a consultant does any site work of their own. This is time and money that many of our competitors do not invest in.

There are many benefits to accreditation and these are listed on the UKAS website. The benefits include making it easier for our customers to choose us as a partner:                                                                                                           

  • Selecting an accredited organisation is an essential tool for decision-making and risk management.
  • Organisations can save time and money by selecting an accredited and therefore competent supplier.
  • Reliable measurements, tests and inspections are carried out in compliance with best practice.
  • Using an accredited body to carry out an independent evaluation helps demonstrate due diligence in the event of legal action.
     

But, more than this, the culture of quality in getting things right first time, investigating and correcting when things go wrong and making long term changes to prevent the same thing happening again drives improved customer satisfaction and hence retention for those who have already taken the first step and are using our service. This year’s survey results were yet again of a very high calibre, with 96% of our customers marking our service as ‘excellent’ or ‘good’ and 94% saying they would recommend our service. So I have to conclude that yes, UKAS accreditation is worth the cost and effort because it makes it easier for our customers to choose us and to continue to work with us.