A A M A A N A L Y S I S
Who Tests the Testers?
Accreditation is Critical When Choosing a Laboratory
B Y R I C H A R D R I N K A
uality professionals know that and water penetration, using the actu- By the Book
repeatability and reproducibil- al equipment used for testing fenes-
ity (R&R) of measuring devices tration products.
Each laboratory applying for AAMA
accreditation must have a written
are cornerstones of reliable quality
Procedures and requirements for quality control manual describing
control. In the product-certiﬁcation AAMA accreditation of independent how it meets the management and
world, the R&R concept translates to fenestration product testing labora- basic technical requirements of ISO/
ensuring that test results are consis- tories are spelled out in AAMA LAP- IEC 17025 as well as AAMA require-
tent, agreeing from test to test (repeat- 1-15, AAMA Laboratory Accreditation ments. During the validator inspec-
ability) and from lab to lab (reproduc- Program Operations Manual. LAP-1 tion, a complete examination of the
ibility). Only in this way can a reliable describes the relationship and inter- quality control system is made. Any
comparison be made among products action with the validator (Associated problems must be ﬁxed via a formal
in terms of whether they meet the Laboratories Inc.) and establishes an process that requires documented
requirements of the North American organized method for determining action be taken to prevent recurrence.
Fenestration Standard (NAFS). This the ability of a testing agency to prop-
All laboratory accreditations are
is particularly important for manu- erly perform the testing functions set granted for a period of one calendar
facturers of residential fenestration forth in the test methods referenced year. Accreditation must be renewed
products, who depend heavily on in NAFS.
certiﬁcation to NAFS to differentiate
annually via submittal of an updated
application form (Appendix A, Form
To achieve such conﬁdence, labs
Why it Matters
LAP-IL-AF-1). The biennial evaluation
Laboratory accreditation shouldn’t ensures the laboratory’s continued
must show that their processes and be taken lightly. It is not trivial to compliance with requirements and
equipment deliver acceptably accu- achieve such status.
checks that its standard of operation
AAMA accreditation signiﬁes that is being maintained.
AAMA publishes an online directo-
rate results through accreditation. It’s
a means of validating the technical a laboratory has demonstrated that
competence of laboratories to per- it operates in accordance with LAP-1 ry of accredited laboratories. This can
form speciﬁc test methods, thereby management and technical require- be found on the AAMA website.
providing formal recognition of com- ments pertaining to quality systems;
The network of accredited labs
petence and a ready means for manu- personnel; accommodation and envi- that support the AAMA certiﬁcation
facturers to identify and select reliable ronment; test methods; equipment; program establishes a reliable level
measurement traceability; sampling; of competence for all laboratories
handling of test and calibration items; providing services to the fenestra-
and test reports. It lists the specif- tion industry, which can provide the
It’s a Must
All commercial laboratories that ic test or measurement methods for manufacturer, speciﬁer and ultimate
perform product testing for AAMA which they are accredited.
consumer with dependable, accurate
certiﬁcation to NAFS must be accred- The operating procedures and results of all required testing. This
ited by AAMA to demonstrate com- requirements included in AAMA LAP-1 has become even more important
petence. To ensure that the AAMA are based on those found within ISO/ as evolving performance issues and
Certiﬁcation Program is administered IEC 17025-05, General Requirements requirements have raised the bar on
and conducted independently with- for the Competence of Testing and building performance. Hand-in-hand
out bias, all accredited labs must also Calibration Laboratories. While not with advances in technology, these
show that they are not afﬁliated with specifically required, many labs have produced products that perform
door and window manufacturers.
choose to be separately accredited for much better than their predecessors. y
The evaluation process includes compliance with ISO 17025 through
proﬁciency testing. It consists of an independent accreditation ser- Richard Rinkais the certiﬁcation manager for
witnessing the performance of tests vice such as ANSI, IAS, NAVLAP and the American Architectural Manufacturers
called for in NAFS, such as air leakage others.
Association in Schaumburg, Ill.
Door & Window Market