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  
their products.  
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  
testing services.  
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  

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