Each year the International Accreditation Forum (IAF) and the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) unite in a global initiative to promote World Accreditation Day and the specific theme for the year. This year the focus is on how accreditation delivers confidence in construction and the built environment.
This IAF and ILAC global initiative provides a vehicle for each country’s national accreditation body to raise awareness of the value of accreditation across their region. In the UK, the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) is the sole national accreditation body appointed for the United Kingdom. UKAS is recognised by government, to assess against internationally agreed standards, organisations that provide certification, testing, inspection and calibration services. As part of the celebrations this year, UKAS will be contributing to independent research that has been commissioned by the CQI to establish the value of quality in the construction sector. UKAS will also be taking part in an event to promote accreditation at the European Commission.
The building sector in the UK is important for economic development, employment creation and the environment. Indeed recent research by PwC, ‘Global Construction 2030’ predicts that the volume of construction output is forecast to grow by 85% to USD $15.5 trillion worldwide by 2030. This growth will be driven by developed countries recovering from economic instability and emerging countries continuing to industrialise.
Within the more industrialised nations and developed economies, construction is a complex and highly competitive sector, which in itself provides challenges for companies who are seeking to drive up margins whilst reducing costs. With a focus on the improvement of build quality and more emphasis on sustainability, and reducing the carbon footprint, there has been an increasing awareness of the environmental aspect within the construction industry over the last few years.
The rapid advancement of the digital revolution is also impacting on the construction arena with Building Information Modelling (BIM) for the design of structures to the embedding of smart and connected technology in construction components. This combined with a greater emphasis on adhering to regulatory requirements, meeting health and safety legislation and minimising risk, all contribute to the complexity of demands operating across this industry sector.
Building confidence and trust, particularly within the public domain are key factors for anyone involved in the construction sector. Given these considerations, accreditation is seen as providing a system that supports the management of risk, helps to improve and drive efficiency across any business, whilst demonstrating compliance with national or local regulation. Working to recognised standards where accredited testing, calibration, inspection and certification are upheld, serves to provide consumers, suppliers, purchasers and specifiers with assurance that construction projects are efficiently executed, sites are safe and the materials used are reliable and meet with regulatory requirements. This in turn provides assurance to Government and Regulators as there is an evidence chain that can demonstrate completed projects meet the required regulatory compliance.
As accreditation is seen as being an independent evaluation of conformity assessment bodies, (such as laboratories, certification and inspection bodies) against recognised national and international standards to carry out specific activities to ensure their integrity, impartiality and competence, it provides confidence and assurance to the public and specifiers that there are procedures in place to support the management of risk and compliance with regulation.
A joint statement issued by the Chairs of IAF and ILAC sets out the importance of this year’s theme and how accreditation can support those working in this sector including building owners, operators, contractors, manufacturers, designers and architects to structural and civil engineers. The statement also sets out how accreditation is used by policy makers, local authorities and regulators to support construction based regulation, environmental protection, public safety and trust, fraud prevention and innovation.
As part of the overall branding and global promotion of World Accreditation Day, a number of promotional items have also been created and are available for download, including a poster, brochure and a video produced by the European Accreditation organisation entitled; ‘World Accreditation Day 2017, Accreditation: Delivering confidence in construction and the built environment.’
The Public Sector Assurance website, jointly created by global quality infrastructure organisations, contains further examples and research to demonstrate the value that accreditation plays within the construction sector.
You can find out how UKAS accreditation within the construction arena could benefit your business here. To receive the latest updates follow UKAS on Twitter or LinkedIn and if you are active on social media, you can use #WAD2017 on June 9th.
Contributor: Philippa Bassett, Marketing Specialist at UKAS since 2013. Philippa is a Chartered Marketer who worked in London advertising and marketing agencies for over 10 years. She also ran her own business for 7 years and has worked in a Marketing Management capacity for two leading PLCs. Within UKAS, Philippa’s role focuses on external communications including PR.