» Moving premises

Moving premises

When accreditation is granted to an organisation, UKAS confirms that the organisation is compliant with the relevant standards and that the activities they perform are valid and fit for purpose. In many cases the physical premises, and therefore the environment in which accredited activities are performed is an essential part of ensuring the validity of the activity. Therefore if an accredited organisation is planning to move premises or significantly alter the environment in which accredited activities are performed, then it must contact UKAS, via their Assessment Manager, in advance of this change to discuss and agree how the change will be managed to reduce any impact on accreditation.

It is likely that a change in premises may result in some additional assessment to ensure that the new facilities are fit for purpose and do not impact upon the accredited activities. In addition, a change in premises often results in significant changes to staff conducting the work, and so UKAS may need to assess the organisation to ensure that it still maintains the competence required for its accredited activities.

If UKAS is not informed of a premises change prior to it occurring, there is a potential that the accreditation may need to be suspended until it can be confirmed that the premises are fit for purpose. The requirement to inform UKAS is covered by section 2.7 of the UKAS agreement.

In all cases, UKAS needs to be informed of changes to premises to ensure that accreditation schedules contain the correct location and contact details. 

Outside of these common issues the impact of changing premises and actions required will vary depending on the type of Conformity Assessment Body (CAB):

For Laboratories (Testing, Calibration and Medical), Proficiency Testing Providers and Reference Material Producers, the suitability of the facilities are a key part of ensuring the validity and fitness for purpose of the accredited activities:

- It will need to demonstrate that any new premises do not present contamination risks and that environmental conditions are controlled to the levels necessary.

- Where equipment is moved, it will need to be recalibrated and methods may need to be revalidated demonstrating the equipment performs within expected parameters following relocation.

- It will need to demonstrate that facilities used for the preparation or storage or samples or other relevant materials have appropriate environmental and cross contamination control.

For Inspection Bodies, the suitability of the facilities may be key in ensuring the validity and fitness for purpose of the accredited activities, if inspections are performed on the premises or inspection equipment is stored at the premises. In these cases:

- It will need to demonstrate that any new premises do not present contamination risks and that environmental conditions are controlled to the levels necessary.

- Where measuring equipment is moved it may need to be recalibrated.

- It will need to demonstrate that facilities used for the preparation or storage or inspection artefacts or inspection equipment have appropriate environmental and cross contamination control.

For Certification Bodies (Management System, Product and Personnel. Including EMAS and Green House Gas Verification Bodies), the facilities are not as crucial in ensuring the validity and fitness for purpose of the accredited activities. However the security of the premises to protect client confidentiality and the common issues mentioned above still need to be considered.