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ISO 14001 : 2015 Status and Transition Planning – Updated 15th October 2015

With the publication of the new version of ISO 14001 on the 15th September 2015, UKAS is publishing this update to provide clarification to those Certification Bodies (CBs) that were not involved in the Early Adopter Programme on how UKAS will handle their ISO 14001 transition assessments under ISO/IEC 17021: 2011. 

CBs are requested to provide a completed UKAS AC1 Extension to Scope application form together with relevant information in order for UKAS to progress the assessment for the updating of the scope of accreditation to the new standard.  The relevant information required to be provide with the AC1 is detailed below under “Information Requirements”.  The anticipated timeframe/dates for when the CB would like the transition assessments to take place should also be provided.

The IAF has allocated a 3-year transition period (from date of publication of the standard) for CBs to transfer their clients from the 2004 version to the 2015 version of the standard, therefore all transition activities need to have been completed by 14th September 2018.  After this date ISO 14001: 2004 will cease to be valid.

Following the document review, a Head Office visit will be required for the majority of CBs, which in most cases will coincide with the normal annual surveillance visit. In all cases a witnessed assessment of at least one audit conducted to ISO 14001:2015 will be required.

One of UKAS’ main aims is to try to ensure that accredited CBs are given a fair and equitable chance to obtain ISO/IEC 17021 accreditation for the delivery of ISO 14001 certification to the 2015 version of the standard in a timeframe that suits their business.

In planning this transition, UKAS has consulted with relevant stakeholder bodies (ABCB, FCB, IIOC) and taken due consideration of “IAF ID 10: 2015 – Transition Planning Guidance for ISO 14001: 2015”; [wpfilebase tag=fileurl id=874 linktext=’IAF ID10 Transition ISO 14001 Publication’ /]. This guidance document was published on the 12th January 2015 and provides useful information to all parties affected by the transition from ISO 14001: 2004 to ISO 14001: 2015.  The document also strongly emphasises the need for early activity to ensure a smooth transition process.

UKAS Approach to the Transition

The transition process will include the following assessment stages:

  • Review of transition gap analysis and related documentation;
    •             Head Office Assessment;
    •             Witnessed Assessment (to be conducted following the document review and Head Office Assessment).

UKAS normally conducts transition assessments at the time of an organisation’s annual surveillance or reassessment visit.  In these cases much of the transition assessment can be incorporated into existing assessment time, however extra time will be needed to cover additional activities, such as the review of gap analysis documentation.

However, where a certification body requests an earlier assessment this will be considered and, subject to suitable resource availability, will be progressed.  In these cases additional costs over and above those for the annual assessment will apply:  UKAS expects these to be in the region of 3-5 days (not including witnessed assessment) depending on the size and scope of the certification body’s accreditation.

In both cases the witnessed assessment activity will form part of the certification body’s annual witnessed assessment programme and therefore should not present any additional effort.

Information Requirements

When submitting the Application Form, the certification bodies should submit a gap analysis (detailing what changes and enhancements have been necessary to the CB’s systems and processes) and details of transition arrangements, including timelines, communications with certified customers, training materials, and process for confirming competence; this will be reviewed and used to help formulate the transition programme.  Application forms with the supporting documentation should be submitted to [email protected] .

Audits selected for witnessing must be of a client that has implemented ISO 14001: 2015. They will need to be sufficient to demonstrate the certification body’s competence and process to audit in terms of the new standard, covering items such as the approach to risk management and organisational context, as well as the necessary audit planning and reporting activities.  Should the witnessed assessment not be deemed suitable to demonstrate the above then UKAS may require further witnessing to take place; such additional assessment is likely incur additional cost.


Please note that ISO 14001: 2015 certificates cannot be issued until the standard has been formally published, and that these certificates cannot be issued as UKAS accredited until the certification body has ISO 14001: 2015 listed on its scope of accreditation.

Certification bodies must also ensure that expiry dates on certificates issued following initial certification or recertification referencing ISO 14001:2004 do not exceed the published end of transition date:  At this point any remaining certificates to the 2004 standard shall become invalid.  Any organisation wishing to be certified to ISO 14001: 2015 after the cut-off date will be subject to a full initial audit.

Combined Audits

Publication of ISO 14001: 2015 and ISO 9001: 2015 were coincidental, and it is recognised that some CBs may wish UKAS to carry out a combined ISO/IEC 17021 assessment covering their ability to audit and certify using the new versions of both ISO 14001 and ISO 9001. UKAS is developing processes to accommodate such requests.


15th Sept 2015:                   Publication of ISO 14001: 2015 and ISO9001: 2015
14th Sept 2018:                   End of ISO 14001 transition and ISO 14001: 2004 ceases to be valid (based on ISO 14001: 2015 being published in 15th September 2015)

 Any queries should be directed to Kevin Belson – UKAS Technical Manager [email protected]