There are many reasons why an accredited calibration laboratory may move locations, including an expiring lease, a new building purchase, or an expansion into a bigger space. But, because accreditation scopes are site-specific, there are a few things that need to take place before a laboratory can move locations and bring its accreditation along with it.
As soon as you are aware of a move, notify your accreditation officer that your lab will be relocating. Your accreditation officer should be notified in writing within 30 days of the official moving date, at the very latest. Then, to start the process, your accreditation officer will reach out to the previous assessor to determine what information will be required to update the accreditation scope with the new address. They may assess the new location on-site or review the necessary documentation to update the scope.
On some occasions, the assessor and accreditation officer may decide that an organization’s accreditation should be made inactive until an on-site assessment can take place. Inactive accreditation can be caused by mandated regulatory or technical requirements that add a layer of complexity to the process. In addition, if in consultation with the previous assessor it is determined that the relocation involves critical changes and will significantly impact the scope of accreditation, it can also be made inactive.
It’s important to notify your accreditation officer of a location change as soon as possible. The earlier you and your team begin the process, the more time you’ll have to prepare the information you will need to submit for review. Plus, when making reference to A2LA accredited status, A2LA’s R105 – Requirements states that all claims of accreditation shall be made only with respect to the specific accredited location listed on the organization’s scope of accreditation. You will want to minimize any delays in updating the scope to help ensure compliance with this requirement.
There are several things an assessor may ask for regarding the new laboratory location before they decide if an on-site assessment or inactivation is necessary. They may want to review before and after checks for equipment that support the scope, or they may want evidence of a stable environment in the new location. Environmental factors, like temperature, humidity, and air pressure can play a significant role in the outcomes of testing and calibration, so the assessor may request proof that the environment is conducive to methods listed on the scope.
Once the assessor has all the necessary information and documentation to ensure accreditation requirements are met, your accreditation officer can update the address on the scope of accreditation. The scope will be updated within the A2LA database, and the organization will remain in the same accreditation cycle it was in prior to the move.
We know moving your laboratory can already be a stressful situation, but your accreditation officer and assessor will walk you through the process of updating your scope, from start to finish. For more information about A2LA accreditation, or to learn more about moving your accredited calibration lab, contact us here.