ANSI 101: Why is accreditation important?

In the sheet metal industry, certifications are important. As a member of SMART, the International Association of Sheet Metal Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (formerly the Sheet Metal Workers’ International Association), certifications are what set them apart, what tells customers they are not only educated and experienced at their craft, but their skills have been tested, examined and validated.

On a broader level, certifications also have to be validated. All certifications offered by the International Certification Board/Testing, Adjusting and Balancing Bureau (ICB/TABB), the official certification arm of the unionized sheet metal industry, is designed to follow an international standard – the ISO/IEC 17024 Conformity Assessment – to ensure all certification activities are consistent, reliable and conflicts of interest have been eliminated. Doing this helps the ICB/TABB protect the integrity and ensure the validity of its programs.

Not only does the ICB/TABB say it follows the international standard, it is verified by an unbiased, independent third-party entity, American National Standards Institute (ANSI). ANSI is a private nonprofit organization that oversees the development of voluntary consensus standards for products, services, processes, systems and personnel in the United States. Seven ICB/TABB certifications are ANSI-accredited with verification of conformance to all requirements set forth in the international standard.

The initial application for ANSI accreditation includes rigorous document review and assessment, including completion of all policies and procedures to demonstrate how ICB/TABB satisfies the international standard’s requirements. Once the application is submitted, it is reviewed by an assessment team to identify nonconformities to the standard. After corrective actions have been taken by the ICB/TABB, the application goes through a final review by the Personnel Certification Accreditation Committee (PCAC), which approves the application for accreditation by ANSI.

After ANSI accreditation is awarded, an annual review is conducted by the ANSI assessment team and is based on a five-year cycle. The purpose of the annual review is to identify any changes to the certification program and to verify continued conformance to the ISO/IEC  standard. ICB/TABB first earned ANSI accreditation in 2008. Ten years of verified compliance to the rigorous requirements of the international standard is assurance to customers of the unionized sheet metal industry of the quality advantages of utilizing ICB/TABB-certified professionals.

While ICB/TABB’s certifications are designed to the international standard and accredited by ANSI, ANSI also has a series of checks and balances in place to make sure its processes represent the best practices in accreditation. ANSI is the only personnel accreditation body in the United States that meets nationally accepted practices for accreditation bodies.

Is it worth it? Yes. With seven certifications currently accredited by ANSI, ICB/TABB is the only certification body in the HVAC industry to have ANSI-accredited testing, adjusting and balancing, fire life safety and infection control awareness certifications.

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