Services Provided by Testing and Certification Sector
In general, the testing and certification (T&C) sector provides three types of services –
Testing is the determination of one or more characteristics of an object according to a procedure. Examples include:
- testing of a food product to determine its heavy metal contents; and
- testing of blood to determine its red blood cell count.
Inspection may include the examination of materials, products, installations, plants, processes, work procedures or services and determination of their conformity with requirements and the subsequent reporting of results of these activities to clients and, when required, to authorities. Examples include:
- inspection of a batch of products at the factory before shipment to determine whether the products comply with the buyer's specifications; and
- inspection of structural welds to determine whether they meet the contractual and statutory requirements.
On local demand, one example of inspection service is the inspection of indoor air quality at premises according to the Environmental Protection Department's "Indoor Air Quality Certification Scheme for Offices and Public Places".
On external demand, the need for inspection arises from international trade. It is a common practice for overseas buyers to arrange inspection of goods at the factory by an independent inspection body to confirm the quality of goods before shipment.
Certification is a third-party attestation related to products, processes, systems or persons. Certification activities in Hong Kong can be broadly divided into three categories:
(i)management system certification, e.g. certification of an organisation's quality management system to ISO 9001Expand
There are various international standards for management system certification. Organisations seek certification to prove that they comply with these international standards for different reasons: improvement of the management of their organisations, as a marketing tool.
ISO 9001 is an international standard that specifies generic requirements for a quality management system. Certification against this standard is the most popular management system certification in Hong Kong. There is high demand for other types of certification, e.g. ISO 14001 environmental management system certification, ISO 50001 energy management system certification and ISO 45001 occupational health and safety management systems certification.
(ii)product certification, e.g. certification of a supplier's competence in producing a mobile phone to regulatory requirementsExpand
Product certification can improve stakeholders' confidence in the products supplied by a certified supplier. It can bring benefits to manufacturers (better business opportunities), regulatory authorities (less monitoring effort) and end-users (more reliable products). Product certification schemes adopted by accredited certification bodies in Hong Kong are related to construction materials, consumer products and food.
(iii)validation and verification, e.g. validation and/or verification of greenhouse gas assertions to ISO 14064-1, ISO 14064-2 or ISO/TS 14067Expand
To tackle climate changes, many organisations around the world are implementing various initiatives to limit greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations in the atmospheres. These initiatives rely on the quantification, monitoring, reporting, validation and verification of GHG emissions and/or removals.
To enhance the consistency, credibility and transparency of GHG quantification, monitoring and reporting, organisations may validate and verify their GHG assertions based on ISO 14064-1 (organisation level), ISO 14064-2 (project level) or ISO/TS 14067 (product level).
Summary Table on Testing, Inspection and Certification Services
||Test report||In general short term
(applies only to the samples tested)
||Inspection report||In general short term
(e.g. for a batch of products)
||Certificate; Greenhouse gas validation and verification report||In general longer term