Conformity assessment (CA) refers to activities designed to determine whether a product, process or service corresponds to the requirements contained in an International Standard, Technical Specification or guideline. The IEC supports conformity assessment through four CA systems, each of which operates schemes based on third-party CA certification. Certificates of conformity issued by third-party certification bodies like DNV GL, Lloyd’s Register, Bureau Veritas and Underwriters Laboratories (UL) establish that a product, service or component is reliable and will meet expectations in terms of performance, safety, efficiency, durability and other criteria.
The combination of IEC International Standards and CA help reduce trade barriers caused by different certification criteria in different countries and thereby reduce delays and added expenses related to multiple testing and approval requirements. Financial institutions and insurance companies require certifications issued by reputable third-party certification bodies before they will support the development of marine renewable energy technologies and projects.
Conformity assessment must be carried out according to a set of rules that guarantee its quality and reliability and thus conformity assessment itself needs to use a standardized approach. The IEC and ISO have therefore developed and published a full series of international standards specifying how conformity assessment should be carried out. These standards are developed in the ISO Conformity Assessment Committee, ISO/CASCO, with permanent involvement of experts from the IEC and its CA Systems. The standards in the ISO/IEC 17000 series, as well as a number of ISO/IEC Guides, are contained in what is familiarly called the CASCO Toolbox because they provide a full set of tools for anyone wishing to know how to carry out high-quality, reliable conformity assessment. IEC third-party CA Systems are open to all countries in the world who would like to use IEC International Standards, including non-members.