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Guidelines on Scopes of TCB Laboratories That Provide Testing for the Telecommunication Certification Program

PUBLIC PROCEDURE PRO-PR-144-TCB Issued: 2012-9-4, Revision: 1

References A2LA web site: http://www.a2la.org/
ACLASS web site: http://www.aclasscorp.com/accreditation/labs.aspx
FCC Public Notice 99-1640
FCC Rules and Regulations
FCC TCB Roles and Responsibilities
IC CB-02: Recognition Criteria, and Administrative and Operational Requirements Applicable to Certification Bodies (CB) for the Certification of Radio Apparatus to Industry Canada’s Standards and Specifications
IDA MRA Recognition Scheme: Scheme for Recognising Foreign Testing Laboratories and Certification Bodies for Conformity Assessment of Telecommunication Equipment
ILAC G18:2002, Scope of Accreditation & Consideration of Methods and Criteria for the Assessment of the scope of testing
ISO/IEC 17025:2005, General requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories
MIC/METI Ordinance No. 3 of 2001: Ordinance for Enforcement of the Act for Implementation of the Mutual Recognition between Japan and Foreign States in Relation to Results of Conformity Assessment Procedures of Specified Equipment
NIST criteria for designation to MIC requirements: Criteria for Designation of U.S. Conformity Assessment Bodies under the US-Japan Mutual Recognition Agreement
NVLAP web site: http://www.nist.gov/nvlap/
OFCA MRA 002: Criteria and Requirements Applicable to Foreign Testing Laboratories and Certification Bodies Seeking Recognition by OFCA as Conformity Assessment Bodies
Contents
1Objective
1.1This procedure provides requirements for ANSI assessors to use while conducting on-site assessments of FCC Telecommunications Certification Body (TCB) and IC, IDA, OFCA, and MIC Foreign Certification Body (FCB) programs regarding the regulatory bodies' requirements for laboratory testing capabilities. The three ISO/IEC 17025 accrediting bodies recognized by the FCC for their TCB program are NVLAP, A2LA, and ACLASS.
2Definitions
2.1SCOPE OF ACCREDITATION: The Scope of Accreditation defines the tests for which a laboratory has been assessed, found to be competent, and accredited by an accreditation body. If a test is not on a laboratory’s scope, it is not covered by the laboratory’s accreditation. The scope of accreditation of a testing laboratory is the formal and precise statement of the testing activities, for which the laboratory is accredited. It is as such the result of a combination of information (scope parameters) concerning the testing field, the type of test (describing the measurement principle), the product/object tested and the methods and procedures used for the test. The assessment (and reassessment) of the scope of accreditation represents the core of the accreditation process and may be defined as the set of operations carried out by the Accreditation Body to ensure, with an adequate degree of confidence, that the laboratory has the competence to provide reliable test services within the defined scope.
3Specific Regulatory Body Requirements
3.1FCC LABORATORY ACCREDITATION REQUIREMENTS: The core test equipment requirement for TCBs is given in FCC Public Notice, DA 99-1640 Released: August 17, 1999. The TCB is required to own the test instrumentation needed to perform the core tests identified in the FCC Public Notice. Guidance on the specific types of test instrumentation required is given in the ANSI TCB Evaluation Form, PRO-FR-126-FCC. Additionally, the FCC at Section 2.962(b)(3) requires that the TCB have an associated laboratory that is ISO/IEC 17025 accredited for the core tests described in Public Notice DA 99-1640. Additional information regarding the FCC's requirements for maintaining an appropriately ISO/IEC 17025 laboratory scope is contained in the FCC's TCB Roles and Responsibilities (R&R) document. As described in the R&R document at Table 2 in clause 12, the FCC requires that the test methods be uniquely identified, along with the an associated Rule part, on the ISO/IEC 17025 certificate of accreditation by specifying either a date, an issue number or the combination of both. The FCC does not allow for sub-scopes so all methods applicable to a particular certification body scope must be contained on the ISO/IEC 17025 scope of accreditation.
3.2IC LABORATORY ACCREDITATION REQUIREMENTS: IC requires that a FCB either have an ISO/IEC 17025 accredited laboratory or to maintain a subcontract with an ISO/IEC 17025 accredited laboratory such that all certification body scopes are covered. Additionally, IC requires that the documentation from the ISO/IEC 17025 accrediting body specify the issue number and date of the IC standards to which the FCB is accredited or to which the subcontracted laboratory is accredited. This documentation of issue number and date may be either contained within the ISO/IEC 17025 certificate or it may be contained within a separate letter signed by the ISO/IEC 17025 accrediting body. IC does not allow for sub-scopes so all methods applicable to a particular certification body scope must be contained on the ISO/IEC 17025 scope of accreditation. See IC Scheme document at clause 5.3.1 (a) and (b). See also PR-NT-107, IC Guidance on RSS and BETS standards.
3.3iDA LABORATORY ACCREDITATION REQUIREMENTS: iDA's scheme requires that a FCB either have an ISO/IEC 17025 accredited laboratory or have entered into a contractual arrangement with a laboratory that is either ISO/IEC 17025 accredited or has been evaluated by the FCB to be competent in accordance with ISO/IEC 17025. Specifically, in its scheme document at clause 6.2(c), iDA requires that, to be eligible for recognition as an IDA iDA recognised certification body, the organisation must have testing facilities accredited in accordance with ISO/IEC 17025 in the relevant area of telecommunications, EMC or electrical safety by an Accreditation Body appointed by the MRA partner. Also the accreditation shall be relevant to the equipment types and technical regulations for which designation is sought; and/or have arrangements with testing laboratories that are recognized by iDA under MRA or have been evaluated by the certification body to be competent in accordance with ISO/IEC 17025. The FCB is required to be accredited to the latest version of an iDA standard but the unique identification, such as issue number or date, of a particular standard is not required to be documented of the ISO/IEC 17025 certificate.
3.4OFCA LABORATORY ACCREDITATION REQUIREMENTS: OFCA requires that a FCB either maintain an ISO/IEC 17025 accredited laboratory or to enter into a subcontract with a laboratory that maintains an ISO/IEC 17025 laboratory such that all certification body scopes are covered. The FCB is required to be accredited to the latest version of an OFCA standard but the unique identification, such as issue number or date, of a particular standard is not required to be documented on the ISO/IEC 17025 certificate. See OFCA Scheme document at clause 5 (c).
3.53.5 MIC LABORATORY ACCREDITATION REQUIREMENTS: MIC requires that a foreign certification body maintain an ISO/IEC 17025 accredited laboratory to cover all certification body scopes of accreditation. Alternatively, MIC allows for the certification body to enter into a subcontract with an ISO/IEC 17025 accredited laboratory that covers some or all certification body scopes. In either case, all MIC certification body scopes must be covered. All MIC test methods used within a scope must be covered since MIC does not allow for sub-scopes. Additionally, the ISO/IEC 17025 scope must either list the standards notified by MIC in the MRA or have a procedure that identifies equivalent or more stringent test methods that are listed on the certification bodies' ISO/IEC 17025 scope. The list of equivalent or more stringent test methods must be documented. For additional information see the MIC Ordinance document and the NIST designation document referenced above.

How is accreditation like an onion?