Representatives from several organizations met to discuss the Universal Conformity Assessment.

On February 8, 2001, representatives from the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO), NSF International, Underwriters Laboratories (UL), the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), Plumbing Manufacturers Institute (PMI) staff and legal counsel, along with PMI members from American Standard; Brass-Craft Mfg, Co.; Chicago Faucet Co.; Delta Faucet Co.; Elkay Manufacturing; Kohler Co.; Moen Inc.; NEOPERL; Powers Process Controls; Price Pfister; T&S Brass and Bronze Works; and WCM Industries, met in Schaumburg, IL, to continue the dialogue of reaching the ultimate goal of Universal Conformity Assessment (UCA), beginning with the NSF 61 certification process. UCA is one of PMI’s Focus Issues, “certified once, recognized worldwide.” Dr. Norman Hester of Truesdail Laboratories and Stephen Cross of the Standards Council of Canada (SCC) were unable to attend, but did send a written statement on their positions. During the course of the forum, chaired by Lee Mercer of Moen, the participants identified barriers and problems, and suggested possible solutions.

The Universal Conformity Assessment Task Force agreed on the following action items:

    Create a task group to investigate methods to streamline the NSF 61 process of identifying new contaminants and establishing the maximum allowable levels (MAL);

  • Develop a joint PMI/certifier position statement supporting efforts to require products to be certified by an accredited agency that can be used to educate regulatory agencies in an effort to eliminate redundant and restrictive conformity assessment practices;

  • Review and compare policies and procedures in an effort to eliminate barriers that occur during the exchange of NSF 61 test data; and

  • Distribute confidentiality release forms to all of their current listees to obtain permission to provide data to other certifiers upon request.

This forum was the first follow-up meeting to the presentations and discussions given at PMI’s 2000 Fall Meeting in Washington, DC, and it was also a response to a statement that was jointly developed last year by the Plumbing Manufacturers Institute (PMI) and the Canadian Institute of Plumbing & Heating (CIPH) regarding unnecessary duplication in testing, certification, auditing and data review.

The statement, issued summer of 2000, was distributed to major certifying bodies and testing agencies to highlight the U.S. and Canadian plumbing manufacturers’ goal for allowing products to be “tested and certified once, and recognized worldwide.” The statement specifically urged that test data generated by testing laboratories accredited under ISO Guide 25 or 17025 be accepted by certification agencies accredited through the Standards Council of America and the American National Standards Institute without further review. Manufacturers also strongly urged that plumbing products and materials already listed/certified by an accredited certification agency using test data generated by an accredited testing laboratory should have that listing/certification accepted by other certification agencies without further review. The statement concludes that certification agencies meeting those criteria would be the “preferred provider” for plumbing manufacturers in the U.S. and Canada.

The Universal Conformity Assessment Task Force agreed to hold a future meeting in conjunction with another industry meeting in the fall.