IAF Members' news

Accreditation Supporting the Growth of the Infrastructure Sector

Varsha Misra
Deputy Director, NABCB
Quality Council of India

Abhishek Thakur
Analyst, NABCB
Quality Council of India

The infrastructure sector is a key driver for economic growth. Infrastructure affects growth through supply and demand channels including the product, process and service industries. Investment in infrastructure (buildings, power plants, transportation) networks directly impacts economic growth, which ensures efficient trade and supply chains of goods and services, thereby increasing productivity and competitiveness. It is pivotal that quality and conformity are ensured in such a critical sector.

The information technology revolution is also impacting the construction industry, enabling us to better design sustainable infrastructure. Technologies are helping in the simulation of structures to make them resilient and easily maintainable. Drones and other equipment are helping in covering huge areas, addressing human limitations. Many prefabricated technologies are helping in maintaining the sustainability of the built infrastructure and its upkeep.

However, it is important to ensure that conformity assessment techniques match these new advancements. Inspection bodies are looking for measures to validate new technologies in inspections. Product certification bodies are faced with new challenges with regards to certifying sustainable and quality building materials which ensure the upkeep of ailing infrastructure. Many new construction projects demand skilled manpower which ensures reduced workplace accidents and safe, efficient operations between different activities. Many personnel certification schemes exist for project management professionals, masons, plumbers, electricians, welders, crane operators, etc. Validation of sustainability claims is picking up in the construction sector which helps in measuring the carbon neutrality of the built infrastructure.

Accredited conformity assessment bodies (CABs) play a major role in ensuring that products, processes and services adhere to the highest standards of quality. CABs accredited under National Accreditation Board for Certification Bodies (NABCB) accreditation are playing an important role in ensuring adherence to international quality standards. NABCB has granted accreditation to personnel certification bodies in accordance with ISO/IEC 17024 Conformity assessment — General requirements for bodies operating certification of persons for certifying persons ranging from project management professionals to welders and quality curators.

ISO/IEC 45001 Occupational health and safety management systems — Requirements with guidance for use certification supports best-practice occupational health & safety management systems, reducing the likelihood of on-site accidents and breaches of legislation, as well as improving an organisation’s overall performance.

Certification against ISO/IEC 14001 Environmental management systems — Requirements with guidance for use helps to quantify, monitor and control the ongoing environmental impact of construction operations. By managing the use of natural resources, energy and waste organizations can improve corporate image and credibility. Certification against quality standards such as ISO/IEC 17029 Conformity assessment — General principles and requirements for validation and verification bodies helps in ensuring validation of green buildings.

Quality Council of India has developed a Ready-Mix Concrete Plant Certification Scheme (RMCPCS) for certifying RMC plants in accordance with ISO/IEC 17065 Conformity assessment — Requirements for bodies certifying products, processes and services, thereby ensuring that best practices are implemented during construction.

Accreditation helps in implementation of best quality standards, thereby helping in achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

Categories: IAF Members' news

1 reply »

  1. In the definition of quality infrastructure, we always point out that it is the system of metrology, standardization, accreditation and conformity assessment rather than the quality of infrastructures such as roads, ports or communication systems.

    However, the article by Varsha Misra and Abhishek Thakur is an excellent example of how quality infrastructure contributes to the quality of physical infrastructure.

    In this respect, it remains essential first to distinguish the two concepts of quality infrastructure to be then able to highlight the relationships between the two.