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Policy Statement 431 - Quality Management System Standards

 

Approved by the Engineering Practice Policy Committee on March 15, 2018
Approved by the Public Policy Committee on May 6, 2018
Adopted by the Board of Direction on July 13, 2018

Policy

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) supports the development and application of quality management system standards, including international standards such as the ISO-9000 and the American Society for Quality Control (ASQC) Q90 series, to professional engineering services and the application of those standards to the constructed project, including certification and registration procedures to recognize that quality management processes are in place within an organization. Care must be taken, however, to ensure management system standards are consistent with civil engineering standards of practice and the principles of sustainable development, life-cycle performance, and resiliency.  

Issue

The ISO 9000 family of standards is related to quality management systems and designed to help organizations ensure that they meet the needs of customers and other stakeholders, while meeting statutory and regulatory requirements related to their product. The standards are published by ISO, the International Organization for Standardization, and available through National standards bodies. ISO 9000 deals with the fundamentals of quality management systems, while ISO 9001 deals with the requirements that organizations wishing to meet the standard have to fulfill.

With an increasing number of governments and owners requiring that service providers be registered as being in compliance with ISO-9000 (or a similar standard), ASCE is concerned that registrars not familiar with civil engineering projects will make inappropriate demands and adversely affect the delivery of engineering and construction services.

The ISO-9000, and similar standards, are necessarily generic in nature and will require the knowledge and efforts of the civil engineering profession for application to civil engineering projects.

The exceptional growth in the number of registrars and accrediting organizations creates a problem for those desiring certification. At present there are no definitive measures of the qualifications of those providing registrar and certification services for civil engineering firms. Third party certification bodies provide independent confirmation that organizations meet the requirements of ISO 9001.

The widespread interest and involvement in ISO-9000 and the American National Standards Institute's (ANSI) ASQC Q90 makes it necessary to work in cooperation with other societies and associations in developing a program which is responsive to the needs of civil engineers in the development and use of quality management system standards.

Rationale

ASCE has long had a commitment to promoting quality in civil engineering services and projects. The application of quality management standards such as ISO-9000 and ASQC Q90 to civil engineering can be an appropriate means for improving quality in the civil engineering profession and the construction industry.

ASCE cooperates with other organizations seeking to develop and provide guidance for implementation of international quality management system standards to the constructed project and other engineering services. ASCE continues to support worldwide recognition of registration status under ISO-9000 and ASQC Q90 and mutual recognition agreements between qualified accrediting organizations.

ASCE Policy Statement 431
First Approved in 1994

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