Become a CB
GAAS assesses and accredits certification bodies (CBs) that demonstrate competence to audit and certify organizations conforming to management systems standards. Accreditation by a recognized and respected body such as GAAS ensures the impartiality and competence of the CB and fosters confidence and acceptance of the CB's certifications by end users in the public and private sectors.
If your organization is based outside the United States, GAAS asks that you first look into accreditation by your national accreditation body. The International Accreditation Forum (IAF) multilateral recognition arrangement (MLA) has been signed by accreditation bodies around the world. IAF MLA signatories undergo a peer evaluation to determine that their accreditation systems meet international requirements and are equivalent to those of other signatories.
Contact Natalia Larrimer with any questions about the process.
Requirements for CBs
The first step in becoming an GAAS-accredited certification body is to become familiar with requirements and the accreditation process.
The GAAS fee schedule identifies base and subordinate standard programs and includes base application fees (for CBs not yet accredited by GAAS) and application fees for base and subordinate standards.
A CB new to GAAS must start the application process at step 1 (below) addressing basic ISO/IEC 17021-1 requirements. Accreditation (or formal application for accreditation) to a base standard is a prerequisite for accreditation for subordinate standards. There may also be a time requirement. For example, a CB must be accredited for ISO 9001 for at least a year before the CB can be accredited to audit and issue certificates to aerospace standards.
When you're ready to apply, the application process must be completed online via GAAS's EQM database; first-time EQM users must register to create an account.
All applicants must conform with ISO/IEC 17021-1:2015. The ISO/IEC 17021-1 Requirement Matrix must be completed by applicants.
All information requested by GAAS, including the application and supporting documents, shall be submitted in English.
The initial accreditation process is illustrated alongside:
The accreditation period is typically five years. During that period, there is ongoing surveillance, which includes an annual office assessment and an annual witnessed audit. A complete reassessment is required every five years. Increased surveillance may required if the CB wishes to extend the scope of accreditation (as applicable) to cover additional industry sectors or to participate in certain specialty fields. If a CB becomes accredited for additional standards, the reaccreditation cycle may be aligned for all standards and the accreditation period for the added standards may be less than five years.
The GAAS application process has multiple steps:
Step 1 - Base Requirements Information
Step 2 - Access to Purchase GAAS Applications
Step 3 - Access to Download GAAS Applications
Step 4 - Application Submittal (Upload)
Step 1. Base Requirements
To be able to apply for accreditation, a CB must first provide GAAS evidence that it meets base requirements outlined in ISO/IEC 17021-1 (available from ANSI) and IAF mandatory documents (available from IAF). The CB is required to provide payment via wire transfer, ACH (electronic transfer), or check.
After the CB submits information to GAAS, a coordinator reviews the CB's information with GAAS management. If the information is found acceptable, the CB is provided further access in EQM to the application process. If the CB's information is not acceptable, the CB is given additional opportunities to re-submit the information.
GAAS reserves the right to stop the application process at any time if GAAS feels the CB will not be able to meet the base requirements for accreditation.
The CB shall not advertise or otherwise refer to its status as an applicant for GAAS accreditation while the application process is ongoing.
Step 2. Access to Purchase Applications
After GAAS approves the CB's base information, GAAS notifies the CB via email and gives the CB access to purchase GAAS applications, for which the CB must provide payment via wire transfer, ACH (electronic transfer), or check. For wire transfer or ACH instructions, contact GAAS@GAAS.org.
Step 3. Access to Applications
After GAAS receives payment for the application, GAAS notifies the CB via email and gives the CB access in EQM to download the specific application purchased.
Step 4. Application Information
The CB will have access in EQM to upload the completed application at any time after completing step 3. The application can be uploaded in stages and saved in EQM until the CB is ready to apply. There are no fees associated with this stage.
Any reference by the applicant to its status as an applicant for GAAS accreditation shall be in keeping with the GAAS Certification Body Applicant Agreement.
Optional Information Visit
It may be beneficial to have an GAAS assessor make an informational visit before submitting an application. During this visit, the assessor can review the criteria and provide answers to questions about the accreditation process and criteria. (The assessor cannot tell a CB how to meet a requirement.) The fee for an information visit is shown on the fee schedule for Evaluation Personnel. Contact GAAS to arrange an informational visit.