Irish standards body lost accreditation concerning 'competence, consistency and impartiality'

Ireland’s official state standards body – currently being sued by a Donegal husband and wife for its alleged failures in the county’s mica crisis – has admitted to losing one of its international accreditations.

The accreditation it lost concerned the “competence, consistency and impartiality of bodies” that provide certification services, according to the International Organization for Standardization.

The National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI) has said this accreditation was suspended earlier this year  because of “non-conformities”. The NSAI however says this accreditation has since been reinstated.

Meanwhile a senior director at the body has been suspended from his role at the organisation. Director of the Irish agrément board Seán Balfe had previously been tasked with certifying building materials and technologies as safe for use, as well as issuing certificates related to sustainability in building materials and processes.

Balfe has also served as chairman of the pyrite resolution board, which was established in 2013 to aid people whose homes had been damaged by the chemical.

‘Administrative and technical non-conformities’

The Irish National Accreditation Board (INAB) – a national body responsible for accrediting laboratories, certification bodies and inspection bodies – on 11 July named the NSAI as having lost one of its international accreditations.

The accreditation in question was ISO/IEC 17021-1, a standard concerning the criteria that bodies like the NSAI must adhere to when signing off on certain businesses and systems.

A source close to NSAI told The Ditch that this accreditation to provide certification for both quality management and environmental management systems was “briefly lost”.

INAB's website showed that NSAI's accreditation was revoked under standards concerning quality environmental impact.

It is unclear when NSAI’s accreditation to certify both management systems was reinstated by the INAB.

A spokesperson for the NSAI told The Ditch that this particular accreditation “relates to requirements for bodies providing audit and certification for quality management and environmental management systems, which are non-product related voluntary schemes. NSAI’s accreditation was partially suspended as a result of minor administrative and technical non-conformities and has now been fully reinstated.”

Commenting on suspended director Balfe the spokesperson said, “As a matter of general principle NSAI does not comment on individual cases.”

The Ditch has contacted Balfe for comment.

The Ditch editors

The Ditch editors