Certification & Inspection Services
APA is accredited by the Standards Council of Canada (SCC) as a certification body under ISO 17065 (SCC File # 10012). APA is also accredited through the International Accreditation Service (IAS) as an inspection body under ISO 17020 (IAS accreditation number AA-649). Through these accreditations, APA provides certification to clients that conform to product standards as well as APA policies. As part of the certification process, all clients are subject to ongoing audits of the client’s quality system, internal inspections and conformance to the product standard.
If you are interested in learning more about APA’s certification program, please contact the APA Help Desk.
Questions or Concerns?
As part of the APA certification program, concerns from the end user are viewed as valuable tools for ongoing evaluation of the certification program and provide a means to identify potential misuse of the certification marks. In order to facilitate the expedient review of any concern, APA has established the following policies:
- If you think you have a valid concern about an APA certified product, you must first attempt to contact the vendor from which you purchased or obtained the product. We suggest that you have the product purchase order, invoice or receipt to assist you and the vendor in addressing the issue.
- If you are not satisfied following this step or are unable to contact the vendor, contact the product manufacturer. The manufacturer can be identified by the two to four digit mill number that is present on the trademark. The APA Manufacturer Directory provides the name and contact information based on mill numbers.
- If, after contacting the manufacturer you still feel your concerns have not been addressed, contact the APA Help Desk.
- The final level to voice your concern is to issue an official complaint to the relevant accreditation authority.
Quality auditing is an integral part of APA's mission. APA has a staff of experienced auditors, and additional work is carried out at its research center in Tacoma, Washington. APA auditors make unannounced visits to client mills to verify compliance with defined technical criteria for certified manufacturers.
APA Quality Management System
Traditional approaches to structural wood products quality assurance have centered on testing and inspection of the finished product for such critical attributes as bending strength and stiffness, dimensional stability, bond durability, impact resistance, etc. Test results are compared with established minimum performance criteria as set forth in performance standards or product specifications. Today's mills, however, are high-speed, high-volume marvels compared to those of just a few years ago. The manufacturing innovations going into existing and new mills, together with widening raw material variations and the diversity of manufacturing "recipes", are placing new demands on quality control methods.
The QMS Approach
Under a program called APA QMS (Quality Management System), APA and its client mills have implemented an updated method of third-party certification. The APA QMS places emphasis on mill quality control programs rather than relying on testing and inspection of the finished product. This approach, which was developed in conjunction with APA clients and is based on ISO 9000, has been applied with considerable success in other industries, including the automotive, steel and consumer electronics fields.
Benefits of QMS
There are compelling benefits associated with the QMS approach. It provides clients greater flexibility in designing and conducting a quality assurance program tailored to specific needs, including opportunities for incorporating proprietary quality initiatives. It offers the potential to lower the cost of the quality function itself; and, most importantly, it provides a more effective means to assure that the product in the marketplace performs to consumer expectations.