The Importance of ISO Certification in the Construction Sector

Why management systems are so important and how you can get started.

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Written by: alcumus
26th May

Did you know that there are more than one thousand ISO standards and related documents for the construction industry?

These ISO standards are a demonstration of the conformity of materials and processes to international standards, so that buyers and end users can have confidence in what they are procuring.

They cover everything from concrete to timber, from masonry to lighting. Many of them you won’t be aware of, and you don’t really need to be - it’s almost a given that supplies and materials are certified when you buy and use them. They are essential in ensuring the quality, safety and sustainability of your work.

But there are other ISO standards that apply to the way you run your business which have an impact on your financial success and future growth. These are called ISO Management Systems. They are less about what you do, and more about the way you do it. The main ISO systems focus on quality, the environment and health and safety.

Why do you need ISO certification?

The main reason that building firms and other businesses in construction approach ISOQAR for certification is “simply to win more business,” according to Warwick Tams, Technical Sales Manager at Alcumus ISOQAR. “It’s often the case that it’s a requirement in order to qualify for tender opportunities. If you don’t have the required certificates, you won’t even get over the first hurdle. It’s a way of sorting the wheat from the chaff.”

It’s long been the case that larger organisations and the public sector, when inviting tender applications, stipulate that applicants must be, for example, certified to ISO 9001 (Quality Management), ISO 45001 (Occupational Health & Safety) and increasingly ISO 14001 (Environmental Management). Or at least, the winner must be certified by the time work commences.

“Many companies that we get certified leave it very late, but that’s OK, we can turn it round quickly at ISOQAR,” says Warwick.

But it’s far better to think ahead. Not only does this mean you automatically pre-qualify in many cases, you can also reap the benefits of operating according to international best practice. After all, getting certified isn’t just a simple box-ticking exercise: it involves improving the way your business functions, resulting in improved performance and ultimately financial success. “If you don’t achieve that, then you’re doing something wrong,” says Warwick.

What are the main standards?

The ISO 9001 Quality Management System is by far the most popular standard, with more than a million business worldwide certified. It demonstrates that you’re committed to providing a quality service to your clients, are capable of anticipating and fixing errors and dedicated to continual improvement. It’s a major driver of efficiencies in your business.

The ISO 45001 Occupational Health & Safety Management System is a major contributor to driving down the number of accidents and incidents in construction - one of the most dangerous sectors to work in. It helps you manage risk and makes your workplace safer for employees, visitors and contractors. It makes ethical and financial sense.

The ISO 14001 Environmental Management System is understandably growing rapidly in popularity. It can reduce your environmental impact and is also ideal for helping ensure you are compliant with the increasingly stringent environmental regulations.

What next?

If you want to talk to us about any matters relating to ISO certification, including getting certified for the first time, adding new standards or transferring from another certification body to take advantage of our client benefits, then please call our Technical Sales Team on 0161 865 3699.

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