Why is the UKAS announcement granting LRQA accreditation for ISO 19650-2:2018 significant?

There has been a recent announcement that the ISO/IEC 17065:2012 pilot programme for the accreditation of ISO 19650-2:2018 has now been completed and accreditation has been granted to LRQA via the UK Accreditation Service (UKAS).

Why is this is considered significant news for the UK industry?

Firstly, it is something that many in the industry have been requesting in the UK since 2016 and secondly the scheme is now fully supported by UKAS, the UK Governments confirmed National Accrediting Body (NAB). This provides increased governance and validation that the certification schemes provided by organisations such as LRQA (formally Lloyds Register) are fully supported by the highest authority in the land.

PAS91 is a set of Construction pre-qualification questions used widely by the public and private sector clients, can now be answered with increased confidence whilst bidding for work or when being asked if your organisation holds certification via a UKAS approved certifier.

Supplier differences

It is important to note that each certification scheme provided by suppliers will still have their own unique selling points, methods, and pricing, but now they have a foundation provided by UKAS. LRQA’s business wide approach to information management and BIM assessment remains in place.

The benefits of Certification

I have been personally involved with the LRQA scheme since 2016 when Excitech originally partnered with Lloyds Register. Both organisations have since been renamed following acquisitions with Symetri and LRQA being the outcome. Over that time, we have seen interest increase with customers wanting to explore their path to Certification, many using it as a benchmark, a method for significant business improvement, or a means to drive efficiency when bidding for work by reducing administration. Personally, I consider the business improvement part the most attractive and tangible because it offers the most value and opportunity by driving that consistency many senior management teams desire, between departments, within projects, across offices and increasingly today via decentralised working.

How may the UKAS announcement shift the industry

I predict that the UKAS news will drive interest in holding this certification to levels not seen previously, and during 2023 this will become increasingly evident across the industry driven by Clients, but equally, Main Contractors who want to demonstrate when bidding that their entire delivery teams are competent to deliver project information requirements and are being independently third-party audited by certifiers like LRQA. This interest is not only being seen in the UK but also worldwide, whether organisations are international or operate locally within a region.

In readiness for the UKAS announcement, Symetri have been upskilling additional consultants to support the pre-assessment (Gap Analysis) which is a starting point towards full accreditation, and a service which Symetri supports exclusively for LRQA globally. Equally, LRQA have increased their assessor numbers to support the scheme.

What next?

I have never in the past, and I never would tell a customer that they must get certification of any type, whether that is related to ISO 9001, ISO 55001, ISO 19650, etc. It remains a strategic business decision and, in some instances, a ‘gut feel’. However, unlike in 2016 where investment may have been around benchmarking and moving a business strategy forward, and 2018 where compliance and matching competitors might have been more of a focus, I believe as we move into 2023 the value of holding certification and the UKAS news will tick all these boxes and increasingly support winning work providing confidence to client organisations when selecting their project delivery teams.

If you would like to find out more about the LRQA ISO 19650 Certification scheme or how to start your BIM journey, please get in touch with us at info@symetri.co.uk or book an appointment with us here.