Understanding ISO

by Virginia Fairweather, Editor in Chief; Civil Engineering Magazine, ASCE World Headquarters, 345 East 47th Street, New York City, NY.,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1994, Vol. 64, Issue 2, Pg. 59-61

Document Type: Feature article


Many U.S. consulting firms are being registered under the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 9000 series, which set standards for business conduct to achieve quality. The 9000 series has been embraced by businesses of all types and about 40,000 firms have been registered worldwide, mostly in the European community. About 2,000 U.S. firms are now registered, but only a few so far are engineering firms. Many more are considering registration. The main reason is to qualify for work in overseas markets, but several agencies in the U.S. federal government are also beginning to require ISO 9000 registration. The registration process is outlined, and references offered. Each firm must analyze their business practices and assemble a quality manual. An accredited outside auditor assesses whether the business practices conform with the manuals and grants registration. Many firms retain consultants and conduct training courses before hiring the outside auditor. Several consulting engineers who have been or are now undergoing registration describe the process, the cost, and their reasons for undertaking the effort.

Subject Headings: Consulting services | Standards and codes | Federal government | Audits | Accreditation | Training | Recruiting and hiring

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