The term “inspection" refers to a conformity assessment based on defined or general requirements. Products (machines or devices), processes or installations (equipment) can be inspected.
An inspection aims at demonstrating the safety and performance of the inspected target. Typical examples of inspection targets include lifts, hoisting devices, different types of pressure equipment, measuring instruments, fire extinguishers and fire detectors.
An inspection can be performed when the machine, device or piece of equipment is being commissioned (a commissioning inspection), as part of the periodical verification of performance and safety (a periodic inspection) or in connection with modifications (a modification inspection).
In connection with accreditation, inspection bodies are classified into three different types, A, B and C. The type is specified based on the interdependence between the inspection body and the inspection target. Inspection bodies falling in type A are independent and impartial third parties. Type B inspection bodies are separate part of an organisation and perform inspections for their parent organisation or organisations belonging to the same group of companies. The separation from the organisation expected from type B inspection bodies is not expected from type C inspection bodies. Furthermore, type C inspection body can supply inspections services to its parent organization or to other parties, or to both. All inspection bodies must carry out inspections impartially.
The quality management system of an accredited inspection body complies with the principles of ISO 9001. The international organisations ISO, ILAC and IAF have stated this compliance in their joint resolution (download pdf).
Requirements and guidelines (updated 27th of February 2023)
The accreditation requirement for inspection bodies:
SFS-EN ISO/IEC 17020:2012 Conformity assessment — Requirements for the operation of various types of bodies performing inspection
Mandatory guidelines relating to accreditation of inspection bodies
Guidelines relating to inspection bodies
Examples of guidance documents for inspection bodies are given below. The list does not necessarily cover all guidelines prepared for the accredited activities.
Publications of FINAS that support the operations of inspection bodies
Accredited bodies are entitled to use the FINAS accreditation symbol, which consists of the FINAS logo, the accredited body's identification number and the accreditation requirement. The FINAS accreditation symbol must be used when the accredited body refers to the accreditation in its reports, for example.
Accredited inspection bodies use an identifier in which the identification number of the accredited body is of the format IXXX. The logo also includes a symbol describing the inspection body's independence (A, B or C).