NVLAP Policy for Referencing Accreditation
NVLAP controls the use of the term NVLAP, the NVLAP logo, and the NVLAP symbol, and ensures that accredited laboratories express their accredited status in a manner that is clear, accurate, and not misleading. This policy applies to test and calibration reports, letterheads, contracts, business cards, brochures, advertising, websites, and any other use not specified in NIST Handbook 150.
NVLAP meets the requirements of ILAC-P8, ILAC MRA Supplementary Requirements and Guidelines for the Use of Accreditation Symbols and for Claims of Accreditation Status by Accredited Laboratories.
DefinitionsNVLAP logo:The graphic version of the NVLAP acronym. Use of the NVLAP logo alone is reserved for NVLAP. Accredited laboratories are permitted to use the NVLAP logo only as part of the NVLAP symbol. [NIST Handbook 150:2006, 1.5.17] NVLAP symbol:The NVLAP logo combined with the NVLAP Lab Code and an acceptable caption. The NVLAP symbol is the graphical representation that an accredited laboratory is permitted to use in referencing its accredited status. [NIST Handbook 150:2006, 1.5.18]
This page has been created to provide information about referencing NVLAP accreditation, including the conditions for using the NVLAP symbol and the term NVLAP.
NVLAP has a policy governing the protection and use of its accreditation symbol in accordance with ISO/IEC 17011, Conformity assessment – General requirements for accreditation bodies accrediting conformity assessment bodies, clause 8.3. NVLAP has published the requirements for referencing NVLAP accreditation in NIST Handbook 150, NVLAP Procedures and General Requirements, section 1.8 and Annex A. NVLAP must also comply with the requirements found in the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) in order to be a signatory. This set of requirements is published in ILAC-P8, regarding the use of accreditation symbols and for claims of accreditation status by accredited laboratories.
The resource links and information on this page are intended to augment NVLAP's policy and procedures by providing guidance for the correct application of the the NVLAP symbol and term, including examples of correct and incorrect applications.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: How may a NVLAP-accredited laboratory display the NVLAP logo?
A: The logo itself may never be used by a laboratory. A lab may display the symbol, which is the logo with an approved caption that includes the lab code. See NIST Handbook 150-, Annex A, section A.3 for examples and the definitions in lower left of this page.
Q: Can an applicant laboratory use the NVLAP symbol before it is granted accreditation?
A: No, however, the lab code assigned upon application may be used as long as it is accompanied by an accurate reflection of the laboratory's status.
Q: May a NVLAP-accredited laboratory use the NVLAP symbol on its website?
A: Yes, labs are highly encouraged to do so with compliance to Annex A requirements. Labs must ensure products and/or services appearing on the same page that are not covered by the scope of accreditation are identified. A common error is using the symbol in a banner that is visible on all pages implying accreditation for services not on the scope of accreditation.
Q: May a laboratory report non-accredited measurements and/or tests on a report bearing the NVLAP symbol?
A: Yes, as long as at least one result reported is on the scope of accreditation. All non-accredited results and/or measured values must be clearly identified and an exact statement must be prominently shown at the beginning of the report. See Annex A, A.1, item h.
Q: May we deviate from the requirements set forth in NIST Handbook 150, Annex A due to some circumstance, need, or concern?
A: Yes, with an exception granted by NVLAP. Annex A was written several years ago and several unforeseen factors have been made known. We encourage the use of the symbol and want to hear any concern that prevents its use. Please contact the NVLAP Annex A program advisor or your program manager to request an exception.
Q: May we use a different color than black or blue for the symbol?
A: Yes, as long as you request and receive approval from NVLAP. It can only be one color, but matching to your corporate letterhead is an acceptable reason for utilizing another color.
References & InformationNIST Handbook 150, Annex A, Referencing NVLAP AccreditationILAC-P8, ILAC MRA: Supplementary Requirements and Guidelines for the Use of Accreditation Symbols and for Claims of Accreditation Status by Accredited LaboratoriesAPLAC PR 010, Encouraging Accredited Laboratories and Inspection Bodies To Use Their Accreditation Body’s Symbol on ReportsNVLAP Assessor Bulletin AB-3-2002: Laboratory Policy and Procedure for Referencing NVLAP AccreditationTraining Presentation: Annex A - Referencing NVLAP Accreditation
Related LinksJoint ISO-ILAC-IAF Communique on 17025ILAC Brochure: The Advantages of Being an Accredited LaboratoryILAC Brochure: Laboratory Accreditation or ISO 9001 Certification?
Thomas Hettenhouser, Program Advisor