RALA Certification is an assessment and approval procedure that arises out of the needs of the building industry itself and is suited for its purposes. The certification requirements have been presented in the assessment criteria complete with references to the relevant requirements of the ISO9001 and ISO14001 standards. Specific sets of criteria have been defined for construction management, design and construction. The assessment criteria for each category are posted on RALA’s website. The assessment will be carried out to the extent requested by the company in its application for certification.
The purpose of RALA Certification is to improve the standard of quality of companies’ operating and quality as well as environmental management systems; improve competiveness and enhance the level of quality in operations; and to offer companies engaged in the construction industry a public, third-pay assessment and approval procedure suitable for their purposes in terms of content. Another objectives is to encourage companies to systematically develop their operating procedures, promote the certified companies and to assist employers and building owners in the assessment and selection of contractors. Companies are free to make use of the RALA Certification as proof of the standard of their quality management systems.
The assessment criteria and policies have been adopted by RALA’s Board of Directors and can only be amended by the Board. The parties involved in the assessment procedure are the Certification Board, the individuals in charge of certification, assistants and assessors.
1. Development of the company’s operations and description of the procedures applied
2. Examination of the assessment criteria and self-assessment
3. Submission of the certification application and self-assessment to RALA
(A contract with RALA is created when the company representative submits a signed certification application to RALA.)
a. The assessment criteria form to be used for self-assessment, the application form and price list are available on RALA’s website.
b. When making the self-assessment, the applicant will provide a short description of the grounds invoked (e.g. reference to an in-house guide providing the required proof).
c. A company may apply for RALA Certification when it determines that its management systems satisfy the requirements presented in the assessment criteria.
d. The certification application is submitted to RALA accompanied by a completed self-assessment form and a description of the management and quality system (e.g. Quality Manual).
4. Processing of the application and agreement on subsequent assessment
a. RALA will designate the assessors to examine the company.
b. RALA will forward the company’s certification application complete with attachments to the assessors. Responsibility for the planning and implementation of the assessment rests with the lead assessor who will contact the applicant company and agree on the date and time of the assessment and requests any additional information that may be required.
c. The lead assessor prepares an assessment plan.
5. Initial assessment
a. The initial assessment is carried out to verify that all the requirements presented in the assessment criteria are met. The assessment will be carried out at the company’s head office and potential branch offices to be included in the certification. In the case of a construction company, the on-site operations can be assessed by touring suitable sites in progress. If the company applies for certification for categories, a project or site related to each such category will be assessed.
b. The lead assessor will be report any non-conformances to the company and agree on the timetable for corrective actions. The company will make the corrections and provide a description of the measures taken in the non-conformance report. Any non-conformance report must be submitted to the lead assessor within three months. Once the lead assessor has approved the corrective actions, he or she will submit the assessment report accompanied by any non-conformance report to RALA. The same documentation will also be forwarded to the applicant company for information.
c. If any serious non-conformances are detected in the initial or follow-up assessments, a re-assessment can be made if so determined by RALA’s Certification Board. The purpose of the re-assessment is to ascertain that the company’s operating resources meet the applicable requirements following the completion of corrective actions.
6. Award or denial of certification
a. RALA’s Certification Board will make the decision on the award of the RALA Certificate on the basis of the assessment report and the statement issued by the lead assessor. The Certificate is valid for a maximum period of three years at a time provided that the company continues to meet the certification conditions, after which it may be renewed for another three-year term.
b. If the company finds it appropriate to challenge the decision of the Certification Board, the appeal including the reasons for it must be filed within 14 days of receipt of the notice of the decision. The appeal is addressed to RALA’s Board of Directors which will address the appeal at its following meeting.
7. Follow-up assessments
a. Follow-up assessments are designed to verify that the operations of a RALA-certified company continue to meet the certification requirements. The first follow-up assessment will be carried out within one year of the award of the RALA Certification. After that, a re-assessment will be carried out annually. If appropriate, RALA’s Certification Board may order further assessments in addition to the annual follow-up assessment.
b. The follow-up assessments are always carried out at the company’s head office. Additionally, all the company’s branch offices in Finland will be assessed during the three-year term of the Certificate.
c. The requirements included in the assessment criteria will be examined once every three years. For the remaining two yeas, the parties may agree to limit the assessment to a specific priority area or theme; however, management and development efforts are always assessed.
d. The main fields of activity will be assessed annually and other fields of activity during the three-year period. If the company is engaged in several fields of activity, the operations in the main fields of activity (representing a minimum of 25% of the total turnover generated by the company’s certified fields of activity). The inclusion of any new field of activity in the certification calls for a specific assessment of a related project or site.
The pricing of RALA Certification is based on an annual fee determined according to the company’s turnover. Aside from the annual fee, companies are required to pay for the certification services provided at an hourly rate.
The amount of the annual fee and the hourly rates charged by assessors will be determined annually by RALA’s Board of Directors. The price list is posted on RALA’s website.