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The activity of registrars is specified in various standards, including Guide 62:1996 issued by International Accreditation Forum (IAF). What is important to know is that this standard gives references on how to determine audit duration, also frequency and duration of surveillance audits.


Employee number
(see note A)

  Audit duration in days
(see note B)
1-10 2
11-25 3
26-45 4
46-65 5
66-85 6
86-125 7
126-175 8
176-275 9
276-425   10
426-625 11
626-1175 12
1176-1550 13
1551-2025 14
2026-2675 15
2676-3450 16
3451-4350 17
  1. A. Employee Number is given by the total of persons who is involved in quality management system, not within entire organization. Employee includes those who are permanent, temporary, seasonal, subcontractors.

    Part time employees should be treated as full time employees. Determination depends on numbers of working hours they perform, compared to a full time employee.

  1. B. Audit duration is the necessary number of auditing days, for a single auditor. Duration includes planning the audit, document review, on-site auditing (inreviews, records verification, documentation and processes) and issue of audit report. Planning and issue of report must represent maximum 10% of total audit duration. Is not taken in consideration duration of time of travels to client or from client.

    Typical day audit duration is 8 hours. Is not permitted reduction of audit duration because of longer hours of auditing per day. Duration specified in the second column is dedicated to on-site auditing.

Factors which may increas or decrease audit duration are presented in section 4 on this page.

2. Duration and frequency of surveillance audits.

Duration of surveillance audits has to be proportional to duration of initial audit. Annualy, duration of surveillance audits has to be aproximatively one third from initial duration. This planning has to be reviewed periodically, taking in consideration changes in organization, maturity of quality management system, etc. This review has to be done at least during the re-assessment audit.

3. Duration of re-assessment audit.

This is made proportionaly to initial duration, being two thirds of it, as long as conditions such the size of organization, processes, locations, etc. are still the same as for initial audit (in other words, correlated to initially certified organization).

4. Factors which require increase of duration:
  1. complex logistics, meaning more than one building or location;
  2. employees who speaks more than one language, which requires a translator or prevent auditor to work independently;
  3. large surface for processes (e.g. timberland;
  4. high degree of regulation (e.g food, drug, aerospace, nuclear);
  5. high complexity of processes or a relatively large number of employees doing unique activities;
  6. processes which involve a combination of hardware, software, processes and services.

Note: There is no limitation of the maximum duration of initial audit.

Factors which may allow decrease of duration:
  1. no design activity or some elements of ISO 9001:2008 are not included in quality management system;
  2. low or no risk of product or service, also processes;
  3. prior knowledge or organization (e.g. the company was assessed on other standards, by the same registrar);
  4. small number of locations (e.g one building);
  5. organization is ready already for certification (e.g. is already registered with another registrar or is recognised by a third party);
  6. generally there is a single activity (e.g simple services);
    high maturity of quality management system;
  7. high percentage of employees doing simple tasks.

Note: Maximum reduction which is allowed is 30% applied to duration stated in second column of the table in section 1.

We provided the above information so that to compute yourself duration of audits, also to estimate the costs. For instance, for a 4 days assessment, where is not needed any increase or decrease, knowing the costs per day per auditor in Romania (between 150€ and 300€), is obtained a cost between 700€ and 1200€. To this amount is added usually a fee for document review which is between 50€ and 250€; some registrars ask for a fee for issuing the certificate, which is 150€. Transportation and accommodation cost has to be paid by the client. To all of these you add VAT. Now, to overall amount you' ll have to add the fee for use of certificate, which is between 100€ and 350€ and you will end up to an initial cost between 1000€ and 1950€, plus VAT (no accomodation and transportation costs included).

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Last updated: 26 June 2010