Frequently Asked Questions

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What is our terminology for the various audit stages?


DNV GL uses the following terminology for its audit stages: 

Preliminary Assessment - not included within the scope of the certification process. Some certification bodies call this a Gap Analysis. 

Document Review & Initial Visit - can be known as Stage 1 Audit, or Documentation Review. 

Initial Audit - can be called Stage 2 Audit, Main Assessment, or Certification Audit. It is following this audit that a management certificate is issued. 

Periodic Audit - or surveillance audit. 

Renewal Audit - or Recertification or Tri-annual audit.

What does the process entail before I get a certificate?

Initial certification to a Management System Standard (e.g. ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001) has to be undertaken in two stages. This is a requirement of the rules that we work to and are audited against contained in ISO 17021. Certification Stage 1 comprises a document review of your Management System and an Initial Visit to assess the implementation of the system. This stage seeks to ensure that your Management System is focusing on the management of its appropriate business risks according to the focus of the certification.

We will also appraise the degree of reliance that can be placed upon key parts of the system, such as internal audits and will also start to plan the Initial Audit (main assessment). At the end of the Document Review and Initial Visit, a report is produced outlining areas where additional system development may be required.

What is the difference between a Preliminary Assessment and a Document Review/Initial Visit?

A Preliminary Assessment (or gap analysis) is not part of the formal certification process and is an optional service that some organisations find beneficial as it helps to assess the degree of management system development and implementation prior to commencing the full certification process.
Some benefits are that it provides additional confidence in the management system development stage and can help to speed the process of certification as clear gaps and potential weaknesses are identified prior to the certification process. In our experience, Preliminary Assessments are most beneficial to organisations wishing to roll-out their certification to a number of sites with the Preliminary Assessment being undertaken on a pilot site.

How long will it take to gain certification to a standard?

We recommend that you allow 6-8 weeks between your Stage 1 and Stage 2 audits. This will enable you to have sufficient time to address any issues that arise from the Stage 1 audit prior to the Initial Audit (Stage 2).

How long will my certificate be valid for?

The typical expiry of a certificate is three years but the time differs in the case of transfers. A re-certification audit must be carried out before a three year certificate can be issued. The re-certification audit is similar to an Initial Audit / Stage 2 Audit.

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