ISO 14001 Audit Day Requirements


Mary-K. Hardy

ISO14k Audit Day Requirements

I am presently in discussion with my registrar on the number of days required to perform a registration audit to ISO14k at one of our manufacturing sites.

I have been told that they will need 5 days, excluding the time needed before the audit for the documenation review, to do this.

This is one less day than required for a facility of 100 employees when attaining QS9000 registration. And I just don't understand WHY?!!?!!???

I have been told this number has been decided by the senior management at our registrar; but I cannot figure out what will be audited for 5 whole days.

Can anyone clarify this for me?

Or, better yet, give me a benchmark for approximate lengths that other registration audits have been so that I can take that information to our registrar!

We are manufacturers of acoustical products for the automotive industry. Our materials are virtually non-hazardous to people. Our product waste is somewhat unfriendly but its volume is what is of environmental concern. The location of the facility brings into it a lot of wildlife, flora, etc., that is an aspect. But FIVE DAYS of auditing, I just can't see how!

Thanks for the input.
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Super Moderator
The European Accreditation of Certification (EAC) provides a guidline (EN 45012) for determining the number of audit days needed to conduct a QMS audit. Right now I don't know of a 14K specific document. Also look at the attached chart to help you out.:bigwave:
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We are 1 day Level 1 and 5 days for the audit. (700 employees) While we haven't gone through the reg audit as yet, we have an agreement with our registrar since we feel 2-3 days is plenty, that if they finish early we will only be billed for the actual time.


Super Moderator
And they agreed to this?:confused:

They said they didn't want the additional thousands of dollars for audit days because they're great guys and are concerned about your bank account.:eek:

Who are these guys? I don't wanna work for them.:eek:



I'm in the middle of a couple 14K registrations with clients. Both are using the same auditor. The registrar REQUIRES a pre-assessment of one day, which includes on on-site document review. The number of audit days was pre-set after the application, but the auditor can adjust the days as necessary. They want to confirm on site that the list of impacts on the application is correct. One client is a paint manufacturer with all kinds of potentially nasty impacts - 1000+ gallons MEK, etc. They also have tons of DEQ paperwork that need to be audited. The other assembles robots and their worst impact is a five gallon bucket of oil. The final registration will be 3-4 days for the paint company, 1-1.5 for the robots. Both companies are about the same number of employees.



Super Moderator
That sounds about right. My present client (1000+ employees) makes satellites (the kind that go into space not the car). The pre-assessment was 4 days (1 auditor) and the registration will be 2 days (2 auditors) for a total of 8 audit days.:)


When I worked for a registrar, there was a lot of discussion about this.

Right now, there is NO REQUIREMENT for the stage 2 portion of the audit. (the previous post for a minimum of 1 day for stage 1 is correct).

Most registrars have some formula they go by, and there are several reccomendations out there, but there is no hard and fast rule.

If you already have a QMS in place, your audit will take less time then if you only have a 14000 system (because your people are used to the audit process, some of the system componants are the same, etc...) This is doubly so if you were lucky enough to have your QMS and EMS auditor be one and the same person (a rareity due to EMS requirements...)

We (when I worked for the registrar) always quoted High. But, we only charged for the amount of time we were actually on site (eg: we would quote 4 days, but if we were only on site 3 days, that's all you would pay...) You may want to see if your registrar has a similar policy.

Otherwise, if you truely feel like they've scheduled too much time, ask them to provide you with reasoning behind their decision (aside from the man behind the curtain came up with that number.) Tell them you are aware that there is no formal requirement. If you go in armed with the number of days from similar companies to yours, and inform them that you feel you're being gouged, they may reduce their number of days.

Good Luck :D


As long as the number of days for extremely similar companies was quoted by the same registrar! Not all registrars have a pristine reputation for their certifications, and with valid reasons.

Look, there is so much more than just the number of employees. That's why there isn't the hard and fast rules like for QMS. When we sat down to evaluate an application for certification, the number of employees was only one of the considerations. Location, size of facility, number of permits req'd, ect. was much more important. As far as number of employees, you will find much more labor intensive operations south of the border and in S. America and other parts of the world than in the U.S. Labor there is cheap and do the work that the US might use automated equipment for. The production rate may be the same, but far more employees than in the States. Vice versa. Production rate is more important than employees.

And environmental management isn't about people so much as the work environment. We're talking about locations of drainage areas,etc. We're talking about assessing a 150,000 square foot facility vs. a 2 million square foot facility. Bordering federal wetlands vs. an industrial park. Glass plant vs. furniture assembly. What chemicals are stored, used, discharged.

You may think that all the assessor has to do is look at your aspect identification and what you're doing about them, but that's not true. The assessor should be looking far deeper than that. He/she should make sure your aspect identification process is appropriate, your targets and objectives are suitable and measureable.

Environmental assessment is much riskier than QMS. QMS is just about running a smooth business that makes money and keeps clients satisfied. EMS is the real thing. A registrar who only skims the surface is doing a disservice to everyone. A company who employs a registrar who does a shoddy job is putting themselves at risk, and there is no value in the certification.

Sorry for the semi-lecture!:) :( :biglaugh: EMS was my baby for 4 years and I feel very passionate about it.


Super Moderator
Why is EMS more riskier than QMS?:confused: Apparently most Registrars don't think so (I've checked them out). If they did they would insist that EMS Auditors be environmental professionals 1st and foremost. I personally know that UL wants engineers and not credentialed environmental professionals as EMS Auditors.

As I stated above the European guide is used as a reference due to the lack of anything better. It finds a kind of commom ground with workforce size.

Any method you want can be used to determine the # of audit days required as long as the organization is audited effectively.
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