ISO 14001 - Project Planning and Evaluation.


John C

ISO 14001 Project Planning and Evaluation

Next week I'm leaving my cosy ISO 9000 facilitator job and going out offering consultancy on 9000 and 14000. My first venture into 14000 is to bid for a contract to put together a plan and costing for a full ISO 14000 certification/registration. As I see it, it's a bit of a catch 22; I won't really know what is required and what it will cost unless I've gone right through the planning stage, particularly to identify all aspects but, of course, I'm not being offered that. The answer is expected from a couple of weeks work. Decision to go/no go will be made on strength of it.
I expect the full planning stage and full
project up to registration would be 2 months and a further 6 months respectively, give or take some.
I see this 'pre-decision' stage as a mini planning phase and would hope it would end up as a practical framework for the completion of the planning phase.
(If that's not very clear, then I guess that's par for the course - I never did this before. I sent myself on a 14000 auditor course and studied the standard.)
Any comments, advice, issues raised, etc, would be appreciated.
Thanks and rgds,
John C

barb butrym

Quite Involved in Discussions
Well, John...welcome to the world...and good luck. I found real quick that ya can't rely on just 1st hand knowledge of the really need to get into the trenches before you can be effective as a consultant..sharing what you know isn't as easy as it sounds.

The impact/status analysis can be tricky for the novice, be careful.

As an offside, what are the requirements of a subject matter expert these days, in regard to ISO14000, and registration audits? I know a SM needs to be present during the audit....but who/what is a SM?

John C

Thanks for the response and for the good wishes. My strength is in documentation and systems. I understand the standard and the way to deal with it as a system but when it comes to the technical issues, I need to get myself backup and/or a source of reliable advice. I never heard of the "SM expert" (wasn't mentioned on my course) but I guess it's the person who knows the technical ins and outs of the particular environmental aspect we are dealing with - would you think so?
My supplier experience has taught me that the technical side can be dealt with but the 'people' side is another matter. "there's nowt as odd as folks" as they say back in Yorkshire. My particular concern is to be able to evaluate commitment and nail down the client's share of the bargain. I can vouch for mine, but it takes two to tango and I'm the one with everything to lose. Still, I'll proceed as carefully as I can and try to watch everything.
Maybe we should write in a series of 'abort/plough on' decision stages, so as to make it possible to extricate from a collapsing situation. I already floated that to some extent, saying that we might consider compliance as a stage towards registration. That gives me some ideas but it's business for the later stage.
I'll be careful, so far as I know how. It's against my nature though.
rgds, John C

Andy Bassett

I hope nobody minds me jumping in here.

John your problem seems to be a general consultancy problem, how do you price a job when you cannot measure or estimate the input/effort that will made by the client.

Can i make a few suggestions
1. Agree with the client beforehand what will be your objectives, spend some time on this
because what they really want is rarely what they say they want. ie 'Obtain ISO 9000 certification' can mean 'We need this ISO business to keep customers, or 'We need ISO 9000 to help straighten out this mess'. these two different interpretations will need two different strategies from you. As clients are frquently suspicious of contracts, get them to agree and sign a 'Statement of Objectives' including where possible measurables.
2. It is often said that projects live or die according to the support that they get from the managers. I disagree, projects live or die according to the INVOLVEMENT they get from the managers. So state from day 1 what their commitment is going to be ie a 1 hr meeting with senior management every month. On one project where i am at the moment, i stated that i needed the General Manager to attend a kick-off meeting every morning from 08.00 to 09.15 (2 weeks per month), and of course because he is doing this everybody attends the meetings and the decisions are quickly made.
3. If you get through a ISO project without any crisis points congratulations, i never have. Do not despair, tell the management very clearly what are the problems and what needs to be done. It is surprising that once a project has started managers do not want to lose face by cancelling or delaying it themselves. Personally i would be more preapred to walk off the job (But subtley ie i will be back when...) than try to struggle on with an unworkable situation for which there is a good chance you will end up with the blame.
4 Lastly can i recommend you read a book called 'Dangerous Company' about consultancy firms and the good work and bad work they have done. Apart from being a reasonable read it will help you understand how consultants can be used wisely and unwisely and position yourself accordingly.

Good Luck

barb butrym

Quite Involved in Discussions
Typically, if the consultant has little hands on experience in the env. aspects of the company's product and byproduccts, he brings in a Subject Matter expert to assist in the initial evaluation and impact analysis. Personally I wouldn't attempt a 14k project without one. During the registration audit, the registrar brings in a SM as part of the team. A company may have its own SM expert in house to assit the consultant as well. I find that a 14k project works in reverse to the ISO9000 ones, in regard to implementation and order of creation of documents. But maybe its me...LOL maybe I am backward. A properly implemented system will pay for itself in a year with savings to the company....goes right to the bottom line. So, now I will get off my soap box and look for comments.


Super Moderator
How does somebody get to have all this consulting and auditing fun?
I'm an EMS-PA (RAB), a REA (Cal/EPA) and a REP. I've got a BS in Occupational Health & Safety and about 9 years in the EHS field. I've worked for 2 major Defense Contractors (Lockheed & ITT). Being stuck on an Army base in the middle of the California Mojave Desert is not doing me or my wife any good. I'm half-way between LA and Las Vegas and it might as well be Manchuria.
Unless you are a retired Colonel there is no place to go in Government Contracting. It doesn't matter how much of an alphabet is behind you name, what your IQ is (140+), or how much you know. The ol'buddy network will kill you.
I paid for my own ISO 14000 training and RAB certification, and everything else to get out of here. I haven't yet resorted to bribery. Does anybody have any suggestions?

barb butrym

Quite Involved in Discussions
For me its networking that made the difference I think. I know mega people....and keep my eyes and ears open ALL THE TIME. Join a professional group, volunteer to speak, get out there and project yourself. It takes time to get credentials.. I was fortunate to have made many contacts in industry before I ventured out on my own. With env stuff, there should be several opportunities to meet people as everyone is 'tuned in' to that right now. Be felxible, I picked up a client saturday morning at the bagel shop one time. He overheard me talking to an employee from a client I was working with at the time doing training. Also got some inquiries after a yard sale my daughter had. Do a free info-mercial at a local club. Or perhaps you need to do it where ever it is you want to go.......You probably should decide where you want to be first, as each geographic area may be a bit different. It doesn't "just happen" it takes time.


Super Moderator

Recently one of our contract sites on an Army base registered to 9002 and 14001 at the same time. From what I was told, one of the most difficult problems they had was in the proper and/or complete identification of their "Aspects". This was at a location that had a group of SM experts at hand or readily available for free. Be straight with your client, let them know that you aren't a regulatory expert and go for it.

Or... convince them that you know of a guy in the Mojave Desert in California that's kind of a SM expert in environmental stuff who'd love to visit the Emerald Isle.
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