ISO/IEC 17025 and ISO/IEC 17020, which is the “right” standard?

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Watch the webinar to learn more when to choose ISO/IEC 17025 or ISO/IEC 17020, or when you need both. We will examine the similarities and differences between ISO/IEC 17025:2017 and ISO/IEC 17020:2012. The differences between Laboratory and Inspection Body accreditation will be discussed, along with a general overview of the assessment process.

No other accreditation standards cross over as many industries as do ISO/IEC 17025 and ISO/IEC 17020. Unless dictated by a specifier on which standard to use, many organizations struggle with the decision on what standard is the most appropriate for their activities. Both are conformity assessment standards containing requirements for the competence of an organization to perform the work detailed on the scope of accreditation. There are common elements to both standards such as requirement for management systems that are similar and are based on ISO 9001. However, there also key difference between the standard which are the key factors an organization should consider when making the decision on which standards is the one appropriate for their activity.

ISO/IEC 17025, General requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories, applies to organizations that perform testing of items and provide a result, such as a concentration. ISO/IEC 17020, Conformity assessment – Requirements for the operation of various types of bodies performing inspection, pertains to organizations that are using professional judgment to make a decision of pass or fail for the object of conformity being inspected.


David Feist, ANAB  – Senior Accreditation Manager

David Feist is an accomplished quality professional with over 20 years of experience in project management and large scale project implementation internationally.  Experienced in multiple industries including manufacturing, process mapping, organizational effectiveness, Emergency management planning for business continuity, Six Sigma Quality Improvement Methodology and software development.

Currently he is a Sr. Accreditation Manager and Lead Assessor for ANAB in both ISO/IEC 17020 and ISO/IEC 17025 and a Technical Lead on the ANAB Technical Advisory Group for both of these standards. 

Prior to joining ANAB David was a consultant in Laboratory Systems and has established an ran a number of laboratories globally,  guiding through ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation.  He is the former owner of China Sourcing, Inc, an Asia-Pacific manufacturer of Industrial Products sold throughout US.