ANAB’s Field Evaluation Body (FEB) program for NFPA 790, Standard For Competency Of Third-Party Field Evaluation Bodies, and NFPA 791, Recommended Practice And Procedures For Unlabeled Electrical Equipment Evaluation, helps ensure high-quality performance of a field evaluation. The program, described in SR 2441 Field Evaluation Body Accreditation Program, is designed as a companion for either ISO/IEC 17020 Accreditation for Inspection Bodies or ISO/IEC 17025 Accreditation for Testing Laboratories.
What Is NFPA 790 & NFPA 791?
NFPA 790-2024 and NFPA 791-2024 are published by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and offer a recommended framework for managing the evaluation and labeling process for uncertified electrical equipment. Both standards together act as guidance for the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ), which plays an important role in ensuring public safety in buildings. These NFPA standards define the AHJ as “an organization, office, or individual responsible for enforcing the requirements of a code or standard, or for approving equipment, materials, an installation, or a procedure.” Further, the AHJ is comprised of multiple different agencies that change depending on the jurisdiction the building resides in, the type of facility of the building, and the owner of the facility.
The AHJ may be a federal, state, local, or other regional department or individual—such as a fire marshal, fire chief, chief of fire prevention bureau, labor department, or health department, building official, electrical inspector, and a host of other people who are considered as “the authority having jurisdiction” that conduct checks on the overall safety of the building in regards to fire, life, and electrical safety programs.
Field Evaluation vs. Product Certification
Field evaluations are a conformity assessment activity that verify a product’s compliance with relative code and product standard requirements such as NFPA 790-2024 and NFPA 791-2024. Unlike testing and certification, field evaluations are performed on-site where products are installed and operated. They are commonly required for unlabeled products that are not covered by any sort of product certification.
The Role of Field Evaluation Bodies
Field Evaluation Bodies (FEBs) is an organization or part of an organization that performs field evaluations of electrical or other equipment. These third-party conformity assessment bodies evaluate unlisted electrical equipment to determine compliance with national product safety standards. They are referred to as FEBs because the evaluations take place on-site at points of installation rather than in a laboratory-setting. They are important because they fill the gap for equipment that is not subject to a traditional certification or safety listing.
Simply put, if there is a questionable piece of uncertified or unlisted equipment, many headaches can be resolved by having the equipment inspected and Field Labeled (as applied to evaluation products) by an FEB. This is because FEBs have their own code requirements (NFPA 790-2024 and NFPA 791-2024) they must follow in order to verify that the electrical equipment is ready and safe for operation.
National Recognized Testing Laboratories (NRTLs)
National Recognized Testing Laboratories (NRTLs) in the U.S. provide field evaluation of electrical or other equipment. Being an NRTL, however, does not automatically make the FEB acceptable to the AHJ. Consequently, it is important that any FEB you contact has the competency to properly complete the field evaluation and that they will be acceptable to the AHJ. ANAB’s Field Evaluation Body Accreditation Program defines additional accreditation requirements for FEBs to ensure the best quality possible in field evaluations.
ANAB’s ISO/IEC 17020 Inspection Body Accreditation Program as well as ANAB’s ISO/IEC 17025 Testing Laboratory Accreditation Program are well-established, nationally and internationally. This means achieving accreditation from ANAB will help move your laboratory toward global recognition and consistent operations, thereby providing assurance in the quality of your laboratory’s testing and confidence in its test results.
ANAB’s Field Evaluation Body Accreditation Program
ANAB’s supplemental Accreditation Requirements: Field Evaluation Accreditation Program (SR 2441) defines additional accreditation requirements for FEBs. The document should be used in conjunction with MA 2100, ANAB Accreditation Manual for Inspection, Laboratories and Related Activities (Non-Forensic).
SR 2441 describes accreditation requirements for FEBs in addition to ISO/IEC 17020:2012 and ISO/IEC 17025:2017. It has Annex A showing the corresponding clauses of NFPA 790-2024 and ISO/IEC 17020:2012 and Annex B showing the corresponding clauses of NFPA 790-2024 and ISO/IEC 17025:2017, explaining how fulfillment of shared clauses shall be demonstrated. The technical checklist is derived from NFPA 791-2024, which gives the AHJ confidence that this program is robust and effective to meeting their needs.