In an increasingly competitive marketplace, businesses are looking for more and more ways to demonstrate excellence to their clients and stakeholders. One way of showcasing this, is through an externally verified quality management system, which illustrates that an organization has the processes in place to adhere to internationally recognized best practice standards. ISO 9001 is such a quality management systems certification. Followed and used widely across the world by government bodies and public/private enterprises, it certifies that an organization follows processes that adhere to the best practices across all levels of the businesses, ranging from facilities to people. ISO 9001 QMS certification Obtaining ISO 9001 quality management certification requires a review of existing processes, evaluation and an audit Obtaining ISO 9001 quality management certification requires a review of existing processes, evaluation and an audit, to determine what can be improved or implemented, which then must be changed and regularly reviewed to ensure that the approved improvements are made. While there is some degree of work involved for the organization to reach the high quality standards required, the benefits to the business of attaining ISO 9001 standard certification can be substantial. Darkin Architects undertook ISO 9001 certification Llanelli and Cardiff-based architectural firm, Darkin Architects undertook ISO 9001 certification with BM TRADA in 2019, and the outcomes from the exercise have been highly significant and noticeable. David Darkin, Business Owner of Darkin Architects, who coordinated the project, said “We moved to much larger premises in spring 2019, and were keen to grow the business. We’re a RIBA accredited business, and at the time we were a team of eight, with two fully qualified architects.” David adds, “As we were starting to grow, we recognized that we needed ISO 9001 accreditation to show potential customers that we are a serious business, with a commitment to service and quality. We also realized that in order to pitch for larger pieces of work, they were expecting businesses to have this certification in place.” Quantity Surveyor to assist in attaining certification As part of the process of growing the business, the team at Darkin Architects decided that they would also need to recruit a Quantity Surveyor to join and assist them. As the quality supervisor and in turn, the additional member of staff, could be shown to be actively working towards business development, they were able to apply for a Growth Fund from the local council body. After a challenging start, David Darkin found BM TRADA, and was thrilled to have a supportive and understanding team This meant that they could claim back 50% of the cost of the certification, along with providing them with a deadline in which they needed to complete it. After a challenging start, David Darkin found BM TRADA, and was thrilled to have a supportive and understanding team, which was led under the supervision of Jonathan Quayle, who helped him through the process and in meeting the all-important deadline for funding. David Darkin explains, “Jonathon Quayle was great. He was very helpful, a thorough professional, and good-humored in personality. He talked me through the entire process and explained everything. He provided regular updates throughout the process and I felt like I could pick up the phone to him at any time.” Streamlined auditing He further praised Jonathan, stating “Jonathan was completely amazing and totally understood the situation and the time frame that we were working within to achieve the funding. I can’t praise him highly enough for his hard work and dedication.” The audit was undertaken by Steve Beynon, who also provided support, helping to complete the process within four months and in time for the funding deadline. David praised Steve Beynon, stating “Steve was very professional and experienced. We had an email exchange in advance, so he was fully prepped and he helped us through every stage – he really knew his stuff. It’s a great comfort knowing we should have the same person auditing us again next year. Our entire experience was marvelous.” Funding and achieving ISO 9001 certification Thanks to the support of the team at BM TRADA, Darkin Architects met their deadline, received their funding and achieved ISO 9001 certification. As a direct result of this certification, the team was able to recruit for their new QS and tender for two large projects that they couldn’t have done before. The benefits of attaining ISO 9001 standard certification can make a real difference to a business As a consequence of the additional staff recruitment, one of the existing members of the team, a senior technician, was able to make a sideways move and start RICS training, and a former technician was able to move up to the position of senior technician. This has since allowed the organization to also take on another technician for more support. Competitive edge in tender processes The benefits of attaining ISO 9001 standard certification can make a real difference to a business. As well as providing a sense of reassurance to potential customers, the ISO 9001 certification offers a competitive edge in tender processes and it can also have a positive effect on the workforce. On top of this, the certification also provides a host of financial benefits that stem from improved levels of efficiency, as a result of increased profitability and reduced levels of waste. Working with a well-established UKAS accredited organization such as BM TRADA ensures that the process of obtaining ISO 9001 is straightforward and easily understood. Having operated for over 80 years, BM TRADA provides the reassurance of quality, experience and robust processes that have continued to evolve and survive the test of time.