IANZ has just granted official approval to the first company in New Zealand accredited to do testing for methamphetamine contamination under new rules that came into effect last year.
In 2017, Standards New Zealand published a new standard on the testing and decontamination of meth-affected properties (NZS8510) which required both rigorous validation of sampling kits and appropriately trained samplers.
Hawkes Bay-based company Drug Smart has just become the first company to be accredited under that Standard. It provides meth testing along the East Coast and lower North Island for the likes of national government organisations, insurance companies and loss adjusters, as well as property management companies and individual property owners.
Director Sam Murdoch says the IANZ application was a very thorough process and Drug Smart was proud to be the first in New Zealand to gain the accreditation.
“It was good to be scrutinised in such a way because, now we’ve got the IANZ accreditation, it gives assurance to our clients they are in safe hands. Given the clientele we have, it is definitely a bonus for us to have IANZ on our reports and our website.”
His company tests between 50 and 100 properties each month for meth contamination.
IANZ’s general manager of accreditation services Phil Barnes says the new standard requires complete independence between the test providers and the cleaning companies. In the past, conflict of interest problems arose with the same companies doing both. “Some property owners ended up spending a small fortune, sometimes tens of thousands of dollars, on decontamination that wasn’t actually necessary.
“Now, for a company to claim compliance with the Standard and gain accreditation, they have to demonstrate to IANZ that their meth testing samplers have appropriate training and competence and that their testing kits are proven to be reliable.”
Before a property owner makes any decision on decontamination work, the Standard now requires a detailed assessment by an IANZ-accredited organisation to determine how bad the decontamination is, and where it is above acceptable levels. After decontamination, another detailed assessment is also required by an IANZ-accredited organisation. Assuming the contamination is then below the acceptable level, the cleaning company is able to produce a clearance certificate.
“Using IANZ-accredited laboratories and inspection bodies provides confidence the organisations are fully independent, use competent people and technically reliable methods,” says Barnes. “IANZ accreditation also means accredited organisations keep good records and have effective monitoring and complaint management systems.
“Drug Smart were meticulous in their responses to the in-depth assessment process and we’re very pleased to have granted them the first meth testing accreditation in New Zealand.”
NZS8510 is not mandatory but property owners should demand services that comply with the standard if they want reliable and impartial information to minimise any decontamination work that may be needed, says IANZ.
About IANZ: International Accreditation New Zealand (IANZ) is New Zealand's national authority for the accreditation of laboratories, inspection bodies and radiology practices. It accredits laboratories in all sectors, including medical testing, dairy testing, meat testing, drinking water testing, as well as mechanical and physical testing.
It also accredits inspection bodies for engineering safety, food safety, and fire protection activities, and Building Consent Authorities.
An independent investigation by the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research recently demonstrated the crucial role accreditation plays in supporting the New Zealand economy, with IANZ now supporting industries accounting for $35.8 billion of the country’s GDP. It also supports production in sectors that employ over 357,700 workers, 17% of all employment in New Zealand.