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Multisite certification by DNV-GL

Finally, the first interview with a certifier on multisite certification! I had a chat through the web with Matthijs Dierick. Matthijs is internal and external trainer on management systems at DVV-GL in the Netherlands. Next to this he is also auditor of management systems. I know Matthijs from his very useful blogs on internal audits, management reviews and so on, waiting for the translations in English...


In his lead auditor trainings, multisite certification is a subject. Harmonization on multisite certification is done internally at sales and at the auditors of management systems. DNV-GL focuses on the bigger customers where multisite certification is rather common.


DNV-GL expects from organizations that, for multisite certification, they group their sites on processes/activities. According to the IAF.MD1 sampling of a set of sites to be audited is only permitted when these sites perform very similar processes/activities.

This assessment is subjective. And, the bigger the group of sites which should be sampled the more the savings. An interesting issue would be if the similarity of processes/activities depends on the scope of certification. I expect that processes/activities are more likely to be considered as similar when having a more generic scope.

Leadership and central function

According the IAF.MD1 organizations should identify their central function. This central function plans/controls certain activities that are carried out on the sites. The central function is where operational control and authority from the top management of the organization is exerted over every site. In my understanding, the central function is normally the management with those who coordinate the activities/processes. It makes sense to add Quality Assurance to this function.

Matthijs stated that during the central function audit the CEO should be audited first. He should demonstrate his leadership and commitment regarding the management systems, ensuring that the management system archives its intended results (ISO 9001/14001/45001, clause 5.1.1g).

Common other issues for the annual central function audit, are

  • Policies
  • General targets
  • Planning
  • Data collection and analysis (MD1, clause 5.6)
  • Planning and follow up of internal audits
  • Centralized MR

Regarding the internal audits, the central function should show the consideration of the "... importance of the processes concerned, changes affecting the organization, and the results of the previous audits." (f.e. ISO9001: clause 9.2.2) in the audit program. The complete multisite organization must be covered by this program.

The management of a multisite organization should have a clear view of what is expected from the sites in scope of certification. And, of course how to control this. There should be also some level of standardization at the sites. Matthijs gave the example of the registers of the environmental aspects. Standardizing makes it possible to compare these, sites could be compared when issues like these registers are standardized.


Matthijs gave some examples of rather typical non-conformities from the audits of the central functions.

  • Communication (f.e ISO 900114001/45001, clause 7.4).
  • The review of non-conformities at the sites. When a NC is found at a site, coming from an internal or external audit, investigation shall take place to determine whether the other sites may be affected (MD1, clause 7.7). Matthijs audited organizations where this investigation at the other sites was not performed.

Advises and challenges

Matthijs advises companies to not only focus on cost savings but to also benefit from the added value to the business of an experienced auditor looking at your processes. Most companies are on the bottom line of the number of sites to be sampled. But he knows companies that want to have a higher number of sampled audits than only the minimum as demanded by the MD1.

The challenge for Matthijs is how to explore the distinctive of DNV-GL in multisite certification from the others certifiers and how to communicate this to the market.

See further our homepage on MD1.Support!


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It's a very good initiative that MD1.Support can help organizations in multisite certification!

Dirk Regenboog from Bureau Veritas Certification Netherlands
Dirk Regenboog from Bureau Veritas Certification Netherlands

MD1.Support helped us a lot how we could benefit from multisite certification

Jack Reinders from Bronkhorst
Jack Reinders from Bronkhorst

Bas Logister of MD1.Support helped us in the understanding of the requirements and the calculation of multisite certification,

Ronald Velsink from Unica
Ronald Velsink from Unica

Bas Logister of MD1.Support helped us in our negotiations with the certifier

Henk Kerkdijk from Teijin Aramid
Henk Kerkdijk from Teijin Aramid