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Multisite certification by Bureau Veritas Certification Netherlands

March 2022, I had an interview about multisite certification, with Dirk Regenboog, Key Account Manager of Bureau Veritas Certification in The Netherlands.

Our contact started when I supported some companies which have multisite certification with Bureau Veritas Certification.

According to Dirk, the competitive distinctive profile of Bureau Veritas Certification, on specific multisite certification, are the global presence with

  • International and national accreditations
  • Local auditors, knowing the local legislation, speaking the local language and familiar with the local culture
  • Dedicated contacts in the Benelux organization of Bureau Veritas Certification
  • And the innovative client portal from Bureau Veritas Certification, named Maestro©


Bureau Veritas Benelux samples calculates and captures the sites, performing very similar activities/processes to be audited during the certification period of 3 years, according to the IAF.MD1, the mandatory document from the IAF (International Accreditation Forum). The MD1 gives the assumptions and the requirements for the process of multisite certification. 

Amendments on sites and standards can be implemented at any time. The audit duration as calculated is budgeted for the 3-years certification cycle,  this while at other Certification Bodies the audit duration and cost fluctuates every year, depending on the sites which will be sampled in a year, with possible differences in activities, effective number of full-time employees (eFTE) and complexity of the company-activities. Depending on the size of the multisite certification, the outcome of the square-root formula could give the result that not all sites are subject to an on-site audit during the 3-years certification cycle.

According to Dirk, a common confusion in multisite certification is the understanding of what is meant by the definition of the so-called “Central Function”.  The Central Function is not necessarily the Head Office. The central function is defined as the centralized location, where the certified system is managed and controlled. Within the central functions, employees are allocated to initiate, plan and control the activities, relevant to the applicable ISO standards, at all sites, as part of the certified management system. The core processes at the sites, like sales, production and delivery, could be typically centrally planned and controlled. Another example is the central planning and control of EHS compliance at the sites when having ISO 14001 and 45001. The calculation of the audit time of this central function depends on the number of people in this function. The central function needs to be audited each year.

For the supporting activities for the sites, like central procurement, IT and HR,  the certifier needs to map them to make an audit planning for these kinds of activities.

The frequency of these activities to be audited should be risk-based.

Stage 1

The start of the multisite certification process is the Stage 1 Audit, also called the preliminary survey or the initial audit. It’s the first introduction and orientation with the multisite organization.

This phase normally consists of

  • General introduction to the organization
  • Review
    • ​of the documentation on the relevant standards
    • if internal audits are in place
    • on the principles of multisite certification and the role of the central function in this, as described in the IAF.MD1
    • of the compliance with the relevant legislation
    • of the relevant demands from the standards
  • Visit at the central function and (some) sites
  • And verification of the stakeholder management

The auditor discusses the results of the Stage 1 Audit with the central management of the multisite organization.


Bureau Veritas Certification sees the following typical NC's when auditing the central function and the sites in multisite certification

  • Issues on the planning of the internal audits at the sites
  • Incomplete or even missing assessment of the effectiveness of the closing of actions
  • Root cause analyses on NC's not determined for the complete organization
  • Stakeholder analysis incomplete
  • Compliance issues on local legislationS
  • The scope of the centralized MR does not concern all sites. The results of the MR are not applicable for the complete multisite organization
  • Issues on the mandatory data analyses
  • Continuous improvement and sharing of best practices is not assured over the complete organization


The auditors of Bureau Veritas Certification in the Benelux normally have no problems in conducting audits at multisite organizations. Bureau Veritas Certification in the Benelux organizes regular Technical Meetings, where calibration and harmonization between the auditors are a fixed part of the agenda. Next to these meetings, Bureau Veritas Certification organizes regularly the monitoring and observing of the auditors during their work at the clients. 

In the Netherlands, the SCCM , as scheme owner for ISO 14001 and 45001, has regular harmonization meetings with auditors.

Further certifiers and inspectors in the Netherlands have regular meetings at the Dutch NVCi.

Bureau Veritas Certification in the Benelux aims to have the same lead auditor for a certification period of 3 years.

The new lead auditor will join at least audit at the multisite organization to know the organization with the management system en the way of working. After this, he becomes the new lead auditor.

RvA (Dutch accreditation)

Veritas is accredited for many standards by the RvA. The RvA controls the processes and way or working at Bureau Veritas Certification regularly by performing audits at the office and attending the planned audits. The process of multisite certification starts with making a contractual agreement with the multisite organizations, initiating the planning of the audit, performing the audits and issuing the certificates after the final decision. In the experience of Dirk, in the current IAF.MD 1 there are sometimes differences in the interpretation of the approach and methodology, which is partly due to the fact that the IAF.MD1 in some cases leaves room for interpretation.

In addition, there is always a critical look from the RvA on the calculation of the minimum required audit time, and the methodology used for this purpose.


The purpose of the services of Bureau Veritas Certification is to give companies and their stakeholders confidence that the processes and systems meet the applicable standards. The certificates which Bureau Veritas issues, symbolizes the confidence that they, as an independent institution, express in complying with applicable standards. A condition of this confidence should also be an unambiguous view of standard requirements and guidelines, which are inherently connected from the accreditation (ISO 17021, IAF-MD-documents and scheme-documents). It is therefore recommended to continue to look for unambiguity, transparency and concrete methodologies, so that no discrepancy can arise between certification bodies in terms of approach and methodology.

Dirk stated: “that since the world around us is changing, and standards are also evolving with it, there is certainly a need for harmonization and coordination with those involved organizations (accreditation council, scheme owners and clients). Besides local initiatives, a role at the international level is certainly important here; for example, from the IIOC (Independent International Organization for Certification) and/or the technical committees from the IAF.”  

Bureau Veritas Certification sees that their customers in some cases are not familiar with this Mandatory Document from the IAF. Because of this not understanding of the IAF MD1, Bureau Veritas Certification makes their offers for multisite certification as transparent as possible, with a reference to the IAF MD1 and a link to the IAF. Companies need to be aware about the specific requirements form the IAF.MD1, like when a NC occurs at a site, the organization must examine if this NC could have impact for the other sites.

According to Dirk: ” It's a very good initiative that MD1.Support can help organizations in multisite certification!”

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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