Research report: Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Conformity Assessment in New Zealand

Research report: Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Conformity Assessment in New Zealand

A new study by the University of Canterbury has shown that the majority of conformity assessment bodies (CABs) in New Zealand have returned to normalcy post-COVID-19 pandemic. This is in contrast to expectations at the peak of the pandemic where 45% were either left uncertain about their future or did not expect to make a recovery over the following year. Furthermore, the study shows that 59% of CABs already had a contingency plan in place before the COVID-19 pandemic and 95% were able to rapidly respond to the challenges posed by the pandemic. However, as CABs return to normal, 1 in 4 expect some delays due to backlog:

"It is impossible for lab staff to work from home when all of the test equipment and test jigs are installed and operated in a controlled environment [...] It has taken about 6 months for demand to return to levels seen before lock down." 

"The process of testing is a physical one and hence the lockdown stopped our business completely". 

"Audit work was simply postponed which has now caused a serious months long backlog in our business."

Overall, it seems CABs are recovering well with no immediate threat to economic viability. 

The full report can be accessed here:

The study includes 120 accredited CAB responses and looks at the effects of COVID-19 on business operations, the resilience of the conformity assessment industry, the impact of digitilization and the broader economic demand and competition for CABs. The survey was organized in New Zealand by Prof Pavel Castka (University of Canterbury) and is part of a global attempt to map the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on conformity assessment, jointly researched by Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und prüfung (German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing) the Technische Universität Berlin (TU Berlin, Chair of Innovation Economics) Fraunhofer ISI in the framework of the QI-FoKuS initiative and University of Canterbury. The survey was successfully administered in Germany, New Zealand, Italy and the UK (as of Dec 2020).