Building your quality manual

Building your quality manual

We are asked routinely if R18LabQMS provides procedures and content as a part of the annual subscription? The short answer is, no.

R18LabQMS is a web-based management system that follows the guideline of AASHTO R18; a tool to manage procedures and equipment inventory required by the standard specific to your laboratory. For example, the standard requires the laboratory to provide a training procedure (section 5.5.1) for technicians with a requirement to outline how that procedure is carried out specific to that laboratory. Procedures are likely much different for a smaller laboratory as opposed to a state DOT. As always, please see the standard for specific guidance and requirements.

For equipment procedures, your laboratory may have the majority of calibrations performed by an outside service. With the remainder being performed by laboratory personnel, this will require an outlined procedure for each in-house procedure. Again, each laboratory is unique.

In-house procedures forms

• The initial part of the procedure should include Purpose, Verification Equipment Required, Tolerance, and the procedure itself.

• Findings and documentation as required by the standard – form elements can be created to meet these requirements for documentation. 

There are four default form elements for all procedure forms; 

Measurement Standard – (non-working pieces of equipment used for in-house calibrations). There is a dropdown option within the application for equipment tagged as such.

Add a file – this can be a template used for procedure documentation used with or in conjunction with the application form.

Signature of the person performing the procedure.

Date the procedure was completed will determine the next due date for the procedure.

For a detailed outline of the required calibration, standardization, check and maintenance procedures, please reference AASHTO R18, sections 6.5 Equipment Records through 6.6.2. 

Don’t let this be you

When the lab presents completed equipment procedures to assessors during an onsite or remote assessment that are brief with little to no detail, this attracts non-conformities and will require follow up responses and put the accreditation status in question. 

Stay current with the standard

It’s important to note that changes may or may not be made on an annual basis. It’s the responsibility of the Quality Manager to review and make changes to all procedures within your Quality Manual. 

Q4 2022 V2.5 planning

Our annual upgrade to the application is coming up and, as always, we will be listening to users and accreditation bodies for input. We will keep everyone updated as we move forward. Work to begin in Q4 with a launch in late Q1 2023. 

User question

Q: If our company is bought out or sold, or if there is a name change to our laboratory can we continue to keep all records and procedures within our Quality Manual in place? 

A: Yes! The first order of business is to change the account/laboratory name and address by going to the Managed Lab tab and clicking ‘edit info’ in the upper left-hand corner. Other things to think about when making changes are equipment categories, lab positions, and users and their roles.


Once you work through the setup process, the following links can be found in the lower right-hand corner of the application.


Getting started with R18LabQMS and what we provide regarding training, both virtual and onsite. Before we dive into the options available, getting started happens within the setup process, it’s intuitive and follows the sections that require procedures within the management and technical sections. Each section within the setup process corresponds to sections in AASHTO R18. You can either type in the Procedure Itself or upload a file with the details of the procedure.  I always tell labs during a demo it’s much like a ‘Turbo Tax’ experience.

Once you have completed the setup process, or wish to move on to the dashboard view, just click save progress and exit setup. It’s straightforward and intuitive.

Additional Training needed to jump-start the onboarding process: 

Virtual Training

We target a specific area for training and limit the time to one hour. An example would be adding Equipment Procedures to your Equipment. There is no charge for virtual training limited to 1 hour.

Onsite Training

We spend one day in your laboratory to review all aspects of your Quality Manual and take a deep dive into R18labQMS implementation. This training is fee-based, please inquire. 

Upcoming meetings and sponsorships

We are getting close!

AAPT Annual Meeting – San Antonio, TX September 12-15, 2022

Monday – Thursday, September 12-15, 2022

Please check out our most recent promotional R18LabQMS video

For all questions regarding your Quality Management System, whether your lab is accredited or not, please contact us and learn how R18LabQMS can add value to your laboratory.

One last favor to ask, if there is a specific topic of discussion you would like to see in upcoming blogs posts, please send us a note.

Gary Irvine
R18LabQMS Program Manager