Accreditation, purpose and common questions

Accreditation, purpose and common questions

Potential users of R18LabQMS who are new to the accreditation process have a lot of questions regarding the purpose and functionality of R18LabQMS, how to get started and much more. Let’s address some common questions that often go unanswered. 

Basic Requirements for accreditation with the AASHTO Accreditation Program (AAP)

  • Establish and maintain a Quality Management System (manage with R18LabQMS)
  • On-site Assessment every 18-24 months (initially)
  • Participate in the AASHTO re:source PSP (proficiency sample program)

The first five action items to begin your accreditation process

  1. Determine which accreditation body you will be working with; while there are choices within the industry, the most widely used and respected accreditation body is the AASHTO Accreditation Program (AAP).
  2. Areas of accreditation you are pursuing, i.e. Performance Graded Binder, Aggregates, Soils, Cements, etc.
  3. Determine the specific tests within each area of accreditation that your accreditation will include.
  4. Determine the Quality Systems your accreditation will include, i.e., AASHTO R18, ASTM D3666, etc.
  5. Tools and Resources; R18LabQMS – A web-based Quality Management System that follows the guidelines of AASHTO R18.  


The R18LabQMS application is your Quality Management System that follows the guidelines of AASHTO R18. In short, there are two main sections within the standard, that being section 5 (management), and section 6 (technical). Each section requires procedures that are specific to your laboratory. 

Can I add test data that is performed in our laboratory?

The application is not designed as a data management system for your day-to-day testing operations. However, there is flexibility to add sections within the quality manual that may include company policies, safety procedures and documentation, and include lab testing data by uploading files. 

Is the application accepted as a method to manage our quality manual?

Yes, accreditation bodies accept R18LabQMS as a method/tool to manage your Quality Management System. 

Can I share my quality manual with the assessors?

Yes, one significant feature is being able to share your quality manual with assessors (read-only, permission-based) prior and during an assessment. Assessors create an account from the login page, and once they have their login credentials, they can request to view your laboratory QM and the primary lab manager will receive an email with the request and will also appear on their dashboard.

Do I share my quality manual after the assessment to resolve non-conformities?

No. Once the onsite assessment is completed, all correspondence is done through your account with AASHTO re:source to resolve non-conformities.

How often do I need to update my quality manual?

Management of your quality manual should be an ongoing task with the major piece maintaining equipment procedures. An example would be if a lab has 100 pieces of equipment, they could potentially have 200+ procedures that will need to be completed including calibrations, standardizations, checks, and maintenance, both in-house and outside calibration services. This requires consistent oversight of your Quality Management System.

Are updates included with my annual subscriptions?

Yes. All upgrades to the R18LabQMS application are included with the annual subscription. Users are notified when upgrades are made through blog posts and the application news on the login page.

I may need periodic training sessions, is that available?

Virtual training is provided at no charge. 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 one hour.

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: When I log in, I have limited access to the application, can you help?

A: Users have various levels of access that are assigned by either the Primary Lab Manager or the Manager (role). The following description of roles can also be found when adding new users:

These are roles used in the software to permit a level of accessibility to each user.

Primary Lab Manager (PLM)

Each primary lab will have at least one PLM, they will have full access to manage and maintain the R18LabQMS software. PLMs are the only roles that have access to the primary and satellite labs.

Lab Manager

Has access only to the lab that has been added to and can manage and maintain all features within that specific lab.

Lab Technician

Has access only to the dashboard, procedure history and QM (read-only and unable to open links). The lab technician role can enter data and complete procedure calibrations or maintenance forms.

Senior Technician

Allows the senior technician to navigate through the equipment Inventory including adding and editing equipment inventory and procedures.

Senior Manager

Can view with read-only access the Procedure History, QM and Internal Audit reports for all labs within the company.


A non-user does not have access to the software and is used to build the structure of the organizational chart of the laboratory or for someone who will not use the software but may be in your laboratory.


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, it is limited to one 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 Sponsorship We will Attend:

  • Southeastern Asphalt User / Producer Group (SEAUPG), Raleigh, NC, November 15-17, 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 blog posts, please send us a note!

Gary Irvine
R18LabQMS Program Manager