How Long Does it Take to Get ISO Certified?

One of the main questions we get asked when people enquire about ISO Certification is How Long Does it Take to Get ISO Certified?

This is hard to answer as it depends on many aspects and organisations should ensure they are implementing ISO for the right reasons, as rushing the process can store up problems for later on in the management system’s life cycle.

Here are some factors that can affect how long it takes to achieve ISO Certification:


5 Factors affecting your ISO Certification Timeframe

  • Complexity of System / Scope

ISO Standards are designed to be applicable to all types and sizes of organisations.  

In some cases parts of the standard that are not applicable to your organisation can be excluded, with a valid justification, and therefore reduce the implementation workload.

Documentation is another area to consider, as although we intend to minimise paperwork as a rule, the more complex your organisation’s activities, the more detailed documentation you’re likely to need to support the management system.

Deciding on the correct scope of the management system will also save time in the long run.


  • Number of Locations

The number of locations within your certification scope should be carefully considered.  Generally the more locations, the longer the process will take.

However, before excluding a location you should evaluate the impact on the integrity of the management system. Sometimes it can be easier to include integral locations, rather than treat them as third parties.


  • Internal Resources

Embedding and maintaining an effective ISO Management System will take work, and the internal resources you have available will affect how long ISO Certification will take.

People within the organisation will need to be competent to meet the requirements of the ISO standard and they will need time to dedicate to the project.


  • Consultancy Budget

Although not a replacement for internal resources, ISO Consultants can provide valuable knowledge transfer and project shortcuts.

Most consultancy costs are based on the time provided by the consultant, so ensure you find the right solution for you.  See our 5 Ways ISO Consultants can Speed Up ISO Certification, below.


  • Certification Body Availability

Finally the certification part. Certification Bodies require 3 months of records to show that the management system has been running effectively.  

This can be the first time-limit, but you should also engage with a certification body early to secure audit dates that suit your timeframe.

Find out more about the ISO Certification Process.


5 Ways ISO Consultants can Speed Up Your ISO Certification

Although the length of time it takes to implement an ISO Management System and achieve certification will vary, there are some ways we can speed things up.


  • Gap Analysis

A gap analysis exercise is a great way to find out what you already have in place, so you can focus your time on the weaker areas.  

Find out more about Gap Analysis.


  • Draft Documents

You may find ISO Standards difficult to read.  As ISO COnsultants we can help you interpret the requirements, and draft documentation bespoke for your organisation, that meets the best practice ISO Auditors expect to see.


  • Project Management

ISO Certification Projects can get out of hand, but using our online project management software and the resources of our back-office team, we can help you keep things on track.

We can also help you collaborate with the various interested parties and liaise with the certification body to organise dates and arrangements.

Find out more about ISO Project Management.


  • Internal Audits

Internal audits are a requirements of the standard, and using a consultant to conduct these not only ensures the required impartiality, but also provides a useful ‘dress-rehearsal’ for the external audits.

Our auditors can  spot potential problems before the certification audits occur.

Find out more about Internal Audits.


  • Attend External Audits

Just like having your instructor in the car for your driving test, our experienced ISO Consultants can support you during the external certification audits.

We can guide you through the process and help you understand and rectify any findings that occur.

So How Long Does ISO Certification Take?

Contact us to discuss a realistic timeframe for your ISO Project and start working towards ISO Certification.  

Robert Clements
Robert Clements
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