A rollout paper is available at the beginning of a new program which includes general information about the program e.g. design of the test sample, time schedule, application form and so on. In order to join the program, the interested Ex laboratory (e.g. ExTLs, ExTL applicants, manufacturer and other parties interested) have to complete the respective application form enclosed as annex in the rollout paper and send it back to the coordinator. Once a completed application form is received, an order confirmation – “Declaration of participation” is sent out to the participant.
To perform a previous program the interested laboratory needs to contact the coordinator directly to get the application form and further information regarding the individual time schedule and report. General information about the provided PTB Ex PT Programs (previous and new programs) can be found on the PTB Ex PT website all the time.
The basic costs of the PTB Ex Proficiency Testing Scheme (e.g. concept development of the programs and related test samples, manufacturing of the samples, evaluation procedures of the results) are covered by PTB. Nevertheless PTB cannot cover all expenses caused by the various programs, offered every two years. The PTB Ex PT Scheme is not organized like a commercial provider; it is using instead the non-profit approach in cooperating with the non-profit registered association (e.V.) “Ex Network e.V.” in order to process financial transactions. The association works under financial supervision of the local tax authority of the City of Braunschweig. PTB as governmental organization is allowed to receive financial resources from the Ex Network e.V. under the umbrella of a cooperation contract with the scope of offering and conducting Ex proficiency testing programs. The costs for the PT programs within the PTB Ex PT Scheme are as follows:
- Participation in the PTB Ex PT Scheme is considered as a subscription with annual costs of 3000 € (value added tax excluded) for each participant.
To avoid a high level of bureaucracy every laboratory which is requested to participate in the PTB Ex PT Scheme (IECEx ExTLs and ExTL Applicants) will receive an invoice at the beginning of each two-year cycle (6000 € each two years) which allows the participating laboratory to perform both new PTB Ex PT program test rounds provided by the coordinator (two new program test rounds every two years). It also allows to perform two previous PTB Ex PT program test rounds which do not have the status “closed”. The chosen program test rounds must be completed within the respective two-year cycle. The costs of registering individual programs not within the subscription cycle is 3500 € per program (value added tax excluded).
Laboratories which are not required to participate in the PTB Ex PT Scheme with a limited scope shall contact the coordinator directly to find an individual solution.
Every financial transaction will be confirmed by the coordinator. Payment deadlines are announced with the invoice or in direct contact with the participant. Non-payment or late payment may result in test samples and/or reports not being distributed.
Participants are advised to participate in the programs that are most appropriate to their scope. Where necessary, the coordinator can advise which program(s) are most suitable for the participant. The program cycle of new programs is biennial. That means every two years two new programs or program test rounds are provided in the PTB Ex PT Scheme. Respective the individual scope of the Ex laboratories it is recommended to perform these two new programs / program test rounds. Additionally it could be fruitful to perform one or more of the available older programs in between (if the laboratory wasn’t a participant in the “original” program test round).
In accordance with IECEx ExMC Decision 2014/53, participation in the Proficiency Testing Program is mandatory for all accepted and applicant IECEx ExTLs and any Additional Testing Locations (noting that this does not include laboratories operating under the provisions of IECEx OD 024). Laboratory participation is according to their scope of acceptance in the IECEx System and is a condition for continued acceptance. Candidate ExTLs shall, prior to acceptance, complete the IECEx Proficiency Testing Programs relevant to the scope of their application. ExTLs are required to participate in all programs which are relevant to their scope, with the priority being given to new topics. A laboratory may be required to conduct more than one program per year in the case of repeating a test as a result of “unsatisfactory results” in previous programs.