The Fastener Quality Act (FQA), Public Law (PL) 101-592, was signed by President George H. W. Bush on November 16, 1990. The Act protects public safety by: (1) requiring that certain fasteners sold in commerce conform to the specifications to which they are represented to be manufactured; (2) providing for accreditation of laboratories engaged in fastener testing; and (3) requiring inspection, testing and certification in accordance with standardized methods.
The Act requires the Secretary of Commerce, acting through the Director of NIST, to establish a laboratory accreditation program for fastener testing laboratories under the procedures of the National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program (NVLAP). The accreditation program includes test methods that are required by fastener specifications or standards covered by the Act. Since fastener testing involves a wide range of expertise, accreditation is offered in the areas of mechanical and physical testing and inspection, metallography, nondestructive inspection, dimensional inspection, and chemical analysis.
On March 7, 1996, President William J. Clinton signed the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act of 1995, PL 104-113, which amended the FQA to further clarify and define the requirements of the original Act. Further amendments were promulgated by PL 105-234 (August 14, 1998), an act exempting certain fasteners approved by the Federal Aviation Administration from FQA coverage, and PL 106-34 (June 8, 1999), the FQA Amendments Act of 1999.
For information on the requirements of accreditation see NIST Handbook 150 which contains the general requirements for accreditation of laboratories. In addition, NIST Handbook 150-18 contains specific requirements for fasteners and metals laboratories.
Participation in proficiency testing is required for laboratories applying for accreditation for test methods under Rockwell hardness of fasteners (externally threaded), axial tensile strength of full-size threaded fasteners, wedge tensile strength of full-size threaded fasteners, tensile strength tests of machined aluminum and steel, fastener double shear, case depth, round dimensional, and chemical analysis. Proficiency testing is conducted biannually (twice a year) for each of these areas and is commonly available from a third-party proficiency testing provider.