Definition of Non-Conformity
A nonconformity is a non-fulfilment of a requirement.
This non-conformance is post-realisation - meaning that the intention was to conform to requirements but something went wrong.
This contrasts with a deviation, which is pre-realisation - meaning that permission was given in advance not to comply with the requirement, within certain limits.
The requirement could be many things - including:
- a specification of parameters like maximum pressure or working temperature, or maximum level of contaminents, or minimum level of a particular compound.
- a procedure which should be followed.
- many other examples could be given.
It is worth noting that the requirement can also come from many different sources. This could be an international standard, like ISO 9001.
It could be a national standard, like NORSOK in Norway.
It could also be a company's own technical requirement, built up over many years of specific experience in their industry and geographic area.
The significance of this is that:
1. the more requirements given to a potential contractor, the more exceptions can be received in return;
2. making judgements regarding nonconformities can be complex if different authorities may need to be involved, depending on the requirement. This can be very time-consuming.
Nonconformity, non-conformity, non conformance, non-conformance, nonconformance are all variations of the same thing, with the same meaning. ISO has deprecated the term non-conformance in favour of nonconformity, but all are still in widespread use.
Defect is also a nonconformity, but is related to the intended or specified use. The difference can have legal significance.
The term Out Of Specification (OOS) is sometimes used to describe something that has a non-conformity.