Written by Jose Madrigal 5:46 pm Column

IAPMO Mexico Represents Another Milestone, Providing Lab Services to a Whole New Market 

IAPMO R&T Lab, a trusted name for independent testing, research and technical services in the plumbing and mechanical industries, recently opened its first product test lab in Mexico. Located in Monterrey, the new lab will initially be equipped to test toilets and urinals as specified under the Norma Oficial Mexicana NOM-002-CONAGUA- 2021 standard. The products will be tested for material and performance compliance, ensuring their quality for consumers. 

The path to creating the lab in Mexico has been in the works for several years with many requests for such a facility coming directly from U.S. manufacturers and the Comisión Nacional del Agua (CONAGUA), Mexico’s national water commission. The establishment of the IAPMO Mexico test lab is the latest step in IAPMO’s growing involvement in ensuring the safety and quality of plumbing products through product certification for Mexico. IAPMO R&T and IAPMO R&T Lab were the first certification body and test lab outside of Mexico to receive ema entidad mexicana de acreditación, a.c. (ema) accreditation and CONAGUA approval to test and certify plumbing products destined for the Mexican market. The accredited certification process helps provide assurance to everyone involved in the process that the products to be sold have met all applicable codes and standards. 

Not only will the IAPMO Mexico lab provide enhanced services to local manufacturers, but the facility’s presence will also benefit companies located in Mexico or South America that are interested in selling their products in the U.S. or Canada. The lab will offer these companies access to local experts who are available at local time, who speak their language and understand the difficulties they are faced with when it comes to navigating the testing and certification processes. 

IAPMO Mexico will be able to help guide these companies in their product launches. When the industry asked for options in product testing in Mexico, IAPMO was confident in its ability to provide a better solution and was willing to invest in building the laboratory in Mexico. Having a physical presence in the country will continue to advance IAPMO’s understanding of the complexities of the Mexican market and provide the company with resources to help get products to market quickly, with prompt certification. This timeliness is of utmost importance to manufacturers. 

The same IAPMO team that was responsible for those testing and certification accreditations was also instrumental in establishing the IAPMO Mexico test lab. Led by Jose Madrigal, Vice President of Continuous Compliance, Product Review Manager Arturo Robles, Product Review Engineer Juan Gutierrez and Dr. Donato Lozano, IAPMO’s manager of Mexican Certification Programs, who resides in Mexico.

“Many global manufacturers understand, when entering a market like Mexico, it is good to partner with an organization that is familiar with how the country’s certification process works and the specifics of its standards, regulations and laws,” Madrigal said. “Through our experiences and involvement, IAPMO has made every effort to enhance its knowledge of the Mexican certification system and become the best business partner we can be.” 

From the beginning, IAPMO and the team were willing to invest the time and resources necessary to learn the Mexican certification business and help ensure the new state-of-the-art test lab’s success and effectiveness.The team has spent long hours to gain a thorough understanding of Mexico’s law of compliance, the Federal Law on Metrology and Standardization (which has since been superseded by the federal Quality Infrastructure Law). At CONAGUA’s invitation, Lozano and the U.S.-based IAPMO team regularly attended its standards committee meetings. 

“When we started going to the meetings, CONAGUA got to know us better,” Robles said, “and they started to realize that we’re a great asset given the fact that we have been certifying products for almost 100 years. We make ourselves available to their engineers and get them answers when they need them. They do value our opinion.” 

“There are many challenges in Mexico, with water quality and the availability of potable water throughout the country,” Madrigal said. “CONAGUA is trying to create conscience about how difficult it is to get water to taps and faucets in homes. Conservation through using ecological-grade products is a big step toward fixing these problems.” 

Initially, the new IAPMO Mexico lab will test toilets and urinals to ensure they meet the performance standards outlined in NOM-002-CONAGUA-2021. CONAGUA’s current focus is to improve the level of efficiency of the water systems in Mexico by incorporating water-saving products, like modern toilets, that are low flow and low consumption. 

Speed to market is imperative to the success of new products. IAPMO prides itself on its fast product testing and certification, and purposely chose the Mexico test lab’s Monterrey location to aid in the lab’s expediency. As one of the largest industrial hubs in the country, Monterrey offers access, via major highways, to many large plumbing manufacturers who have previously been tasked with shipping their products, sometimes over 600 miles, to test labs in Mexico City. This added shipping time delays the certification process and prevents products from getting certified and going to market in a timely manner. This can also be an extreme financial burden when dealing with the shipping cost of large, heavy toilets. 

In due time, as the IAPMO Mexico test lab maximizes its efficiencies and expands its output, more testing services will be added. 

Of high priority will be testing to Mexico’s new NOM-012-CONAGUA-2021 standard, which is expected to be enacted before the end of the year (ema is on record as saying that it is its top priority for 2023). With an American standard as its model (NOM-012-CONAGUA is based on U.S. and Canadian standard ASME A112.18.1/CSA B125), the IAPMO team was heavily involved with Mexico’s Standards Committee in its development. NOM-012-CONAGUA will require, for the first time in Mexico, the testing of faucets, valves, and fittings that involve drinking water. The products will be tested for low lead content of their components as well as durability, performance, and ecological (water-saving) characteristics. With much of the necessary equipment already on site and a long history and vast knowledge of testing these types of products, IAPMO fully expects to be able to test to NOM-012-CONAGUA as soon as it goes into effect. 

This U.S.-based team of IAPMO, (from left) Product Review Engineer Juan Gutierrez, Vice President of 
Continuous Compliance Jose Madrigal, and Product Review Manager Arturo Robles, were responsible for the establishment of the IAPMO Mexico Lab.

Mandatory testing and certification of products, especially those that handle drinking water, is imperative to consumers having access to quality products that are safe and perform as expected. For years, Mexico has been exposed to inferior imported products. Once the products have been certified, they will bear the IAPMO Mexico mark of conformity, which will show consumers, installers, and inspectors that the products have met the established standards. While the journey to establish IAPMO’s Mexico certification and test lab has been a long and arduous one, it has also been rewarding, especially to the IAPMO Mexico team. 

“Growing up in Mexico, I experienced the low-quality products that we used” Gutierrez said. “I am very happy to see the shift in the culture to acceptance of safer products. It makes me feel really good to know that we had something to do with that.” 

Jose Madrigal
Director of IAPMO Continuous Compliance at IAPMO R&T | Website

Jose Madrigal is director of IAPMO Continuous Compliance and heads up the Mexico Products Approval Group of IAPMO. He is also the volunteer  vice-president chair of the CONAGUA  Committee for Accredited Bodies.  He holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and spent several years as a product- evaluation engineer with The IAPMO Group

Last modified: May 8, 2024