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NMRA EXECUTIVE HANDBOOK

Section 1 Overview

A: Purpose: The purpose of the Conformance-Inspection (C&I) Committee is to set up and administer suitable procedures covering the conformance and inspection of commercially available model railroad products. Such conformance & inspections cover provisions as set forth in NMRA Standards, applicable NMRA Recommended Practices, and industry quality metrics. These quality metrics will only include objective measurable items. It is recognized that NMRA Standards and NMRA Recommended Practices, as well the quality metrics, will evolve over time.

B: Process: The C&I Committee receives requests for Conformance from the NMRA Industry Liaison and requests for inspection from the NMRA Industry Liaison or the NMRA Standards & Conformance Dept General Chairman. Once a request is received, the C&I Committee will conduct its testing with measurable standards, such manufactured equipment as may be obtained from manufacturers and/or the open market. The C&I Committee shall report the results of successful conformance testing to the Executive Director to enable issuance to the manufacturer of a Warrant of Conformance (Certificate of Conformance). This warrant shall entitle the manufacturer to use, advertise and otherwise display the NMRA Seal of Approval for such object or objects as are specifically covered by the particular warrant. The Committee shall re-inspect products from time to time as may be necessary to insure continued conformance. 

C: Communications: The C&I Committee reports results of both conformance and inspection work to the: Executive Director, President, Secretary and Standards & Conformance Dept Chair. The C&I Committee Chair shall report to the Bulletin Editor and NMRA WWW administrator all new or revoked Warrants as such are issued or withdrawn, including the reason for the withdrawals. Inspection results will also be reported to the Bulletin Editor subject to review and approval by the NMRA legal department. The C&I committee shall make recommendations to the Standards & Conformance Dept in regard to subjects uncovered during inspection that require further study.
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Section 2 Inspection Procedures

A: Acquisition of Products: Products for inspection may be obtained directly from the manufacturer, through normal trade channels, or by other means determined to be in the best interests of NMRA by the Conformance Inspection Committee.

B: Criteria & Tools: Inspection tests to determine if the product conforms to NMRA Standards and applicable Recommended Practices will be done using such tools and procedures as the Conformance-Inspection Committee may deem proper. Quality metrics defining objective and measurable items will be established using similar procedures as used to establish RPs. The NMRA shall be the sole judge of the qualitative analysis, inspection procedures and methods determining the allowable production variance from NMRA specifications. This statement does not refer to tolerances stated within NMRA STANDARDS and/or RECOMMENDED PRACTICES, but rather to the percentage of the number of production articles inspected which may be out of tolerance yet the product is still deemed acceptable for conformance. Comment: The advice and counsel of the NMRA Standards & Conformance Dept, of NMRA members, and of MRIA manufacturers is solicited in determining quality metrics and acceptable production variance from NMRA specifications.

C: Reporting Results for Successful Tests: Copies of the inspection report will be sent to the NMRA Executive Director, NMRA Industry Liaison, manufacturer of the equipment, and Bulletin Editor. The Bulletin editor may at his/her discretion forward these reports to applicable industry publications. Copies of the letter, without the inspection report will also be sent to:

D: Reporting Results for Failed Tests: Where an inspection report indicates that the product does not conform to NMRA Standards, applicable Recommended Practices, and/or NMRA defined quality metrics, this information will be provided to: E: Negotiations with Manufacturers Concerning Failed Tests: Negotiations between NMRA and a manufacturer on items of non-conformance (Section 2-D above) may be conducted by the C&I Chair where both the Chair and the NMRA Industry Liaison agree it expeditious, otherwise such negotiations shall be conducted by the NMRA Industry Liaison. Responsibility for follow-up of negotiations shall rest with the NMRA Industry Liaison.

F: Publication Procedures for Failed Items: If upon completion of negotiations between the manufacturer and the NMRA (Section 2-E above), the product still does not conform to NMRA Standards, applicable NMRA Recommended Practices, and/or NMRA defined quality metrics, the C&I chair will forward the applicable report to the NMRA Bulletin Editor. The Bulletin editor may at his/her discretion forward these reports to applicable industry publications. 

G: Disposal of Product Obtained for Inspection: Products on loan to the NMRA for inspection purposes under the C&I program shall be the personal responsibility of the inspector involved and neither the NMRA nor the C&I Chair shall be liable for their loss or non-return. Other items shall be disposed as per section 3-L.

H: Restriction on use of NMRA Reports: Manufacturers shall not be allowed to utilize material from NMRA reports nor make any claims that the NMRA has found that their products comply to any NMRA Standard, NMRA Recommended Practice, and or NMRA defined quality Metrics in advertising for products unless that product has a valid NMRA Warrant.
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Section 3 Conformance Procedures Leading to issuing an NMRA Warrant

A: Warrant Application Process: Manufacturers, importers, and distributors (hereafter called manufacturers) desiring to receive an NMRA Conformance Warrant shall apply in writing to the NMRA Industry Liaison, who will forward the application along to the C&I Committee with a copy to the Standards & Conformance Dept Chairman. Included with the application will be the product for which the manufacturer desires to receive a warrant. Additional data and material deemed necessary to assist the conformance and inspection process may be requested from the manufacturer as a prerequisite for evaluating a product. Such data may include items such as prototype drawings, FCC reports, and/or additional product as required. Once the application is accepted, all items received will immediately become the property of the NMRA

B: Warrant Application Fees: The NMRA BOT may elect to set an NMRA Conformance Warrant application fee. This fee would cover the costs of performing and maintaining the NMRA Conformance and Inspection program.

C: Criteria & Tools: Before a product may be issued a C&I Warrant, the Conformance-Inspection Committee will check that product for conformance to NMRA Standards, applicable NMRA Recommended Practices; and NMRA defined quality metrics. The same criteria and tools as were used in Section 2-B for inspection will be used for conformance.

D. Blanket Warrants: Whenever possible, C&I Committee will inspect all products of a given manufacturer or product line so that a blanket Warrant can be issued. Where inspection discloses only a portion of a manufacturer's line of products conform to NMRA Standards, applicable NMRA Recommended Practices and/or NMRA defined quality metrics, and, in the opinion of Industry Liaison and Conformance-Inspection Chairmen, correction will not be possible by the manufacturer within a reasonable length of time, based upon negotiation with the manufacturer, the procedures under Section 3-F/H below will be followed. In this case the NMRA Secretary will be advised and the Warrant will be modified or restricted to show the particular products covered.

E: Reporting Results for Successful Tests: The C&I Committee will furnish the Executive Director of the NMRA with a letter signed by the C&I Chair stating that a particular product conforms to NMRA Standards, applicable NMRA Recommended Practices, and NMRA defined quality metrics and is eligible for a Warrant. The Executive Director will forward this letter along with a signed Warrant to the applicable manufacturer. Further, a copy of the conformance report covering said inspection shall be attached to the aforementioned letter. Additional reporting for conformance will be the same reporting from successful tests for inspection (see Section 2-C).

F: Reporting Results for Failed Tests: See section 2-D. 

G: Negotiations with Manufacturers Concerning Failed Tests:See section 2-E.

H: Publication Procedures for Failed Items: See section 2-F.

I: Duration of Warrant: A Warrant is valid for five (5) years. Warrants shall be subject to revocation, after sixty (60) days written notice to the manufacturer concerned, upon certification by the Committee that part or all of the terms of said Warrant have not been complied with by the manufacture after following the procedure's outlined in Sections 3-F through 3-H. Warrants shall automatically be revoked immediately after the cessation of product line; or immediately after the product is transferred to another manufacturer. Warrants are subject to review based upon subsequent revisions of newly issued Standards and Recommended Practices. Changes to NMRA defined quality metrics shall not effect existing warrants until they expire.

J: Re-inspection Procedures: Periodically at times designated by the C&I committee, products of manufacturers holding Conformance Warrants shall be re-inspected to determine their continued adherence to NMRA Standards, applicable NMRA Recommended Practices and NMRA defined quality metrics. Non-conformance to NMRA Standards, applicable Recommended Practices, and/or NMRA defined quality metrics shall be the basis for either:

K: Costs for Re-inspection of Failed items: The NMRA Industry Liaison may request that the manufacturer reimburse the NMRA for costs incurred that is required to re-verify/test a product that has failed either an initial test or a subsequent re-inspection test. This reimbursement may take the form of material and/or a cash donation. 

L: Disposal of Product Obtained for Conformance: One hundred and twenty days after issuance of authority under Section 3-E to the Executive Director, the title in the product inspected for conformance shall at the discretion of the NMRA Executive Director be retained for an extended period as a baseline for future tests, pass from NMRA to the individual performing the inspection, or be provided to the next national convention for auction. Proceeds from the items auctioned shall be used to offset the costs associated to fund the C&I program or revert to NMRA treasury. Possession of products not deemed to be acceptable for the issuance of a Warrant, shall rest with the C&I Chair for the period of the negotiation with the manufacturer or, for one year from the date of the Conformance Report, whichever is shorter, after which such products may be disposed of at discretion of the NMRA Executive Director.

M: Manufacturer Benefits/Obligations: Once a Manufacturer receives a Warrant for a particular product, the manufacturer agrees to repair or replace such items purchased by or for an NMRA member which have a warrant yet are out of tolerance to the tolerances stated within NMRA Standards, applicable NMRA Recommended Practices and/or NMRA established quality metrics and are causing an interoperability problem or a performance problem In turn the Manufacturer of a product with a valid warrant, is authorized to advertise or otherwise display the NMRA C&I seal in conjunction with that product as well as publish the results of the conformance reports.

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