Following the successful trials of the FITcert scheme earlier in 2022, all four stages are now confirmed together with the licensing of 4 independent certification bodies who will carry-out the inspections. The FITcert scheme is quality-managed by the Royal Netherlands National Standards Body (NEN) in cooperation with EuropeActive who oversee the first two stages.
Already over 2,000 clubs across Europe have committed and are working towards full club certification which is based on the European standard EN 17229. Some of the biggest names of clubs are in the scheme including Basic-Fit, David Lloyd, Pure Gym, Solinca, EVO (Germany and Norway), The Gym Group, Sport City, GO fit, McFIT (Turkey) and Fit&Sund.
Commenting on the FITcert scheme, Basic-Fit CEO Rene Moos said: “We recognise that FITcert is a simple and clear way to inform our members and backers that our business and clubs are professional, and safe places to come and exercise”.
The European Standard EN 17229 covers all aspects club management and operations, supervision (including remote surveillance), and fitness trainer qualifications. FITcert has been designed by industry experts to be user-friendly and to encourage best practice. It will become the ‘charter mark’ for clubs to display to their users to show that they are professional and committed to good standards. Because there is independent certification FITcert is described as being a ‘game changer’ for the industry.
Operators entering stages 3 and 4 of the scheme can select which inspection body they want to use and can negotiate the timing, process, and charges. The internationally recognised four certification bodies are TÜV, SGS, KIWA and IFCI. Stage 3 is known as conformity assessment and stage 4 is the gold standard of full certification. The progress of clubs through FITcert is recorded on the open directory so members and users of cubs can check their status.
EuropeActive President David Stalker commented: "FITcert is the missing piece we have needed to prove to governments that our clubs and industry are serious about standards, and that we can properly regulate ourselves".
There is now an expected rapid expansion of the number of clubs participating in FITcert especially as the promotion is being ramped-up by a number of European fitness national associations. The European Standard EN 17229 will be increasingly used to measure the operations of clubs through national and European legislation, courts of law, and liability insurers, so it is important that clubs can show their compliance and understanding through the FITcert scheme.
Fitness industry consultant Andy Brees said: "FITcert has been designed by operators to be a concise and clear way for clubs to show they are compliant with industry standards. There are no traps or hidden catches - any club that is already being properly managed should be able to show they meet FITcert requirements".
There are 4 main stages in FITcert which allow for easy progression, and certification lasts for 3 years. Full details are available at www.fitcert.eu