Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) has been approved by the USCG to perform evaluations according to the IMP Fire Test Procedures code.
Prior to July 1998, individual countries could designate their own standards. Ship manufacturers were
required to ensure their materials and assemblies would comply with the standards of the country in which the ship was registered.
The IMO regulation established one set of international standards for all countries to follow. SwRI is one of two laboratories in the U.S. approved by the USCG to perform the IM tests and provide product control services.
IMO requires the material being installed on a ship be the same or comparable to the material tested. SwRI notes how a product is made, initials the prototype, ships it to the testing laboratory and then writes a quality control manual to specify how that product should continue to be manufactured. The Institute then makes periodic visits to the manufacturing facilities to ensure the product is being made according to approved procedures.