How to Become PCI Certified
PCI Certification will be one of the most valuable investments you will make in your company’s future. Every plant that has become PCI Certified, regardless of size, or products made has found value from the process helping to improve quality, efficiency, and add creditability in the marketplace.
Benefits of Being PCI Certified
PCI certifies the quality planning and the process of manufacturing precast and prestressed concrete components according to requirements specifically developed for the types of products being manufactured which provides greater assurance to owners, architects, engineers, and contractors that precast concrete components will be manufactured and installed according to stringent industry standards. The PCI Plant Certification Program ensures each plant has developed and documented an in-depth, in-house quality system, and provides third party attestation or Certification to the plants, by providing each plant two thorough, unannounced audits each year, conducted by competent and independent engineers. This helps PCI certified plants stay competitive while meeting the needs of their stakeholders in a safe, responsible and sustainable manner.
The Process of Becoming PCI Certified
The process starts with your company filing an application. Below is a brief overview of the steps. While the overall timeframe it takes to become certified varies greatly based on your plant’s operations, the average time is about 4-6 months.
- First, you should submit a completed application along with the application/certification fee of $7000 (this is non-refundable)
- The next step is to submit a Quality System Manual (QSM) to PCI for review and approval and have at least one of your plant quality control personnel attend the Quality Control school to achieve Level I certification (for architectural precast ) or Level II certification (for structural). Alex Morales (312-360-3219 / firstname.lastname@example.org) can help you or one of your staff sign up for the QC School. The QSM must be approved before an in-plant audit can take place. Also, note that in many cases, QSM are not approved with the first submission. Rather, it usually takes at least one revision of the QSM to get it approved. This process can take 2 to 4 months.
- Concurrent with the QSM development process, you must schedule an in-plant Precertification Evaluation (PE) with the audit agency, Ross Bryan Associates. The purpose of the PE is to gauge the readiness of your plant, review QSM issues (if applicable), and provide feedback on any observed non-conformances. Your plant will receive a written PE report. A formal written response to the PE report must be submitted by your plant explaining how the non-conformances will be rectified and state the readiness for the first regular, unannounced audit.
- Once the QSM has been approved and your plant’s written PE response has been approved, the first regular, unannounced audit can take place. Upon successful completion of this audit, the plant is then certified for the product categories that are observed during the audit and are sufficiently covered in the QSM.
The overall process generally takes from 3 to 6 months for plants that have all of their "ducks in a row", and longer for those that do not. Since each plant is different, you are encouraged to get started ASAP. Plants that are not PCI Certified at the time of bidding, are typically not eligible to bid since there is no guarantee that a plant will be PCI Certified in time to producer product.
About PCI Membership
Once a company’s plant has completed all of the certification requirements and have maintained certification for one year, the company may become eligible for PCI membership. This is very beneficial for many reasons, including a substantial discount on your PCI Certification fees.
Please note; PCI has regional organizations that cover many areas of the country. Membership in these organizations can benefit your company. Plants that are geographically located in the area of a PCI Chapter are required to join that Chapter as a condition of PCI Membership.
Frequently Asked Questions
PCI Conducts market research on behalf of the precast concrete structures industry.