Plant Certification Procedures
The PCI Plant Certification Program is also known as the PCI Precast Concrete Manufacturing Plant Quality Management System Certification Program. The applicable standards and procedures for the Program have been developed in accordance with ISO 10005, Quality Management Systems – Guidelines for Quality Plans and ISO/IEC 17021, Conformity Assessment – Requirements for Bodies Providing Audit and Certification of Management Systems.
The Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute is accredited by the American National Standards Institute as an AccreditedStandards Developer. The nature and scope of PCI’s standards development activities are to develop and maintainvoluntary consensus standards for the design, detailing, fabrication, transportation and erection of precast and precast, prestressed concrete products.
The PCI Plant Certification Program evaluates plants of precast and/or prestressed concrete manufacturing companies against published standards. Unannounced audits are conducted by Auditing Organizations (AO’s) accredited by PCI. Plants are evaluated on their quality system, documentation, production procedures, management, engineering, personnel and equipment. PCI Plant Certification ensures a project specifier and owner of approved uniform production methods and an acceptable in-house quality assurance program. Certification confirms the plant’s capability to produce quality products. A plant that meets the requirements set forth in the PCI Plant Certification Program shall be deemed a PCI Certified Plant.
The Standards (requirements) used for evaluation of a plant are published in PCI’s Quality Manuals:
- MNL-116, Manual for Quality Control for Plants and Production of Precast and Prestressed Concrete Products,
- MNL-117, Manual for Quality Control for Plants and Production of Architectural Precast Concrete Products, and
- MNL-130, Manual for Quality Control for Plants and Production of Glass Fiber Reinforced Concrete Products.
- The specific provisions of the Client’s Quality System Manual
Notice These Plant Certification Program Procedures:
* These procedures are for the conditions of initial and continuing certification activities which include application processing, the initial audit and any additional surveillance audit(s); and these procedures list the requirements for granting, maintaining, reducing, suspending, withdraw of certification and recertification. These policies and procedures are also available in Policy 20.
- Client Submits Application and Application Fee to PCI.
- PCI begins processing of the application and accepts the application fee.
- Client submits their QSM to PCI for review by PCI and PCI’s technical experts.
- Upon approval of the Client’s QSM, PCI schedules a Precertification Evaluation at the Client’s facilities for an onsite assessment.
- The PCI appointed Precertification Evaluation Team Leader then makes any recommendations to the Client about their facilities in regards to any certification conformance issues.
- The Client is to correct any conformance issues in a determined allotted timeframe. This concludes the Stage 1 Audit for Initial Certification.
- Once the Stage 1 Audit has been met, Stage 2 Audit is underway. PCI schedules an External Plant Quality Auditor to conduct the Plant’s Initial Certification Audit. This 1st Audit (initial audit) is unannounced. All regular audits, which are per the requirements of the certification program, are unannounced audits.
- Upon review of the Plant Quality Auditor’s Audit Report, the Client then submits their Responses to Nonconformance Items which describes the Client’s root-cause analysis of each Nonconformance, and the Client is to include objectivebased evidence for the specific correction and the corrective actions taken, or planned to be taken (preventive actions), to eliminate detected nonconformities, within a defined time.
- PCI and PCI’s technical experts review these two reports (Plant Quality Audit Report & Client’s Response to Nonconformance Items).
- PCI then reviews the Client’s application for certification and then makes a decision whether or not to grant the Client PCI Plant Certification.
- Once Certification is granted, the Client will receive their certificate, along with a Contract and Plant Sales Declarations Form.
- Client submits the signed Contract, 3 copies of the signed Sales Declaration, and the applicable Certification Fees which are determined from the Sales Declaration Form. Certification Fees are a requirement to maintain certification. See “Fees Schedule” in Policy 20 for more details.
- To Maintain Certification, Surveillance Audits (Regular (Unannounced) Audits) and Management Review Reports are conducted throughout the year at a prescribed rate and are a requirement of Continuing Certification Activities, this includes ReCertification Audits. Passing Audits are a requirement of ReCertification along with the Client submittal of a Renewal Form (Sales Declaration Form) and the applicable ReCertification Fee. See “Table of Audits” in Policy 20 for more details.
- If an audit report determines a specific categorical scope of certification doesn’t meet a conformance, the Client will undergo a Reduction of Scope to their Certification.
- A Client can at any time request a Special Audit and pay the additional subsequent fee for this audit to extend their categorical scope of certification.
- A Plant with no production for 18 months will have their Certification placed on hold (Suspended).
- A failed audit grade will result in a Special Immediate Audit.
- Major Nonconformances which can’t be confirmed from the Client’s Response to Nonconformance Items, may undergo a Special Immediate Audit. The necessity for this Special Immediate Audit will be determined by PCI, or this Major Nonconformance may be assessed during the next sub-sequential audit (Regular Audit).
- A failing audit grade during a Special Immediate Audit and an audit finding of an unresolved previous Major Nonconformance during a Special Immediate Audit or the next sub-sequential audit (Regular Audit) will both result in Withdraw of Certification.
Please be aware of the following descriptions of auditor’s tasks and requirements to fulfill complete compliance of Plant Quality Audits:
- Auditor is to examine the Plant’s structure, policies, processes, procedures, records and related documents relevant to the Plant’s QSM to determine that it meets all the requirements relevant to the intended scope of certification, consistent with the Plant’s intended categorical certification and in compliance with the applicable PCI Quality Manual (MNL-116, MNL-117 &/or MNL-130). The Auditor’s examination of the Plant’s QSM will help S/he determine that the processes and procedures are established, implemented and maintained effectively, to provide a basis for confidence in the client's management system.
- Allow the Auditor to communicate to the client, for its action, any inconsistencies between the client's policy, objectives and targets; to assure those are consistent with the expectations in the relevant QSM and applicable PCI Quality Manual (MNL-116, MNL-117 &/or MNL-130) and the results.
- PCI will provide the name of and, when requested, make available background information on the auditor or audit team, with sufficient time for the client organization to object to the appointment of any particular auditor or technical expert and for PCI to reconstitute the team in response to any valid objection. This information has been made available on the Plant Certification Application. An example of a valid objection can be that an auditor has provided engineering services to a competitor of the applicant.
- The Auditor communicates the audit plan during all Opening Meetings, for all audits, this includes PreCertification Evaluation, Regular Audits, and Special Audits. The dates of the PreCertification Evaluation shall be agreed upon, in advance. Special Audits may or may not be agreed upon, pending the terms of the Special Audit. All Regular Audits, of the certification cycle, are Unannounced Audits.