Posted: 5/11/2021

Quality Talks – Series 3

The Quality Enhancement Committee has released the first three issues for the third series of Quality Talks. The series 3 Quality Talks can be accessed using this link (Series 3 Talks) and include: Prestressing Strand Traceability, Concrete Cover over Reinforcement, and Form Surface Defect Assessments.

The Series 1 talks are also available in Spanish. The translation of the series 2 Talks is in process and should be completed by summer.

These toolbox talks cover a wide range of topics and should be used at least once a month to discuss quality with the production teams. All available topics may not directly relate to every plant’s production practices. Plant personnel are not limited to the topics provided; plants are encouraged to use this format to generate toolbox talks that may relate more directly to their specific needs. 

Plant Certification Renewal for 2021-2022

All producers should have received an email with instructions on how to complete the online sales declaration and their plant certification agreement. Completed forms must be submitted by May 31. This email was sent to the company’s designated CFO/Financial contact. Please note that only the designated CFO/Financial contact has access to the online sales declaration and failure to complete this on time will result in a lapse in a plant’s certification status. For any questions regarding your plant’s certification status, please contact qualityprograms@pci.org.

Producers should have also received a separate email with instructions for completing the Producer Member renewal. This process is just like last year, and this email was sent to the company’s designated Company Administrator. For any questions regarding the designated CFO/Financial contact or Company Administrator, please contact membership@pci.org.

Erector Certification Renewal for 2021-2022

All certified erectors should have received an email from PCI with instructions for completing the online erector certification renewal form, erector certification agreement, and the online Certified Erector Member renewal form. Completed forms are to be submitted by May 31. This email was sent to the company’s designated Company Administrator. The renewal process will be just like last year for producer/erectors. Independent erectors not owned by a PCI producer member will only need to complete one combined form to renew membership and certification, in addition to the erector agreement.

Please note that failure to complete the online erector certification and membership renewals on time will result in a lapse in an erector’s certification status. For any questions regarding your erector’s certification status, please contact qualityprograms@pci.org. For any questions regarding the designated contact for your company, please contact membership@pci.org.

Personnel Certification Management System Update

Development of phase 2 of the Certification Management System (CMS) for personnel certification is nearing completion. Initial testing of the system in production has been completed and requested programming changes are in process. A second set of testing will be performed following these programming changes. The initial phase of the CMS was completed last November and included implementation of online, computer-based exams. This second phase includes online application, proctor selection and registration processes, convenient links to the exam, and for successful candidates, access to their certificates. 

Online, computer-based exams are now being used for the Level 1, Level 2, Level 3, and GFRC QC Technician/Inspector certifications. There is a new Proctored Online Exam Request Packet that must be used to register for these online exams, until such time as phase 2 of the CMS is implemented. The CFA and CCA certification exams are still in a paper format but will be converted to a multiple-choice, online format in coming months. For CFA and CCA proctored exam requests, please email qualityprograms@pci.org to receive this proctored exam request packet.

Exceptional Precast Practices Deadline is July 1

The deadline for submitting completed Exceptional Precast Practices (EPP) Program surveys is July 1, 2021. This is a voluntary program specifically designed for continuous quality improvement of precast plants.

Companies that have successfully adopted a path of continuous quality improvement typically exhibit a pattern of reduced costs, improved quality, and expanded capabilities. They show growing sales because they better serve the needs of their clients.

There are a variety of continuous quality improvement tools available, but the EPP program is a tool developed specifically for the precast concrete industry. The EPP program, developed by the Quality Enhancement Committee, offers both a roadmap for improvement efforts and milestones for measuring progress.

Here is how this voluntary program works: Your plant fills out the self-assessment survey for each of the seven sections/modules – Productivity, Personnel, Safety, Field operations, Sales and marketing, Sustainable plant, and Concrete. This process allows your plant to not only benchmark where you are today but also review programs of proven worth that other PCI plants find valuable.

That process allows plant personnel to decide on a roadmap for the future. If this process is managed well, that roadmap becomes the goals and programs for improvement, and it provides the basis for accountability for achievement. Your benchmark score allows your plant to actually measure progress from year to year. There is no minimum score required. This is not a contest. Scores will not be published. There is no overall winner. All participants in this voluntary program seriously win. All participating plants are provided with an annual certificate of participation and are recognized at the PCI Committee Days and Technical Conference.

To participate or to read more about the program, click here to access the Member Resources section of the PCI website. To receive recognition for 2021, completed forms must be returned to PCI by July 1.

PCI Company Audits

Company audits conducted to support PCI’s Erector Certification Program are conducted by a group of experienced Certified Company Auditors trained to conduct these types of audits. The qualifications necessary to perform these audits are outlined in the PCI Company Auditor FAQs. If you are interested in learning more about conducting these audits, please review the FAQ document and contact PCI at QualityPrograms@pci.org.

Coil Lifting Systems Webinar

A recording of the Coil Lifting Systems webinar is now available in PCI’s eLearning Center. This webinar discusses the potential safety issues when using coil inserts, coil nuts, coil rods, and coil bolts from different manufacturers. 

Since there is no national standard for the manufacturing of these coil products, there is no guarantee that parts from different manufacturers will work together as intended and designed. The presentation outlines factors that should be considered in the selection and proper use of coil lifting hardware, inserts, and bolts, as well as the items that should be inspected, the attributes that should be reviewed, and the associated inspection methods.

The webinar can be accessed through PCI’s eLearning Center via this link: Coil Lifting Systems Webinar

Suggestions

Please forward suggestions for future quality-related articles for this newsletter to Mike Kesselmayer at mkesselmayer@pci.org.

Posted: 4/23/2021

Exceptional Precast Practices Deadline is July 1

Companies that have successfully adopted a path of continuous quality improvement typically exhibit a pattern of reduced costs, improved quality, and expanded capabilities. They show growing sales because they better serve the needs of their clients.

There are a variety of tools available, but are you looking for a continuous quality improvement tool developed specifically for the precast concrete industry? The Exceptional Precast Practices (EPP) program, developed by the Quality Enhancement Committee, offers both a roadmap for your efforts and milestones for measuring your progress.

Born out of the QA 2020 Vision Program, the key working committees at PCI have set forth a self-assessment and the process steps that provide both the roadmap and the milestones for continuous improvement.

Here is how it works: Your plant fills out the self-assessment survey for each of the seven sections/modules – Productivity, Personnel, Safety, Field operations, Sales and marketing, Sustainable plant, and Concrete. This process allows your plant to not only benchmark where you are today but also review programs of proven worth that other PCI plants find valuable.

That process allows plant personnel to decide on a roadmap for the future. If this process is managed well, that roadmap becomes the goals and programs for improvement, and it provides the basis for accountability for achievement. Your benchmark score allows your plant to actually measure progress from year to year. There is no minimum score required. This is not a contest. Scores will not be published. There is no overall winner. All participants in this voluntary program seriously win. All participating plants are provided with an annual certificate of participation and are recognized at the PCI Committee Days and Technical Conference.

To participate or to read more about the program, click here to access the Member Resources section of the PCI website. To receive recognition for 2021, completed forms must be returned to PCI by July 1.

Plant Certification Renewal for 2021-22

All producers should have received an email with instructions on how to complete the online sales declaration and their plant certification agreement. This email was sent to the company’s designated CFO/Financial contact. Please note that only the designated CFO/Financial contact has access to the online sales declaration and failure to complete this on time will result in a lapse in a plant’s certification status. For any questions regarding your plant’s certification status, please contact qualityprograms@pci.org.

Additionally, producers will receive a separate email with instructions for completing the Producer Member renewal. This process will be just like last year, and this email will be sent to the company’s designated Company Administrator. For any questions about the designated CFO/Financial contact or Company Administrator, please contact membership@pci.org.

Erector Certification Renewal for 2021-22

All certified erectors should have received an email from PCI with instructions for completing the online erector certification renewal form, erector certification agreement, and the online Certified Erector Member renewal form. This email was sent to the company’s designated Company Administrator. The renewal process will be just like last year for producer/erectors. Independent erectors not owned by a PCI producer member will only need to complete one combined form to renew membership and certification, in addition to the erector agreement.

Please note that failure to complete the online erector certification and membership renewals on time will result in a lapse in an erector’s certification status. For any questions regarding your erector’s certification status, please contact qualityprograms@pci.org. For any questions regarding the designated contact for your company, please contact membership@pci.org.

New Certificate Template for Certified Plants

During our recent audit of the plant certification program by IAS, IAS required several changes to the template PCI uses for its certificate. The most recognizable change is the separate listing of dates for the Policy 20 certification, which is an annual certification, and the ISO 9001 certification, which is a three-year certification with an annual renewal. Reference was also added to the full description of the PCI certification categories on the PCI website. Please contact qualityprograms@pci.org if you have any questions about these changes.

Architectural Certification Program Update

The change in implementation date for the new architectural certification program categories to October 1, 2021, from July 1, 2021, has resulted in several changes to the plant certification renewal process for the 2021-22 certification year. These involve when updated certificates will be issued and the architectural categories that will be reflected on those certificates.

PCI-certified plants should be aware of the following:

  1. Renewal certificates issued effective July 1, 2021, will still reflect the current categories. The certificates for plants with architectural group certification will be effective for three months, through September 30, 2021. New certificates will be issued for the architectural plants reflecting their new categories achieved, effective October 1 through the balance of the certification year (June 30, 2022).
  2. Plants that have not met the requirements for the new categories by October 1, 2021, will not have certification in the architectural group after that date. Therefore, it is important that plants have the mockup panels ready for the auditor’s review during their audits. As previously outlined, two of these panels can be constructed prior to the audit and one must be completed during the audit (pre-pour inspection, cast, cured, stripped and finished).
  3. If an onsite audit and review of the panels in the producer’s facility is not feasible due to COVID-19 concerns, panels can be made available to the auditor at a mutually agreeable onsite or offsite location that is accessible to the producer and auditor, at the producer’s expense.  The producer will notify PCI and RBA in advance of the audit if they are not accepting visitors and need to coordinate an offsite review.

T. Henry Clark Award Nominations Due June 1

Nominations for the T. Henry Clark Award, to be presented during 2021 PCI Committee Days, should be submitted to qualityprograms@pci.org by June 1, 2021. The T. Henry Clark Award nomination form is available at www.pci.org/PCI/About/Awards/Clark.

The T. Henry Clark Award was established to recognize an individual, group of individuals, or firm that has delivered a resource that improves or enhances the quality of precast/prestressed concrete products or processes. T. Henry Clark believed in quality and quality processes, and this award is to recognize those who create or promote quality in a way that would have made him proud.

For more information, contact Gary Wildung, the Quality Activities Council chair, at gary.wildung@fdgcolorado.com or Mike Kesselmayer, PCI managing director of quality programs, at mkesselmayer@pci.org.

PCI Company Audits

Company audits conducted to support PCI’s Erector Certification Program are conducted by a group of experienced Certified Company Auditors trained to conduct these types of audits. The qualifications necessary to perform these audits are outlined in the PCI Company Auditor FAQs. If you are interested in learning more about conducting these audits, please review the FAQ document and contact PCI at QualityPrograms@pci.org.

Online Certification Exams

Online, computer-based exams are now being used for the Level 1, Level 2, Level 3, and GFRC QC Technician/Inspector certifications. There is a new Proctored Online Exam Request Packet that must be used to register for these online exams. The CFA and CCA certification exams are still in a paper format but will be converted to a multiple-choice, online format in coming months. For CFA and CCA proctored exam requests, please email qualityprograms@pci.org to receive this proctored exam request packet.

Suggestions

Please forward suggestions for future quality-related articles for this newsletter to Mike Kesselmayer at mkesselmayer@pci.org.

Posted: 3/15/2021

Architectural Certification Program Update

The change in implementation date for the new architectural certification program categories to October 1, 2021, from July 1, 2021, has resulted in several changes to the plant certification renewal process for the 2021-22 certification year. These involve when updated certificates will be issued and the architectural categories that will be reflected on those certificates.

PCI-certified plants should be aware of the following:

  1. Renewal certificates issued effective July 1, 2021, will still reflect the current categories. The certificates for plants with architectural group certification will be effective for three months, through September 30, 2021. New certificates will be issued for the architectural plants reflecting their new categories achieved, effective October 1 through the balance of the certification year (June 30, 2022).
  2. Plants that have not met the requirements for the new categories by October 1, 2021, will not have certification in the architectural group after that date. Therefore, it is important that plants have the mockup panels ready for the auditor’s review during their audits. As previously outlined, two of these panels can be constructed prior to the audit and one must be completed during the audit (pre-pour inspection, cast, cured, stripped and finished).
  3. If an onsite audit and review of the panels in the producer’s facility is not feasible due to COVID-19 concerns, panels can be made available to the auditor at a mutually agreeable onsite or offsite location that is accessible to the producer and auditor, at the producer’s expense.  The producer will notify PCI and RBA in advance of the audit if they are not accepting visitors and need to coordinate an offsite review.

PCI Company Audits

Company audits conducted to support PCI’s Erector Certification Program are conducted by a group of experienced Certified Company Auditors trained to conduct these types of audits. The qualifications necessary to perform these audits are outlined in the PCI Company Auditor FAQs. If you are interested in learning more about conducting these audits, please review the FAQ document and contact PCI at QualityPrograms@pci.org.

T. Henry Clark Award Nominations Due June 1

Nominations for the T. Henry Clark Award, to be presented during 2021 PCI Committee Days, should be submitted to qualityprograms@pci.org by June 1, 2021. The T. Henry Clark Award nomination form is available at www.pci.org/PCI/About/Awards/Clark.

The T. Henry Clark Award was established to recognize an individual, group of individuals, or firm that has delivered a resource that improves or enhances the quality of precast/prestressed concrete products or processes. T. Henry Clark believed in quality and quality processes, and this award is to recognize those who create or promote quality in a way that would have made him proud.

For more information, contact Gary Wildung, the Quality Activities Council chair, at gary.wildung@fdgcolorado.com or Mike Kesselmayer, PCI managing director of quality programs, at mkesselmayer@pci.org.

Erector Field Quality Audits

PCI Policy 29, Erector Certification Program, requires that certified erectors submit a Field Quality Audit Report AND an Erectors Post-Audit Declaration for each primary erection crew once each half of the calendar year if that crew erected precast for more than 60 days during the period. Please note that the EPAD is required even if no nonconformances were noted in the FQAR, as the EPAD serves as confirmation that the erector has received and reviewed the FQAR. All FQARs and EPADs should be emailed to audit@pci.org.

Online Certification Exams

Online, computer-based exams are now being used for the Level 1, Level 2, Level 3, and GFRC QC Technician/Inspector certifications. There is a new Proctored Online Exam Request Packet that must be used to register for these online exams. The CFA and CCA certification exams are still in a paper format but will be converted to a multiple-choice, online format in coming months. For CFA and CCA proctored exam requests, please email qualityprograms@pci.org to receive this proctored exam request packet.

Requirement for Use of PCI-Certified Erectors

The use of PCI-certified Category A erectors will be required effective October 1, 2021 for projects in the new AA, AB and AC architectural categories, for plants certified in those categories. Producers are encouraged to work with their local erectors if they are not PCI-certified, informing them of the new requirements and the benefits of PCI certification.  Certified erectors that do not have certification in Category A should contact Qualityprograms@pci.org for information regarding adding this category.

Suggestions

Please forward suggestions for future quality-related articles for this newsletter to Mike Kesselmayer at mkesselmayer@pci.org.

T. Henry Clark Award Nominations Due June 1 

Nominations for the T. Henry Clark Award, to be presented during 2021 PCI Committee Days, should be submitted to qualityprograms@pci.org by June 1, 2021. The T. Henry Clark Award nomination form is available at https://www.pci.org/PCI/About/Awards/T_Henry_Clark_Award.

The T. Henry Clark Award was established to recognize an individual, group of individuals, or firm that has delivered a resource that improves or enhances the quality of precast/prestressed concrete products or processes. T. Henry Clark believed in quality and quality processes, and this award is to recognize those who create or promote quality in a way that would have made him proud.

For more information, contact Gary Wildung, the Quality Activities Council chair, at gary.wildung@fdgcolorado.com or Mike Kesselmayer, PCI managing director of quality programs, at mkesselmayer@pci.org.

Erector Field Quality Audits

PCI Policy 29, Erector Certification Program, requires that certified erectors submit a Field Quality Audit Report AND an Erectors Post-Audit Declaration for each primary erection crew once each half of the calendar year if that crew erected precast for more than 60 days during the period. The EPAD is required even if no nonconformances were noted in the FQAR, as the EPAD serves as confirmation that the erector has received and reviewed the FQAR. Copies of the FQARs for the second half of 2020 were to have been submitted no later than January 15. In the event that the crew did not meet the 60-day threshold, a letter to that effect must be submitted. All FQARs, EPADs, and letters should be emailed to audit@pci.org.

Architectural Certification Program Update

The implementation date for the new architectural certification program categories has been changed to October 1, 2021, from the previously planned July 1, 2021. The Architectural Certification Subcommittee made this decision after careful consideration of the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on plant operations in many regions and on our ability to perform onsite plant audits.  In addition to revising the implementation date, the subcommittee has outlined an alternative option for producers to have their completed mockup panels reviewed when access to a producer’s facility is not feasible.

Producers that are not able to allow visitors for an onsite audit due to COVID concerns may receive a remote audit. Documentation will be electronically shared, and the producer and auditor will use video conferencing to monitor production processes and observe the production of the mockup panel required to be cast in the presence of the auditor. The mockup panels must be reviewed by the auditor in person to appropriately perform visual inspection and verify tolerances. If review of the panels in the producer’s facility is not feasible, panels can be made available to the auditor at a mutually agreeable onsite or offsite location that is accessible to the producer and auditor, at the producer’s expense.  The producer will notify PCI and RBA in advance of the audit if they are not accepting visitors and need to coordinate an offsite review.

The subcommittee determined that delaying the effective date for the new categories by three months was the best course of action for plants experiencing COVID-19 related impact. This delay provides equity and additional time for mockup panel construction and audits for affected plants, allowing the plants additional opportunity to meet program requirements before implementation of the new categories.

Renewal certificates issued effective 7/1/21 will still reflect the current categories. The certificates for plants with architectural group certification will be effective for three months, through 9/30/21. New certificates will be issued for the architectural plants reflecting their new categories achieved, effective October 1st through the balance of the certification year (6/30/22).

Online Certification Exams

Online, computer-based exams are now being used for the Level 1, Level 2, Level 3, and GFRC QC Technician/Inspector certifications. There is a new Proctored Online Exam Request Packet that must be used to register for these online exams. The CFA and CCA certification exams are still in a paper format but will be converted to a multiple-choice, online format in coming months. For CFA and CCA proctored exam requests, please email qualityprograms@pci.org to receive this proctored exam request packet.

Requirement for Use of PCI-Certified Erectors

The use of PCI-certified Category A erectors will be required effective 10/1/21 for projects in the new AA, AB and AC architectural categories, for plants certified in those categories. Producers are encouraged to work with their local erectors if they are not PCI-certified, informing them of the new requirements and the benefits of PCI certification.  Certified erectors that do not have certification in Category A should contact qualityprograms@pci.org for information regarding adding this category.

Suggestions

Please forward suggestions for future quality-related articles for this newsletter to Mike Kesselmayer at mkesselmayer@pci.org.

Posted: 1/13/2021

Erector Field Quality Audits

PCI Policy 29, Erector Certification Program, requires that certified erectors conduct a field quality audit for each primary erection crew once each half of the calendar year if that crew erected precast for more than 60 days during the period. Copies of the field quality audits for the second half of 2020 are to be submitted no later than January 15. In the event that the crew did not meet the 60-day threshold, a letter to that effect must be submitted. All field quality audits and letters should be emailed to audit@pci.org.

Architectural Certification Program Update

The implementation date for the new architectural certification program categories has been changed to October 1, 2021, from the previously planned July 1, 2021. The Architectural Certification Subcommittee made this decision after careful consideration of the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on plant operations in many regions and on our ability to perform onsite plant audits.  In addition to revising the implementation date, the subcommittee has outlined an alternative option for producers to have their completed mockup panels reviewed when access to a producer’s facility is not feasible.

Producers that are not able to allow visitors for an onsite audit may receive a remote audit. Documentation will be electronically shared, and the producer and auditor will use video conferencing to monitor production processes and observe the production of the mockup panel intended to be cast in the presence of the auditor. The mockup panels must be reviewed by the auditor in person to appropriately perform visual inspection and verify tolerances. If review of the panels in the producer’s facility is not feasible, panels can be made available to the auditor at a mutually agreeable onsite or offsite location that is accessible to the producer and auditor, at the producer’s expense.  The producer will notify PCI and RBA in advance of the audit if they are not accepting visitors and need to coordinate an offsite review.

The subcommittee determined that delaying the effective date for the new categories by three months was the best course of action for plants experiencing COVID-19 related impact. This delay provides equity and additional time for mockup panel construction and audits for affected plants, allowing the plants additional opportunity to meet program requirements before implementation of the new categories.

Renewal certificates issued effective July 1, 2021, will still reflect the current categories. The certificates for plants with architectural group certification will be effective for three months, through September 30, 2021. New certificates will be issued for the architectural plants reflecting their new categories achieved, effective October 1 through the balance of the certification year (June 30, 2022).

Schedule for Architectural Certification Audits Released

The schedule for the next audit cycle (January to June) has been completed, and notification of assigned two-week audit windows has been provided to architectural program producers who have not successfully completed the assessment of their mockup panels to the new program requirements. Auditors continue to contact plant personnel approximately two to three weeks prior to the planned audit date to verify if the plant is currently producing product, if the plant is accepting outside visitors, whether there are any regulations that would preclude or impact an audit, and if the plant has implemented any specific safety protocols that would affect the auditor. If an onsite audit cannot be conducted, the auditor will discuss arrangements for performing a remote audit.

Architectural plants that do not yet have approved production drawings and mix designs for the mockup panels are receiving reminder emails. These production drawings and concrete mix designs are to be submitted 45 days in advance of the architectural program audits. These reviews are intended to help assure that the plans for the mockup panels comply with the requirements of the Architectural Certification Program Supplemental Requirements and are for the benefit of the plant. Please submit these, as required, to RBA at kmecheck@rossbryan.com and to PCI at audit@pci.org.

Online Certification Exams

PCI implemented the use of online, computer-based exams for the Level 1, Level 2, Level 3, and GFRC QC Technician/Inspector certifications in November, as part of the development of the new Personnel Certification Management System (CMS). The CFA and CCA certification exams are still in a paper format but will be converted to a multiple-choice, online format in coming months. Please note that there is a new Proctored Online Exam Request Packet that must be used to register for the online exams.

Registration for proctored exams continues to follow the current “paper” process, pending full deployment of the CMS. Upon successful registration, the certification candidate, selected proctor, and company administrator (in the case that the candidates did not self-register) will receive confirmation emails explaining the process. The PCI website is in the process of being updated to reflect these new procedures. Exams are administered through PCI’s new Learning Management System LMS), which is accessed through PCI’s eLearning Center on the PCI website.

Requirement for Use of PCI-Certified Erectors

The use of PCI-certified Category A erectors will be required effective October 1, 2021, for projects in the new AA, AB and AC architectural categories, for plants certified in those categories. Producers are encouraged to work with their local erectors if they are not PCI-certified, informing them of the new requirements and the benefits of PCI certification.  Certified erectors that do not have certification in Category A should contact Qualityprograms@pci.org for information regarding adding this category.

Suggestions

Please forward suggestions for future quality-related articles for this newsletter to Mike Kesselmayer at mkesselmayer@pci.org.

Posted: 11/6/2020

New Architectural Certification Program Implementation Date

The implementation date for the new architectural certification program categories has been changed to October 1, 2021, from the previously planned July 1, 2021. The Architectural Certification Subcommittee made this decision after careful consideration of the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on plant operations in many regions and on our ability to perform onsite plant audits.

Certification in a new architectural category requires the plant to demonstrate their capabilities for their desired category by constructing a series of three mockup panels. In many cases, the pandemic has caused manpower shortages and other related issues, interfering with the plant staff’s ability to complete the mockup panels in time for the audits.  Additionally, the mockup panels cannot be adequately assessed using video or cameras during a remote audit; they must be reviewed during an onsite audit. In many cases, local/regional travel restrictions, plant safety precautions, or COVID outbreaks at plants have precluded the performance of scheduled onsite audits.

To be equitable and provide an opportunity for plants experiencing COVID-related impact to be certified in time for implementation of the new categories, the subcommittee determined the best course of action was to delay the effective date by three months, to allow additional time for mockup panel construction and audits. Renewal certificates issued effective July 1, 2021, will still reflect the current categories. The certificates for plants with architectural group certification will be effective for three months, through September 30, 2021. New certificates will be issued for the architectural plants reflecting their new categories achieved, effective October 1 through the balance of the certification year (June 30, 2022).

Transition to Online Certification Exams

As part of the development of the new Personnel Certification Management System (CMS), PCI has implemented the use of online, computer-based exams for the Level 1, Level 2, Level 3, and GFRC QC Technician/Inspector certifications. The CFA and CCA certification exams are still in a paper format but will be converted to a multiple-choice, online format in coming months. Please note that there is a new Proctored Online Exam Request Packet that must be used for the online exams.

Registration for proctored exams continues to follow the current “paper” process, pending full deployment of the CMS. Upon successful registration, the certification candidate, selected proctor, and company administrator (in the case that the candidates did not self-register) will receive confirmation emails explaining the process. The PCI website is in the process of being updated to reflect these new procedures. Exams are administered through PCI’s new Learning Management System LMS), which is accessed through PCI’s eLearning Center on the PCI website.

When the CMS is complete, individuals seeking to achieve or renew PCI certification will be able to apply for certification, upload any relevant documents and pay their certification fees through the system. The online certification exam administration results in immediate scoring and test results for the candidates. Although the use of the external proctor system continues, the use of additional administration methods is also being explored.

Individuals will have 24/7 access to their certification records through their individual accounts available via the PCI website and the PCI Mobile APP. There will also be a certification verification feature available to the general public, which will be similar to the system used by ACI. Behind the scenes, all information relative to the certification process, records, and certification decisions will be stored electronically. The CMS implementation is expected to be completed in early 2021.

Copies of Plant and Erector Certificates

Copies of the certificates for PCI-certified plants and erectors are now available to authorized certification contacts through the PCI website. Instructions for accessing the certificates via computer/laptop and via mobile devices/tablets are available on the Plant Certification Policies, Procedures & Logo Usage and the Erector Certification Policies & Procedures pages.

Changes to Policy 28 (Quality Personnel Certification Program)

At its September meeting, the PCI Board of Directors approved a series of changes to PCI’s Quality Personnel Certification Program (Policy 28). These revisions fell generally into one of three categories:

1. Revisions to address cheating and fraudulent acts

2. General reorganization of the document

3. General maintenance, including items that needed clarification, updating or correction

Additional information is available on the Certification Program Changes page on the PCI website.

Plant Audit Update

Onsite audits will be conducted for about 75 percent of plants this audit cycle (July to December). Current plans are to continue performing onsite audits where possible, but we are monitoring the impact of the pandemic with a focus on safety for all involved and will make changes if appropriate. The schedule for the next audit cycle (January to June) is almost complete and those architectural plants that have not yet been approved for their new certification category will receive their two-week audit window in coming weeks. 

Auditors are contacting plant personnel approximately two to three weeks prior to the planned audit date to verify that the plant is currently producing product, if the plant is accepting outside visitors, whether there are any regulations that would preclude or impact an audit, and if the plant has implemented any specific safety protocols that would affect the auditor. If an onsite audit cannot be conducted, the auditor will discuss arrangements for performing a remote audit.

For plants seeking certification to the new architectural precast concrete categories and constructing mockup panels… The mockup panels cannot be adequately assessed using video or cameras during a remote audit. Consequently, these mockup panels need to be reviewed during an onsite audit. Also, the auditor will review any panels that are complete as well as the panel that is required to be cast and processed during an onsite audit. It is not necessary to have all three panels complete prior to the auditor’s review. Any remaining panels can be reviewed during the next audit, but all three must be approved prior to being certified in the new category.

Suggestions

Please forward suggestions for future quality-related articles for this newsletter to Mike Kesselmayer at mkesselmayer@pci.org.

Posted: 11/6/2020

Transition to Online Certification Exams

As part of the development of the new Personnel Certification Management System (CMS), transition to the use of online, computer-based exams will be implemented during the week of November 16. The online exam administration will provide an improved grading process (eliminating the need for faxing, mailing or emailing exams and answer sheets), provide immediate results to the examinee, and facilitate better oversight of the entire examination process. The exams for the Level 1, Level 2, Level 3, and GFRC QC Technician/Inspector certifications have been incorporated into the new system; the CFA and CCA certification exams will be converted to a multiple-choice format and will follow in coming months.

The new Certification Management System (CMS) will complement the recently deployed new Learning Management System (LMS). The LMS is accessed through PCI’s eLearning Center and is used to house and administer all education activities, including education courses, webinars, as well as individual training records. The goals of the new CMS are to provide easier access to all aspects of the certification system, streamline processes, and eliminate the need for paper, including paper-based, written exams.

When complete, individuals seeking to achieve or renew PCI certification will be able to apply for certification, upload any relevant documents and pay their certification fees through the system. Online certification exam administration will result in immediate scoring and test results for the candidates. The use of the external proctor system will continue, although the use of additional administration methods is also being explored.

Individuals will have 24/7 access to their certification records through their individual accounts available via the PCI website and the PCI Mobile APP. There will also be a certification verification feature available to the general public, which will be similar to the system used by ACI. Behind the scenes, all information relative to the certification process, records, and certification decisions will be stored electronically. The CMS implementation is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

Designer Resources – Architectural Certification Program

The Architectural Certification Subcommittee is developing various resources to assist the design community in understanding and implementing the new architectural certification program categories. These resources will be made available in the Designer Resources section of the Architectural Certification Program page on the PCI website. Producers may also find these useful as they explain the changes to their clients.

Several resources are currently available:

Additional resources are in development. Be sure to check the website frequently for additional resources.

Requirement for Use of PCI-Certified Erectors

Per the Architectural Certification Program Supplemental Requirements, the use of PCI-certified Category A erectors will be required effective July 1, 2021, for projects in the new AA, AB, and AC architectural categories, for plants certified in those categories. Producers are encouraged to work with their local erectors if they are not PCI-certified, informing them of the new requirements and the benefits of PCI certification.

Plant Audit Update

Onsite plants audits are currently being conducted for most plants. Auditors are contacting plant personnel approximately two to three weeks prior to the planned audit date, to verify that the plant is currently producing product, if the plant is accepting outside visitors, whether there are any regulations that would preclude or impact an audit, and if the plant has implemented any specific safety protocols that would affect the auditor. If an onsite audit cannot be conducted, the auditor will discuss arrangements for performing a remote audit.

For plants seeking certification to the new architectural precast concrete categories and constructing mockup panels… The mockup panels cannot be adequately assessed using video or cameras during a remote audit. Consequently, these mockup panels will need to be reviewed during an onsite audit, in the next audit cycle. Also, the auditor will review any panels that are complete or are cast during the audit. It is not necessary to have all three panels complete prior to the auditor’s review. Any remaining panels can be reviewed during the next audit.

Architectural Certification Program Notes

Be sure to use the most current revision of the Architectural Certification Program Supplemental Requirements document when developing production drawings and mix designs for construction of the mockup panels for the new certification categories. The current revision of this document is June 2020.

As a reminder to all architectural plants – Production drawings and concrete mix designs for the mockup panels are to be submitted at least 45 days in advance of the architectural program audits. Plants are encouraged to submit these as soon as possible to maximize the time for review of the documents, incorporation of any needed revisions, and fabrication of the panels. These reviews are intended to help assure that the plans for the mockup panels comply with the requirements of the Architectural Certification Program Supplemental Requirements and are for the benefit of the plant. Please submit these to RBA at kmecheck@rossbryan.com and to PCI at audit@pci.org.

Suggestions

Please forward suggestions for future quality-related articles for this newsletter to Mike Kesselmayer at mkesselmayer@pci.org.

Posted: 10/13/2020

Coil Lifting Systems Webinar

The Coil Lifting Systems webinar, which was presented live to over 500 attendees in July, was recorded and is now available in PCI’s eLearning Center. This webinar discusses the potential safety issues when using coil inserts, coil nuts, coil rods, and coil bolts from different manufacturers.

Since there is no national standard for the manufacturing of these coil products, there is no guarantee that parts from different manufacturers will work together as intended and designed. The presentation outlines factors that should be considered in the selection and proper use of coil lifting hardware, inserts, and bolts, as well as the items that should be inspected, the attributes that should be reviewed, and the associated inspection methods.

Access the webinar through PCI’s eLearning Center via this link: Coil Lifting Systems Webinar

New LMS Deployed, New CMS in Process

Development of a new Certification Management System (CMS) to complement the recently deployed new Learning Management System (LMS) is in process. The LMS is accessed through PCI’s eLearning Center and is used to house and administer all education activities, including education courses, Quality Control sessions, and webinars, as well as individual training records. The goals of the new CMS are to provide easier access to all aspects of the certification system, streamline processes, and eliminate the need for paper, including paper-based, written exams.

Transition to the use of online, computer-based exams for the Level 1, Level 2, Level 3, and GFRC QC Technician/Inspector certifications is expected to be implemented in early November. The online exam administration will provide an improved grading process (eliminating the need for faxing, mailing or emailing exams and answer sheets), provide immediate results to the examinee, and facilitate better oversight of the entire examination process. The CFA and CCA certification exams, which will be revised and converted to a multiple-choice format, will follow in coming months. The balance of the CMS is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

When complete, individuals seeking to achieve or renew PCI certification will be able to apply for certification, upload any relevant documents and pay their certification fees through the system. Certification exams will be converted to electronic format and will be administered online. This will result in immediate scoring and test results for the candidates. The use of the external proctor system will continue, although the use of additional administration methods is also being explored.

Individuals will have 24/7 access to their certification records through their individual accounts available via the PCI website. There will also be a certification verification feature available to the general public, which will be similar to the system used by ACI. Behind the scenes, all information relative to the certification process, records, and certification decisions will be stored electronically.

Requirement for Use of PCI-Certified Erectors

Per the Architectural Certification Program Supplemental Requirements, the use of PCI-certified Category A erectors will be required effective July 1, 2021, for projects in the new AA, AB, and AC architectural categories, for plants certified in those categories. Producers are encouraged to work with their local erectors if they are not PCI-certified, informing them of the new requirements and the benefits of PCI certification.

Plant Audit Update

Onsite plants audits are currently being conducted for most plants. Auditors are contacting plant personnel approximately two to three weeks prior to the planned audit date, to verify that the plant is currently producing product, if the plant is accepting outside visitors, whether there are any regulations that would preclude or impact an audit, and if the plant has implemented any specific safety protocols that would affect the auditor. If an onsite audit cannot be conducted, the auditor will discuss arrangements for performing a remote audit.

For plants seeking certification to the new architectural categories and constructing mockup panels… The mockup panels cannot be adequately assessed using video or cameras during a remote audit. Consequently, these mockup panels will need to be reviewed during an onsite audit, in the next audit cycle. Also, the auditor will review any panels that are complete or are cast during the audit. It is not necessary to have all three panels complete prior to the auditor’s review. Any remaining panels can be reviewed during the next audit.

Architectural Certification Program Notes

Be sure to use the most current revision of the Architectural Certification Program Supplemental Requirements document when developing production drawings and mix designs for construction of the mockup panels for the new certification categories. The current revision of this document is June 2020.

As a reminder to all architectural plants, production drawings and concrete mix designs for the mockup panels are to be submitted at least 45 days in advance of the architectural program audits. Plants are encouraged to submit these as soon as possible to maximize the time for review of the documents, incorporation of any needed revisions, and fabrication of the panels. These reviews are intended to help assure that the plans for the mockup panels comply with the requirements of the Architectural Certification Program Supplemental Requirements and are for the benefit of the plant. Please submit these, as required, to RBA at kmecheck@rossbryan.com and to PCI at audit@pci.org.

Suggestions

Please forward suggestions for future quality-related articles for this newsletter to Mike Kesselmayer at mkesselmayer@pci.org.

Posted: 8/24/2020

Changes to Policy 20 (PCI Plant Certification Program)

At its June meeting, the PCI Board of Directors approved a change to PCI’s Plant Certification Program, which involves the thresholds for determining the number of audit days a plant will receive each year.  

The number of audit days for each plant is based upon the annual sales volume for the plant’s prior fiscal year, as provided in their Sales Declaration. Previously, plants with annual sales of less than $3 million received two 1-day audits. Plants with annual sales of $3 million to $6 million received one 1-day audit and one 2-day audit. Plants with sales in excess of $6 million received two 2-day audits. Those thresholds have been revised to $6 million and $13 million, respectively. These changes were effective with the audit cycle that started July 1, 2020.

A full copy of the revised Policy 20 was emailed to all plants in late July.

Spanish Translation of PCI Quality Talks Now Available

Series 1 of the PCI Quality Toolbox Talks has been translated into Spanish and is now available in the Quality Assurance Resources section of the PCI website.

Modelled after the more familiar plant safety toolbox talks, these Quality Talks are intended to reinforce best quality practices in the plant. The talks are short and include a variety of relevant topics. There are currently two 12-topic series of talks, with a third series being developed. Series 1 has been translated into Spanish to reach a broader audience within PCI plants.

New LMS Deployed, New CMS in Process

PCI recently deployed a new Learning Management System (LMS) through PCI’s eLearning Center. The LMS will be used to house and administer all education activities, including many education courses, Quality Control sessions, webinars, and more. Individual training records will also accessible through this system. Access to the LMS is available through the eLearning Center link on PCI’s website: eLearning Center. PCI is also developing a new Certification Management System (CMS) that will complement the LMS.

The goals of the new CMS are to provide easier access to all aspects of the certification system, streamline processes, and eliminate the need for paper. When complete, individuals seeking to achieve or renew PCI certification will be able to apply for certification, upload any relevant documents and pay their certification fees through the system. Certification exams will be converted to electronic format and will be administered online. This will result in immediate scoring and test results for the candidates. The use of the external proctor system will continue, although the use of additional administration methods is also being explored.

Individuals will have 24/7 access to their certification records through their individual accounts available via the PCI website. There will also be a certification verification feature available to the general public, which will be similar to the system used by ACI. Behind the scenes, all information relative to the certification process, all records, and certification decisions will be stored electronically.

Administration of online exams for the Level 1, Level 2, Level 3, and GFRC QC Technician/Inspector certifications are expected to be implemented by the end of September. The CFA and CCA certification exams will follow in coming months. The balance of the system will be completed by the end of the year.

Architectural Certification Program Notes

Be sure to use the most current revision of the Architectural Certification Program Supplemental Requirements document when developing production drawings and mix designs for construction of the mockup panels for the new certification categories. The current revision of this document is June 2020.

As a reminder to all architectural plants – Production drawings and concrete mix designs for the mockup panels are to be submitted at least 45 days in advance of the architectural program audits. Plants are encouraged to submit these as soon as possible to maximize the time for review of the documents, incorporation of any needed revisions, and fabrication of the panels. These reviews are intended to help assure that the plans for the mockup panels comply with the requirements of the Architectural Certification Program Supplemental Requirements and are for the benefit of the plant. Please submit these, as required, to RBA at kmecheck@rossbryan.com and to PCI at audit@pci.org.

Policy 20 Clarification

The Plant Certification Committee recently reviewed the requirements of section 20.7.2 of Policy 20 (PCI Plant Certification Program), which reads: “A plant must be Certified in all Product Groups and in applicable Categories in which the plant intends to produce and for which the Plant Auditor(s) determines they are eligible.” The committee clarified that this provision would apply to a precast plant certified for conventional reinforcing only (categories B1 or C1) that starts producing prestressed product. In this case, the plant would need to be certified in category B2 to B4 or C2 to C4, as appropriate. Similarly, a plant that is producing products for a project that specifies architectural products would need architectural group certification.

Suggestions

Please forward suggestions for future quality-related articles for this newsletter to Mike Kesselmayer at mkesselmayer@pci.org.

Posted: 7/22/2020

DEADLINE EXTENDED - Exceptional Precast Practices Deadline is July 30

The deadline for participating in the Exceptional Precast Practices (EPP) Program has been extended to July 30. If you planned on completing and submitting the EPP worksheets for your plant but have not yet done so, please submit them to qualityprograms@pci.org by the new deadline.

The EPP Program is a voluntary program for PCI producer member plants, developed by the Quality Enhancement Committee, intended to help improve the quality of their operations. Additional information concerning the program and the program materials are available on the Quality Assurance Resources page on PCI’s website by using this link: Quality Assurance Resources Page (You will need to log in to the Members Resources page to be able to access this page.)

Companies that have successfully adopted a path of continuous quality improvement typically exhibit a pattern of reduced costs, improved quality, and expanded capabilities. They show growing sales because they better serve the needs of their clients.

There are a variety of tools available, but are you looking for a continuous quality improvement tool developed specifically for the precast concrete industry? The Exceptional Precast Practices (EPP) program, developed by the Quality Enhancement Committee, offers both a roadmap for your efforts and milestones for measuring your progress.

Here is how it works: Your plant fills out the self-assessment survey for each of the seven sections/modules – Productivity, Personnel, Safety, Field operations, Sales and Marketing, Sustainable Plant, and Concrete. This process allows your plant to not only benchmark where you are today but also review programs of proven worth that other PCI plants find valuable.

That process allows plant personnel to decide on a roadmap for the future. If this process is managed well, that roadmap becomes the goals and programs for improvement, and it provides the basis for accountability for achievement. Your benchmark score allows your plant to actually measure progress from year to year. There is no minimum score required. This is not a contest. Scores will not be published. There is no overall winner. All participants in this voluntary program seriously win. All participating plants are provided with an annual certificate of participation and are recognized at the PCI Committee Days and Technical Conference.

To participate or to read more about the program, click here to access the Member Resources section of the PCI website. To receive recognition for 2020, returned completed forms to PCI by July 30.

Updated Plant and Erector Certificates

The 2020-21 certificates for PCI-certified plants and erectors are available online at the PCI website. There are two ways the renewed certificates can be accessed - either by using a desktop computer or by downloading the PCI mobile app, available in your App Store. Once logged into the PCI website, a blue “Certificate” button should be visible on your profile page. If you have trouble accessing your certificate(s), please email QualityPrograms@pci.org for assistance.

Erector Field Quality Audits

PCI Policy 29, Erector Certification Program, requires that certified erectors conduct a field quality audit for each primary erection crew once each half of the calendar year if that crew erected precast for more than 60 days during the period. Copies of the field quality audits for the first half of 2020 were to be submitted no later than July 15. In the event that the crew did not meet the 60-day threshold, a letter to that effect must be submitted. Email all field quality audits and letters to Qualityprograms@pci.org.

Update on Status of Plant Audits

Onsite plants audits resumed effective July 1, with the goal of performing as many audits as possible in the plants during the July to December cycle. Of course, the scheduling and planning for these audits is sensitive to local travel restrictions and other mandated safety precautions, for the protection of both the plant and audit staff. We also recognize that some plants are not allowing outside personnel into their facilities or have implemented other plant-specific precautions. These safety concerns have resulted in several changes to our processes.

PCI’s plant certification audits are almost always unannounced. During this audit cycle, however, auditors will be contacting all plants several weeks in advance of their audits. The purpose of these calls is to determine if the plant is open to non-plant employees and to ascertain if there are any state or local safety mandates or plant-specific protocols that must be followed. All plant staff are requested to please provide full information to the auditors when they are contacted. This is important to the safety of all involved and to the success of the audit program. Additionally, architectural plants that will not have their mockup panels constructed for review during this cycle should convey that information to the auditor. In some cases, that may change the planned duration of the audit.   

If it is not feasible to perform an on-site audit at the plant, the auditor will discuss arrangements for a remote audit. The scope of this audit will depend upon whether the plant’s most recent audit was remote or was onsite. If the prior audit was a remote audit, the auditor will discuss options for allowing review of production processes and product in storage.

Update on Status of Erector Audits

Implementation of the remote audit process for certified erectors was initiated in June. Certified erectors should expect to be contacted by their assigned company auditors in the coming weeks. It is expected that this will be our primary process for completing these company audits for the near future, while we are affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. While not the preferred format, these audits are very document review-centric and this format lends us the flexibility to get these accomplished during the travel restrictions.

Architectural Certification Program Notes

There have been several inquiries about the review of the formwork for the mockup panels to be constructed for the new Architectural Certification Program audits. Two of the panels are to be constructed in advance of the audit. The forms for these two panels do NOT need to be retained for review by the auditor during the audit. The third mockup panel will be cast, cured, stripped and finished during the audit, so the forms for this panel will necessarily be reviewed during the audit.

As a reminder to all architectural plants, production drawings and concrete mix designs for the mockup panels are to be submitted at least 45 days in advance of the architectural program audits. Plants are encouraged to submit these as soon as possible to maximize the time for review of the documents, incorporation of any needed revisions, and fabrication of the panels. These reviews are intended to help assure that the plans for the mockup panels comply with the requirements of the Architectural Certification Program Supplemental Requirements and are for the benefit of the plant. Please submit these, as required, to RBA at kmecheck@rossbryan.com and to PCI at audit@pci.org.

Suggestions

Please forward suggestions for future quality-related articles for this newsletter to Mike Kesselmayer at mkesselmayer@pci.org.

Posted: 5/19/2020

FINAL REMINDER!! - Certified Plant and Certified Erector Renewals

All PCI plant and erector certifications will expire June 30, 2020. The deadline for all PCI-certified plants and certified erectors to return their annual renewal documentation was May 31, 2020. For certified plants, this includes the signed contracts and sales declarations. Certified erectors need to submit their signed contracts and Certification Renewal forms. Reminders have been emailed to the designated contacts for the plants and erectors who have not yet submitted the required documentation. Please do not ignore these reminders. Questions about renewal status should be directed to qualityprograms@pci.org.

Mockup Panel FAQs

As production drawings are being developed for the mockup panels, various questions have been submitted seeking clarification on the mockup panel details and the requirements of the new categories, as outlined in the Architectural Certification Program Supplemental Requirements. These questions and their associated answers have been published as a series of PCI Producer Frequently Asked Questions, which has been posted on the architectural program page of PCI’s website. Plant staff are encouraged to review this resource if they have questions associated with the construction of the mockup panels.   

Precast Concrete Mix Design Training Course

The PCI Concrete Mix Design Training Program will be offered online in a series of modules on July 8, 9 and 10, 2020. This course is intended to assist plants in meeting the QC personnel requirements for categories AA and AB in the revised Architectural Certification Program, if they do not have a PCI Level 3 QC Technician on staff. More information about the course and a link to register for the course is available at the following link: PCI Concrete Mix Design Training Course.

Update on Status of Plant and Erector Audits

The remote audit process continues to be the primary means of conducting plant audits while we are impacted by COVID-19. Similarly, a remote audit process has been developed and implemented for company audits of certified erectors. Initial feedback has been that the remote audit process is working to bridge the gap until we can fully resume onsite audits. Thank you for your cooperation. We realize that these audits are not the norm and appreciate your understanding and assistance, especially when you are dealing with your own COVID-19 issues at your businesses.

We have initiated a very limited resumption of in-plant audits. This is a very “soft” opening with audits of some plants within driving distance of Nashville. Scheduling and planning for these audits is sensitive to local travel restrictions and other mandated safety precautions, for the protection of both the plant and audit staff. The Architectural Certification Subcommittee will be considering options for performing architectural program audits and implementation of the new certification categories, in the event that a full schedule or audits cannot be implemented for all plants on July 1 as planned.

Implementation of the remote audit process for certified erectors was initiated last week. Certified erectors should expect to be contacted by their assigned company auditors in the coming weeks. It is expected that this will be our primary process for completing these company audits for the near future, while we are affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. While not the preferred format, these audits are very document review-centric and this format lends us the flexibility to get these accomplished during the travel restrictions.

Architectural Certification Program Updates

There are three important updates for the architectural program. First, the audit schedule for the new architectural program has been completed and notifications of the two-week audit windows have been distributed to those plants that submitted applications to the new program categories. These audits are currently scheduled to begin July 1st. Obviously, adjustments will be made as circumstances dictate. Producers are asked to confirm receipt of the schedule notification, if they have not already done so.

Second – As plant staff continue review the mockup panel drawings and submit requests for information on the details, the necessity for several clarifications to the details has become evident. These updated details are contained in Revision 2 (dated June 2020) of the Architectural Certification Program Supplemental Requirements. The Revision Log describing the changes is on page vii.

Finally, as a reminder to all architectural plants – Production drawings and concrete mix designs for the mockup panels are to be submitted 45 days in advance of the architectural program audits. Plants are encouraged to submit these as soon as possible to maximize the time for review of the documents, incorporation of any needed revisions, and fabrication of the panels. These reviews are intended to help assure that the plans for the mockup panels comply with the requirements of the Architectural Certification Program Supplemental Requirements and are for the benefit of the plant. Please submit these, as required, to RBA at kmecheck@rossbryan.com and to PCI at audit@pci.org.

FINAL REMINDER: Exceptional Precast Practices Deadline is July 1

Companies that have successfully adopted a path of continuous quality improvement typically exhibit a pattern of reduced costs, improved quality, and expanded capabilities. They show growing sales because they better serve the needs of their clients.

There are a variety of tools available, but are you looking for a continuous quality improvement tool developed specifically for the precast concrete industry? The Exceptional Precast Practices (EPP) program, developed by the Quality Enhancement Committee, offers both a roadmap for your efforts and milestones for measuring your progress.

Born out of the QA 2020 Vision Program, the key working committees at PCI have set forth a self-assessment and the process steps that provide both the roadmap and the milestones for continuous improvement.

Here is how it works: Your plant fills out the self-assessment survey for each of the seven sections/modules – Productivity, Personnel, Safety, Field operations, Sales and marketing, Sustainable plant, and Concrete. This process allows your plant to not only benchmark where you are today but also review programs of proven worth that other PCI plants find valuable.

That process allows plant personnel to decide on a roadmap for the future. If this process is managed well, that roadmap becomes the goals and programs for improvement, and it provides the basis for accountability for achievement. Your benchmark score allows your plant to actually measure progress from year to year. There is no minimum score required. This is not a contest. Scores will not be published. There is no overall winner. All participants who participate in this voluntary program seriously win. All participating plants are provided with an annual certificate of participation and are recognized at the PCI Committee Days and Technical Conference.

To participate or to read more about the program, access PCI Member Resources. To receive recognition for 2020, completed forms must be returned to PCI by July 1.

Suggestions

Please forward suggestions for future quality-related articles for this newsletter to Mike Kesselmayer at mkesselmayer@pci.org.

Posted: 5/19/2020

Plant Certification Audit Update

As previously announced, all in-plant audits of PCI-certified plants were suspended until May 18.  After reviewing the current situation regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, we have decided to begin a very limited resumption of in-plant audits. This will be a very “soft” opening with audits of some plants within driving distance of Nashville. These will be sensitive to local travel restrictions and other mandated safety precautions, for the protection of both the plant and audit staff.

In the meantime, we have implemented our process for performing remote audits in lieu of in-plant audits, while we are impacted by COVID-19. As of May 15, almost 50 remote audits had been scheduled for May and June. Thank you for your cooperation. We realize that these audits are not the norm and appreciate your understanding and assistance, especially when you are dealing with your own COVID-19 issues at your plants. We anticipate the great majority of the remaining audits through the end of June will be conducted remotely.

Erector Certification Audit Update

All company audits of certified erectors were suspended in mid-March. A procedure for conducting remote audits while companies are impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic is being developed and is expected to be implemented within the next few weeks. 

Schedule for Architectural Certification Audits Released

The audit schedule for the new architectural program has been completed and notifications of the two- week audit windows will be distributed to those plants that submitted applications to the new program categories, beginning the week of May 18. These audits are currently scheduled to begin July 1st. Obviously, adjustments will be made as circumstances dictate.

As a reminder to all architectural plants, production drawings and concrete mix designs for the mockup panels are to be submitted 45 days in advance of the architectural program audits. We realize that this will be a very tight time frame for those plants scheduled for July but encourage plants to submit these as soon as possible. These reviews are intended to help assure that the plans for the mockup panels comply with the requirements of the Architectural Certification Program Supplemental Requirements and are for the benefit of the plant. Please submit these, as required, to RBA at kmecheck@rossbryan.com and to PCI at audit@pci.org.

Request for Architectural Precast Concrete Photos

PCI needs your help to make the rollout of the new PCI Architectural Certification Program a big success. This is also great opportunity to have your precast concrete projects and companies be featured in publicity and resources which thousands of people will see the next several months.

PCI is looking for producers to provide images of representative architectural precast concrete that can be used in a series of presentations, publications, marketing collateral, and much more for the new architectural categories. These images can be of various types and complexities of architectural panels. While we appreciate photos of completed projects, we especially desire orthogonal views of individual panels.

We are seeking photos demonstrating facets of each of the new categories:

  • AA: Architectural products with multiple concrete mixtures and textures in extremely unique projects. Extremely unique projects that include complex geometry and surface profiles  Projects that may require extremely tight tolerances for material interfaces
  • AB: Projects that have three-dimensional surface profiles such as bullnoses, cornices, radii, and integral returns. Projects that have multiple concrete mixes and/or surface finishes,  stone, ceramic, tile, or terra cotta veneers
  • AC: Plants producing products with architectural finishes such as cladding and wall panels with plant-applied finishes, including brick veneers and formliners.
  • AD: Plants producing structural products with an architectural finish such as wall panels with plant-applied finishes, including structural products with brick veneers and formliners or extruded profiles.  
  • AT: Plants producing architectural trim products such as copings and lintels with plant-applied finishes. 

Please complete the image license request form for any images provided. For more information, email Becky King at bking@pci.org.

Plant and Erector Certification Renewals Due May 31

REMINDER - The deadline for all PCI-certified plants and certified erectors to return their annual renewal documentation is May 31, 2020.  For certified plants, this includes submitting signed contracts and completing he online sales declaration process. For certified erectors, this includes submitting signed contracts and completing the online certification renewal form. The designated contact for all certified plants and erectors should have received an email with instructions on how to complete these processes. Please note that failure to complete these renewals on time will result in a lapse in certification. For any questions regarding certification status, please contact qualityprograms@pci.org. For any questions regarding the designated contact, please contact membership@pci.org.

Exceptional Precast Practices Deadline is July 1

Companies that have successfully adopted a path of continuous quality improvement typically exhibit a pattern of reduced costs, improved quality, and expanded capabilities. They show growing sales because they better serve the needs of their clients.

There are a variety of tools available, but are you looking for a continuous quality improvement tool developed specifically for the precast concrete industry? The Exceptional Precast Practices (EPP) program, developed by the Quality Enhancement Committee, offers both a roadmap for your efforts and milestones for measuring your progress.

Born out of the QA 2020 Vision Program, the key working committees at PCI have set forth a self-assessment and the process steps that provide both the roadmap and the milestones for continuous improvement.

Here is how it works: Your plant fills out the self-assessment survey for each of the seven sections/modules – Productivity, Personnel, Safety, Field operations, Sales and marketing, Sustainable plant, and Concrete. This process allows your plant to not only benchmark where you are today but also review programs of proven worth that other PCI plants find valuable.

That process allows plant personnel to decide on a roadmap for the future. If this process is managed well, that roadmap becomes the goals and programs for improvement, and it provides the basis for accountability for achievement. Your benchmark score allows your plant to actually measure progress from year to year. There is no minimum score required. This is not a contest. Scores will not be published. There is no overall winner. All participants who participate in this voluntary program seriously win. All participating plants are provided with an annual certificate of participation and are recognized at the PCI Committee Days and Technical Conference.

To participate or to read more about the program, access PCI Member Resources. To receive recognition for 2020, completed forms must be returned to PCI by July 1.

T. Henry Clark Award Nominations Due June 1

Nominations for the T. Henry Clark Award, to be presented during the 2020 PCI Committee Days, September 22–25, 2020, should be submitted to qualityprograms@pci.org by June 1, 2020. View the T. Henry Clark Award Nomination Form.

The T. Henry Clark Award was established to recognize an individual, group of individuals, or firm that has delivered a resource that improves or enhances the quality of precast/prestressed concrete products or processes. T. Henry Clark believed in quality and quality processes, and this award is to recognize those who create or promote quality in a way that would have made him proud.

For more information, contact Gary Wildung, the Quality Activities Council chair, at gary.wildung@fdgcolorado.com or Mike Kesselmayer, PCI managing director of quality programs, at mkesselmayer@pci.org.

Suggestions

Please forward suggestions for future quality-related articles for this newsletter to Mike Kesselmayer at mkesselmayer@pci.org.

Posted: 4/23/2020

Important Plant Certification Program Updates

The COVID-19 outbreak has affected PCI’s Plant Certification Program in several ways. First – Many plants have restricted access to only production-essential personnel, and many third-party services such as calibration agencies have restricted travel for their employees. These issues, when coupled with the shelter-in-place mandates that exist in many states and cities, will likely result in some plants not being able to meet the required calibration cycles for equipment or the timely completion of some third-party testing of aggregates and hardened concrete. In response to these concerns, the due dates on these third-party calibrations and testing activities will be extended. Any third-party calibrations or testing requirements with due dates from March to June will be considered to have a July 1 expiration date. This date may be further extended, depending upon the continuation of the travel restrictions and risks.

Producers experiencing issues with third-party calibration and testing availability should document the issue and be prepared to share that with the auditor during their next audit. In-house calibrations should still be performed, where staffing allows. Of course, it is expected that equipment that is not functioning properly must be addressed or removed from use, to ensure the continued quality of the products produced.

Second - as previously announced, PCI has postponed all in-plant certification audits until at least May 4, 2020. We are continuing to monitor the situation and will advise you if we are able to meet this date or if the resumption of audits needs to be postponed. In the meantime, we are evaluating other options such as remote, document-only audits for the plants whose audits have been postponed.  More information will also follow on this issue, as the options are further developed.

Finally – We are developing the schedule for the July to December architectural certification program audits, with the hope that these will be able to be conducted as planned. Obviously, we will also adjust these plans as circumstances warrant.

ACP Supplemental Requirements Document Revised

Revision 1 of the PCI Architectural Certification Program Supplemental Requirements document has been posted on the Architectural Certification Program web page of the PCI website.  The changes are listed on the Revision Log (page vii of the document) and include revisions to three drawings – Category AA Type 3; Category AB Type 1; and Category AB Type 2. The changes are clearly indicated on the drawings. Please ensure that your staff use the latest document revision when preparing production drawings. Production drawings and mix designs for the mock-up panels are to be submitted to Qualityprograms@pci.org and kmecheck@rossbryan.com at least 45 days prior to the plant’s scheduled audit dates.  The audit schedule is expected to be announced in mid-May.

Plant Certification Renewal for 2020-21

All producers should have received an email with instructions on how to complete the new and improved online sales declaration and their plant certification contract. This email was sent to the company’s designated CFO/Financial contact. Please note that only the designated CFO/Financial contact has access to the online sales declaration and failure to complete this on time will result in a lapse in a plant’s certification status. For any questions regarding your plant’s certification status, please contact qualityprograms@pci.org.

Additionally, producers will receive a separate email with instructions for completing the Producer Member renewal. This process will be just like last year, and this email will be sent to the company’s designated Company Administrator. For any questions regarding the designated CFO/Financial contact or Company Administrator, please contact membership@pci.org.

Erector Certification Renewal for 2020-21

All certified erectors should have received an email from PCI with instructions for completing the online erector certification renewal form, erector certification contract and the online Certified Erector Member renewal form. This process will be just like last year, and this email was sent to the company’s designated Company Administrator. For any questions regarding the designated contact, please contact membership@pci.org.

Please note that failure to complete the online erector certification and membership renewals on time will result in a lapse in an erector’s certification status. For any questions regarding your erector’s certification status, please contact qualityprograms@pci.org.

Exceptional Precast Practices Deadline is July 1

Companies that have successfully adopted a path of continuous quality improvement typically exhibit a pattern of reduced costs, improved quality, and expanded capabilities. They show growing sales because they better serve the needs of their clients.

There are a variety of tools available, but are you looking for a continuous quality improvement tool developed specifically for the precast concrete industry? The Exceptional Precast Practices (EPP) program, developed by the Quality Enhancement Committee, offers both a roadmap for your efforts and milestones for measuring your progress.

Born out of the QA 2020 Vision Program, the key working committees at PCI have set forth a self-assessment and the process steps that provide both the roadmap and the milestones for continuous improvement.

Here is how it works: Your plant fills out the self-assessment survey for each of the seven sections/modules – Productivity, Personnel, Safety, Field operations, Sales and marketing, Sustainable plant, and Concrete. This process allows your plant to not only benchmark where you are today but also review programs of proven worth that other PCI plants find valuable.

That process allows plant personnel to decide on a roadmap for the future. If this process is managed well, that roadmap becomes the goals and programs for improvement, and it provides the basis for accountability for achievement. Your benchmark score allows your plant to actually measure progress from year to year. There is no minimum score required. This is not a contest. Scores will not be published. There is no overall winner. All participants who participate in this voluntary program seriously win. All participating plants are provided with an annual certificate of participation and are recognized at the PCI Committee Days and Technical Conference.

To participate or to read more about the program, click here to access the Member Resources section of the PCI website. To receive recognition for 2020, completed forms must be returned to PCI by July 1.

Suggestions

Please forward suggestions for future quality-related articles for this newsletter to Mike Kesselmayer at mkesselmayer@pci.org.

Posted: 3/24/2020

Architectural Certification Program Applications Due April 1

Important changes to PCI’s Architectural Certification Program were distributed to all PCI-certified plants in late January.  These changes apply to all plants whose scope currently includes architectural categories A1, CA, BA or AT and those who intend to seek certification in these architectural categories. The email announcing these changes included the PCI Producer Initial Application. The completed application form MUST BE RETURNED BY APRIL 1, 2020!

The distributed information includes the PCI Architectural Certification Program Supplemental Requirements document, which is also posted on the Architectural Certification Program web page.

  • a description of the new categories and the specific requirements for certification in each;
  • an overview of the initial certification process and the subsequent recertification requirements;
  • drawings for the mock-up panels that must be produced by all plants as part of the certification process for the new categories; and
  • important steps and a timeline for transition to the new categories.

PCI will begin a one-year transition to a new series of categories, as categories A1, CA and BA will be replaced by categories AA, AB, AC, and AD. The first, preliminary step in this transition process is that all architectural plants must submit a completed PCI Producer Initial Application. By April 1, 2020. Plants will not be “grandfathered” into categories or assigned categories by default. Plants desiring to retain certification in the architectural group MUST submit an application.

The following are some of the key dates in this transition:

April 1, 2020

Initial applications for certification in the new categories are due.

July 1, 2020

Initial plant audits to the new program are initiated.

July 1, 2020

Renewal certificates will include existing categories.

Dec. 31, 2020

Initial certification audits to new categories are completed.
Plants have until June 30, 2021 to resolve architectural certification category issues.

June 30, 2021

One-year transition period ends; renewal certificates include only the new categories.


Watch for additional details in coming newsletters, other PCI publications, and separate emails during the coming months.

Webinar - The New PCI Architectural Certification Program Requirements

A webinar discussing the new PCI Architectural Certification Program requirements was presented on February 19, 2020. The webinar explained the reasons for the program changes, details concerning the new categories, the initial certification and recertification requirements, and the timeline associated with this transition.

Quality Control Manual Addenda Web Page

A requirement was recently enacted that plants performing prestressing have evidence the strand being used has been tested in accordance with ASTM A1081/A1081M, Standard Test Method for Evaluating Bond of Seven-Wire Steel Prestressing Strand.   Requirements such as this, which are applicable to all plants but not yet contained in the appropriate QC manual(s), will now be listed on the Quality Control Manual Addenda web page on the PCI website.

Structural Grouting Paper

Structural grouting is an integral part of precast concrete, steel, and tilt-up construction. Currently, there are no requirements in building codes or standards for the installation or special inspection of grouted joints. Structure Magazine recently published an article titled Recommendations for Grouting, which examines these issues in more detail.  A link to this article has been posted in the Quality Assurance Resources section of the PCI website.  Visit the Page

Plant Certification Renewal for 2020-2021

Within the next few weeks, PCI will be sending an email to all Producers with instructions on how to complete the new and improved online sales declaration and plant certification contract. This email will be sent to the company’s designated CFO/Financial contact. PCI has been reaching out to all producer members for this information.

Please note that only the designated CFO/Financial contact will have access to the online sales declaration and failure to complete this on time will result in a lapse in a plant’s certification status  Failure to complete the online sales declaration by May 31st will result in a $500 late fee. For any questions regarding your plant’s certification status, please contact qualityprograms@pci.org.

Additionally, Producers will receive a separate email with instructions for completing the Producer Member renewal. This process will be just like last year, and this email will be sent to the company’s designated Company Administrator. For any questions regarding the designated CFO/Financial contact or Company Administrator, please contact membership@pci.org.

Erector Certification Renewal for 2020-2021

Within the next few weeks, PCI will be emailing the instructions for completing the online erector certification renewal form, erector certification contract and the online Certified Erector Member renewal form. This process will be just like last year, and this email will be sent to the company’s designated Company Administrator. For any questions regarding the designated contact please contact membership@pci.org.

Please note that failure to complete the online erector certification and membership renewals on time will result in a lapse in an erector’s certification status. For any questions regarding your erector’s certification status, please contact qualityprograms@pci.org.

Suggestions

Please forward suggestions for future quality-related articles for this newsletter to Mike Kesselmayer at mkesselmayer@pci.org.

Changes to PCI's Architectural Certification Program Distributed

Important changes to PCI’s Architectural Certification Program were distributed to all PCI-certified plants in late January.  These changes apply to all plants whose scope currently includes architectural categories A1, CA, BA or AT and those who intend to seek certification in these architectural categories. The email announcing these changes included the PCI Architectural Certification Program Supplemental Requirements document, which is also posted on the Architectural Certification Program web page. 

The distributed information includes:

  • a description of the new categories and the specific requirements for certification in each;
  • an overview of the initial certification process and the subsequent recertification requirements;
  • drawings for the mock-up panels that must be produced by all plants as part of the certification process for the new categories; and
  • important steps and a timeline for transition to the new categories.

PCI will begin a one-year transition to a new series of categories, as category A1 will be replaced by four separate categories (AA, AB, AC, and AD). The first step in this transition process is that all plants must submit a PCI Producer Initial Application. The completed application form MUST BE RETURNED BY APRIL 1, 2020! Plants will not be “grandfathered” into categories or assigned categories by default. Plants desiring to retain certification in the architectural group MUST submit an application.

The following are some of the key dates in this transition:

April 1, 2020

Initial applications for certification in the new categories are due.

July 1, 2020

Initial plant audits to the new program are initiated.

July 1, 2020

Renewal certificates will include existing categories.

Dec. 31, 2020

Initial certification audits to new categories are completed.
Plants have until June 30, 2021 to resolve architectural certification category issues.

June 30, 2021

One-year transition period ends; renewal certificates include only the new categories.


Watch for additional details in coming newsletters, other PCI publications, and separate emails during the
coming months.

Architectural Certification Program Web Page

Be sure to bookmark the new PCI Architectural Certification Program web page. This is where you can find all of the most recent information on the program’s changes, deadlines, webinars, and any other updates.

2020 T. Henry Clark Award Call for Nominations

Nominations for the T. Henry Clark Award, to be presented at the 2020 PCI Committee Days and Technical Conference featuring the National Bridge Conference on September 22–25, 2020, should be submitted to qualityprograms@pci.org by July 1, 2020. Nominations are to be submitted using the T. Henry Clark Award Nomination Form

The T. Henry Clark Award was established to recognize an individual, group of individuals, or firm that has delivered a resource that improves or enhances the quality of precast/prestressed concrete products or processes. T. Henry Clark believed in quality and quality processes, and this award is to recognize those who create or promote quality in a way that would have made him proud.

For more information, contact Gary Wildung, the Quality Activities Council chair, at gary.wildung@fdgcolorado.com or Mike Kesselmayer, PCI managing director of quality programs, at mkesselmayer@pci.org.

Suggestions

Please forward suggestions for future quality-related articles for this newsletter to Mike Kesselmayer at mkesselmayer@pci.org.

Posted: 1/24/2020

Changes to PCI’s Architectural Certification Program Distributed

Important changes to PCI’s Architectural Certification Program are being distributed to all PCI-certified plants whose scope includes architectural categories a!, CA, BA or AT. The email announcing these changes includes the PCI Architectural Certification Program Supplemental Requirements and is being distributed this week.

The distributed information includes:

  • a description of the new categories and the specific requirements for certification in each;
  • an overview of the initial certification process and the subsequent recertification requirements;
  • drawings for the mock-up panels that must be produced by all plants as part of the certification process for the new categories; and
  • important steps and a timeline for transition to the new categories.

PCI will begin a one-year transition to a new series of categories, as category A1 will be replaced by four separate categories (AA, AB, AC, and AD). The first step in this transition process is that all plants must submit a PCI Producer Initial Application. The completed application form MUST BE RETURNED BY APRIL 1, 2020! Plants will not be “grandfathered” into categories or assigned categories by default. Plants desiring to retain certification in the architectural group MUST submit an application.

The following are some of the key dates in this transition:

April 1, 2020 Initial applications for certification in the new categories are due.
July 1, 2020 Initial plant audits to the new program are initiated.
July 1, 2020 Renewal certificates will include existing categories.
Dec. 31, 2020 Initial certification audits to new categories are completed.
Plants have until June 30, 2021 to resolve architectural certification category issues.
June 30, 2021 One-year transition period ends; renewal certificates include only the new categories.

Watch for additional details in coming newsletters, other PCI publications, and separate emails during the coming months.

Webinar – The New PCI Architectural Certification Program Requirements

A webinar discussing the new PCI Architectural Certification Program requirements will be presented on February 19, 2020. The webinar will explain the reasons for the program changes, details concerning the new categories, the initial certification and recertification requirements, and the timeline associated with this transition.

This webinar will be especially beneficial for those plants with certification in the A1, CA, BA, or AT categories that have not been actively involved with the development of the program changes. Click here to register for the February 19 webinar.

Architectural Certification Program Web Page

Be sure to bookmark the new PCI Architectural Certification Program web page. This is where you can find all of the most recent information on the program’s changes, deadlines, webinars, and any other updates.

Suggestions

If you have suggestions for future quality-related articles for this newsletter, please forward these to Mike Kesselmayer at mkesselmayer@pci.org.

Posted: 11/7/2019

Keith Wallis Jr. Receives 2019 T. Henry Clark Award

Keith Wallis Jr. was presented the T. Henry Clark Award at PCI’s awards luncheon during the PCI Committee Days and Technical Conference Featuring the National Bridge Conference. This award was established to recognize an individual, group of individuals, or a firm that has delivered a resource that improves or enhances the quality of precast, prestressed concrete products or processes. T. Henry Clark was a believer of quality and quality processes; this award is to recognize those who create or promote quality in a way that would have made Henry proud.

Keith Wallis Jr. has worked for Prestressed Casting Co. for more than 40 years. He began his career with the plant in quality control in 1979, worked in the engineering/drafting department from 1981-95, and was operations manager from 1995 to 2000. Since 2000, he has served as general manager, overseeing all aspects of the company.

A PCI Fellow, Wallis has been a member of the PCI Board of Directors, serving from 2007-12 and since 2015. He is currently the chair of the PCI Board.

Wallis is currently active on more than 10 PCI committees. His committee service has included membership in the Financial & Risk Management and Erectors committees as well as all committees within the Quality Activities Council.  He served as PCI Quality Activities Council chair from 2007 to 2012 and in 2015 to 2016. He is currently chair of the Tolerance committee. He also was a Kansas City Builders’ Association board member for two two-year terms.

Quality Talks – Series 2 is Now Available

Over the course of producing quality precast concrete members throughout the year, it is necessary to take a moment to reflect on the right ways of doing things. Taking time on a regular basis to consider some quality-control-related topics and production best practices will help continually improve the culture of quality at a production facility. PCI’s Quality Talks can serve as a valuable resource for this purpose.

The Quality Enhancement Committee has released its second series of Quality Talks. There is now a total of 22 Talks, with more on the way, covering a wide range of additional topics, from basic math, to proper steel form care and methods for reducing bugholes in finished products. 

These toolbox talks should be used at least once a month to discuss quality with the production teams. All available topics may not directly relate to every plant’s production practices. Plant personnel are not limited to the topics provided; plants are encouraged to use this format to generate toolbox talks that may relate more directly to their specific needs. View Quality Talks - Series 2

PCI Website Adds Erector Service Area Search

Precast erectors will typically service projects well beyond the border of the states where they are located.  To help potential users of PCI-certified erectors identify those firms that could be available for their projects, PCI has added a Service Area search function to the Certified Erectors Directory.

The Service Areas includes all 50 states, the U.S. territories, Canadian provinces, and Mexico. New York City has also been added, since not all erectors who work in New York also work in New York City. The database was populated based upon surveys distributed to the erectors. Firms that did not respond to the survey were listed as serving their domiciled state only. Certified erectors are encouraged to review their listings and forward any updates to qualityprograms@pci.org

Clutch Maintenance Webinar

This short webinar reminds us to properly inspect lifting devices and all component parts in order to maintain safe working environments and preserve the quality of products when lifted.  This is an ideal resource for periodic training of staff, similar to the Quality Talks discussed above. View Clutch Maintenance Webinar

If you have suggestions for future quality-related articles for this newsletter, please forward these to Mike Kesselmayer at mkesselmayer@pci.org.

Posted: 10/16/2019

Request for Photos for PCI’s Architectural Certification Program

As described in last month’s newsletter, PCI is in the process of making substantial enhancements to its Plant Certification Program (PCI Policy 20) that involve the architectural certification group. Communicating these changes will include various methods, such as education sessions at the upcoming 2019 Committee Days and Technical Conference, Featuring the National Bridge Conference, and at the 2020 PCI Convention, as well as a webinar for producers planned for early 2020. One important aspect of these sessions will be photos of representative products for each of the four new architectural categories, to help illustrate the differences. 

PCI is requesting producers to provide photos of representative architectural products that can be used in a series of presentations to educate producers about the new architectural categories. These photos can be of various types and complexities of architectural panels. While we appreciate photos of completed projects, we are especially desiring orthogonal views of individual panels.

If the photo is selected for use, PCI will attribute the photo to the producer and project in the presentation. To be considered for use, the photos must be accompanied by a PCI Image License Request Form. We intend to use different photos with each presentation, to provide exposure for projects to a greater number of producers. Email photos and release forms to Mike Kesselmayer at mkesselmayer@pci.org.  

Additional information concerning these architectural certification program changes will be distributed during coming months, so that all producers have multiple opportunities to be fully informed as to how these changes will affect them and what their responsibilities will be during the transition period. View more information from the August 2019 QA Update.

Posted: 10/16/2019

PCI Signs Bilateral Agreement with IAS

PCI is pleased to announce the completion of a partnering agreement with the International Accreditation Service (IAS) that will allow PCI-certified plants to leverage their PCI certification into accreditation as an approved structural fabricator in accordance with the IAS AC157 program. This added benefit differentiates PCI-certified plants from other suppliers and will allow PCI plants to demonstrate clear compliance with Section 1704 of the International Building Code (IBC).

Section 1704 of the IBC requires special inspections of fabricated structural, load-bearing members unless an approved fabricator is used. One method to demonstrate code compliance is to use an approved fabricator that meets the requirements of IAS AC157, Accreditation Criteria for Fabricator Inspection Programs for Reinforced and Precast/Prestressed Concrete.

During the process of obtaining IAS accreditation for PCI’s Plant Certification Program, PCI staff and members worked diligently to bring the requirements of PCI certification into as close alignment as possible with the requirements of IAS AC157. Since that time, the PCI staff has been working with the IAS staff to reach agreement that by meeting the requirements of PCI certification, a PCI plant also meets the requirements of AC157. This work culminated in the signing of an official agreement between PCI and IAS that acknowledges this.  

The agreement allows PCI to manage the AC157 program for its certified plants without PCI-certified plants having to work directly with IAS and provides the AC157 accreditation at a significantly reduced cost than if a producer gained AC157 accreditation directly from IAS. The additional fees cover IAS’ costs for the accreditation and PCI’s additional administrative costs. Plants will need to complete an application to enroll in the program. The evaluation process has been structured so that the standard semi-annual audits used for PCI plant certification can also be applied as the audits for IAS accreditation.  

Look for additional information in coming weeks about this added benefit.


Request for Photos for PCI’s Architectural Certification Program

As described in last month’s newsletter, PCI is in the process of making substantial enhancements to its Plant Certification Program (PCI Policy 20) that involve the architecturalcertification group. Communicating these changes will include various methods, such as education sessions at the upcoming 2019 Committee Days and Technical Conference, Featuring the National Bridge Conference, and at the 2020 PCI Convention, as well as a webinar for producers planned for early 2020. One important aspect of these sessions will be photos of representative products for each of the four new architectural categories, to help illustrate the differences. 

PCI is requesting producers to provide photos of representative architectural products that can be used in a series of presentations to educate producers about the new architectural categories. These photos can be of various types and complexities of architectural panels. While we appreciate photos of completed projects, we are especially desiring orthogonal views of individual panels.

If the photo is selected for use, PCI will attribute the photo to the producer and project in the presentation. To be considered for use, the photos must be accompanied by a PCI Image License Request Form.  We intend to use different photos with each presentation, to provide exposure for projects to a greater number of producers. Email photos and release forms to Mike Kesselmayer at mkesselmayer@pci.org.  

Additional information concerning these architectural certification program changes will be distributed during coming months, so that all producers have multiple opportunities to be fully informed as to how these changes will affect them and what their responsibilities will be during the transition period. View more information from the August 2019 QA Update.


Suggestions

Please forward suggestions for future quality-related articles for this newsletter to Mike Kesselmayer at mkesselmayer@pci.org.

Posted: 10/16/2019

Changes to PCI’s Architectural Certification Program

At its June meeting, the PCI Board of Directors approved changes to PCI’s Plant Certification Program (PCI Policy 20) that involve the architectural certification group. The current architectural products group includes categories A1 (Architectural Cladding and Load Bearing Units) and AT (Architectural Trim). Beginning with plant certifications issued July 1, 2020, PCI will start a one-year transition to a new series of categories, as category A1 will be replaced by four separate categories (AA, AB, AC, and AD).

The changes in architectural certification categories are in response to new aesthetic and performance demands for wall systems in many projects being built today and are based upon consultation with interested stakeholders in the design community. The effort is intended to better align design community expectations with plant production capabilities. The additional certification categories are also expected to provide enhanced precast concrete products to meet the aesthetic, installation, and performance demands for projects with more complex BIM-generated exterior envelope requirements.

In the new program, the AA, AB, AC, and AD categories replace the current A1 architectural certification. Category AT will continue. Categories AA and AB will include enhanced detail and finish requirements. Category AC will remain essentially the same as the current A1 designation, while the new AD provisions match those currently required in the CA and BA categories.

Here are some key dates in this transition:

Mid-January 2020 Initial program application and supporting documentation provided to plants
April 1, 2020 Initial applications for certification in the new categories are due
July 1, 2020 Initial plant audits to the new program are initiated
July 1, 2020 Renewal certificates will include existing categories. Issuance of new category certificates begins as certification requirements are met.
December 31, 2020 Initial certification audits to new categories are completed. Plants have until 6/30/21 to resolve architectural certification category issues.
June 30, 2021 One-year transition period ends; renewal certificates include only the new categories


Watch for additional details in future newsletters, other PCI publications, and separate emails during the coming months.

Changes to Policy 20 (Plant Certification Program) and Policy 29 (PCI Erector Certification Program)

At its June meeting, the PCI Board of Directors approved changes to PCI’s Plant Certification Program (Policy 20) and PCI’s Erector Certification Program (Policy 29). Copies of these revised policies were emailed to all plant and erector contacts within the last week. If you have not received a copy, please email qualityprograms@pci.org.

Suggestions

If you have suggestions for future quality-related articles for this newsletter, please forward these to Mike Kesselmayer at mkesselmayer@pci.org.

Posted: 7/23/2019

Certification Articles - July 2019

Changes to Policy 20 (PCI Plant Certification Program)

At its June meeting, the PCI Board of Directors approved a series of changes to PCI’s Plant Certification Program. These changes fell generally into three categories:

  1. Incorporation of the planned changes for the Architectural Certification Program.
  2. Changes to the financial aspects of the program.
  3. Ongoing maintenance of the standard, including changes required in accordance with our IAS accreditation or those being made in response to issues that have arisen since the last revision of Policy 20 was approved.

The current architectural products group includes categories A1 (Architectural Cladding and Load Bearing Units) and AT (Architectural Trim). Effective June 30, 2020, category A1 will be discontinued and will be replaced by four separate categories (AA, AB, AC, and AD). Category AT will continue. All architectural certifications issued effective July 1, 2020, will be in one of the five new categories. The revised Policy 20 includes a description of the five categories, as well as reference to these dates and supplemental requirements for the new program. 

The timing of financial notices and consequences for late payments have been revised.  Plants will now receive an initial past-due notice from PCI when their accounts are 30 days overdue, with a notice that finance charges will begin accruing. Another notice will follow at 60 days. At 90 days, the plant’s certification and audits will be suspended and notice provided that the certification will be withdrawn if the account is not current within the next 30 days. At 120 days, certification will be withdrawn. Previously, the initial notice was at 90 days and subsequent notices regarding certification suspension and withdrawal followed at 120 and 150 days, respectively. 

There were a variety of other changes; some of the significant changes included:

  1. Applicant plants will have 15 months to complete the certification process.
  2. Existing clients who open or acquire new, uncertified plants will have 15 months to have those plants complete the certification process.
  3. Plants that do not have active production for a period of more than 1 month are to notify PCI.
  4. Certification for a plant cannot be renewed unless the plant has been audited at least once during the prior 12 months.

A full copy of the revised Policy 20 will be emailed to all plants in a few weeks.


Changes to Policy 29 (PCI Erector Certification Program)

At its June meeting, the PCI Board of Directors approved a change to PCI’s Erector Certification Program requiring that all certified erectors have at least one employee who has current certification as a Certified Field Auditor (CFA) or is currently registered for a CFA training class and is certified by the next company audit. Previously, only applicant erector companies were required to have a CFA on staff or registered for the class to be eligible for certification.  This requirement has now been extended to existing certified erectors. A full copy of the revised Policy 29 will be emailed to all erectors within a few weeks.


Exceptional Precast Practices Deadline is August 15

Companies that have successfully adopted a path of continuous quality improvement typically exhibit a pattern of reduced costs, improved quality, and expanded capabilities. They show growing sales because they better serve the needs of their clients.

There are a variety of tools available, but are you looking for a continuous quality improvement tool developed specifically for the precast concrete industry? The Exceptional Precast Practices (EPP) program, developed by the Quality Enhancement Committee, offers both a roadmap for your efforts and milestones for measuring your progress.

Born out of the QA 2020 Vision Program, the key working committees at PCI have set forth a self-assessment and the process steps that provide both the roadmap and the milestones for continuous improvement.

Here is how it works: Your plant fills out the self-assessment survey for each of the seven sections/modules – Productivity, Personnel, Safety, Field operations, Sales and marketing, Sustainable plant, and Concrete. This process allows your plant to not only benchmark where you are today but also review programs of proven worth that other PCI plants find valuable.

That process allows plant personnel to decide on a roadmap for the future. If this process is managed well, that roadmap becomes the goals and programs for improvement, and it provides the basis for accountability for achievement. Your benchmark score allows your plant to actually measure progress from year to year. There is no minimum score required. This is not a contest. Scores will not be published. There is no overall winner. All participants who take the program seriously win. All participating plants are provided with an annual certificate of participation and are recognized at the PCI Committee Days and Membership Conference.

To participate or to read more about the program, click here to access the Members Only section of the PCI website. To receive recognition for 2019, completed forms must be returned to PCI by August 15.


Suggestions

Please forward suggestions for future quality-related articles for this newsletter to Mike Kesselmayer at mkesselmayer@pci.org.

Posted: 6/18/2019

Certification Articles - June 2019

FINAL REMINDER - Certified Plant and Certified Erector Renewals

All PCI plant and erector certifications will expire June 30, 2019. The deadline for all PCI-certified plants and certified erectors to return their annual renewal documentation was May 31, 2019. For certified plants, this includes the signed contracts and sales declarations. Also, all plant QSMs (Quality System Manuals) must have been approved as ISO 9001:2015 compliant. Certified erectors need to submit their signed contracts and certification renewal forms.

Plant certification contracts and sales declarations were emailed to designated plant contacts on April 1. The erector certification renewal processes are in an online format this year. Renewal information was emailed to the designated company contacts in mid-April.

IMPORTANT REMINDER - All PCI-certified plants are required to have QSMs that comply with PCI’s QSM-1, Preparation Guidelines for a Quality System Manual of a PCI-certified Plant, and ISO 9001:2015 as a condition of plant certification renewal for 2019-20. This is an accreditation condition for PCI’s accreditation as a management system certification body by the International Accreditation Service (IAS). There are still a significant number of plants that have not met this requirement. If you have a question about whether your plant’s QSM has been accepted as compliant, please email audit@pci.org.


Exceptional Precast Practices Deadline is August 15

Companies that have successfully adopted a path of continuous quality improvement typically exhibit a pattern of reduced costs, improved quality, and expanded capabilities. They show growing sales because they better serve the needs of their clients.

There are a variety of tools available, but are you looking for a continuous quality improvement tool developed specifically for the precast concrete industry? The Exceptional Precast Practices (EPP) program, developed by the Quality Enhancement Committee, offers both a roadmap for your efforts and milestones for measuring your progress.

Born out of the QA 2020 Vision Program, the key working committees at PCI have set forth a self-assessment and the process steps that provide both the roadmap and the milestones for continuous improvement.

Here is how it works: Your plant fills out the self-assessment survey for each of the seven sections/modules – Productivity, Personnel, Safety, Field operations, Sales and marketing, Sustainable plant, and Concrete. This process allows your plant to not only benchmark where you are today but also review programs of proven worth that other PCI plants find valuable.

That process allows plant personnel to decide on a roadmap for the future. If this process is managed well, that roadmap becomes the goals and programs for improvement, and it provides the basis for accountability for achievement. Your benchmark score allows your plant to actually measure progress from year to year. There is no minimum score required. This is not a contest. Scores will not be published. There is no overall winner. All participants who take the program seriously win. All participating plants are provided with an annual certificate of participation and are recognized at the PCI Committee Days and Membership Conference.

To participate or to read more about the program, click here in the Members Only section of the PCI website. To receive recognition for 2019, completed forms must be returned to PCI by August 15.


Suggestions

Please forward suggestions for future quality-related articles for this newsletter to Mike Kesselmayer at mkesselmayer@pci.org.