Revised Addendum to MNL 117-13

PCI recently approved a revision to QC manual MNL 117-13. The change to section 4.3.1 aligns the batch tolerance requirements for solid admixtures and liquid pigments in MNL 117-13 with the comparable section of MNL 116-21. Approved Addenda to the QC manuals are available via this link: MNL 116 and 117 Addenda. Addenda to the QC manuals are posted on the PCI website until such time as publishing schedules for new editions of the QC manuals allow. 

Improper Use of the PCI Certified Erector Logo

The PCI logo is a graphic representation of the PCI brand, which represents technical excellence, integrity, and experience. While the use of the PCI logos is encouraged, the logos are registered symbols, and their use is carefully controlled. The rules for the use of the PCI certified erector logo are set forth in section 29.16 of PCI Policy 29 (Erector Certification Program).

The rules for the use of the PCI certified erector logo are shown below. If you have questions or would like a full copy of PCI Policy 29, please email Qualityprograms@pci.org.

29.16    PROMOTION OF CERTIFICATION AND LOGO USAGE
  1. 29.16.1   Upon attaining Certification, the Client will be provided a certificate for display and copies of reproduction proofs of the PCI Erector Certification logo for use in promotion.
    1. 29.16.1.1  

      The certificate and proofs shall remain the property of PCI and shall be surrendered promptly by the Client in the event of cancellation of the Certification Agreement by either party.  

      29.16.1.2

      In the event the Client’s Certification is withdrawn, the Client shall cease using any materials bearing the Certification logo and any promotional material making claims or statements relating to current PCI Erector Certification.   

  1. 29.16.2   Client usage of logo shall meet the following:
    1. a)    conform to the requirements of PCI when making reference to its certification status in communication media such as web sites, social media, brochures, advertising, or other promotional documents
      b) not make or permit any misleading statement regarding its certification status
      c) not use or permit the use of a certification document or any part thereof in a misleading manner
      d) upon suspension or withdrawal of its certification, discontinue use of all advertising material containing reference to PCI Erector Certification
      e) amend all advertising material, as appropriate, when the scope of certification has been reduced
      f) not allow reference to its certification to be used in such a way as to imply that PCI certifies product(s), services, or processes
      g) not imply that the certification applies to activities that are outside the scope of certification
      h) not use its certification in such a manner that would bring PCI and/or certification programs into disrepute and lose public trust
      i)

      comply with all provisions of the PCI logo usage policy   

  2. 29.16.3  

    The Client shall not apply the PCI Logo to products. The PCI-certified erector logo may not be used on items such as inspection reports, calculations, production or erection drawings bracing plans, crane plans, or bid proposal documents, or in any other manner that may create the impression that PCI is in any way connected to or endorses any element of the organization’s business operations.   

    29.16.4 PCI shall exercise proper control of ownership and shall take action to correct misleading or incorrect references to certification status or misleading use of certification documents, logos or audit reports. Such action shall include requests for correction and corrective action, suspension, withdrawal of certification, publication of the transgression and, if necessary, legal action.

If misuse of the logo is noted, the erector will receive a notice from PCI staff, with a request for correction and a corrective action response.

Help Wanted - PCI Company Audits for Certified Erectors

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 or know someone who might be a good candidate, please contact PCI at QualityPrograms@pci.org.

AC157 (Approved Fabricator Accreditation)

PCI and IAS (International Accreditation Service) have a bilateral agreement that enables a PCI-certified plant to leverage their PCI certification toward accreditation by IAS as an approved structural fabricator, in accordance with the IAS AC 157 program. Information about this program can be found on the new IAS AC157 Approved Fabricator Accreditation page on PCI’s website. 

Under PCI’s agreement with IAS, the accreditation is issued by IAS and IAS retains all approval authority for the accreditations issued. PCI performs many of the administrative functions on behalf of IAS. All accreditation fees, program applications, audit reports, corrective action responses and other program documentation flow through PCI. Direct communication between the plant and IAS will be very limited. Once accredited to AC157, plants will see very little difference in their normal processes to maintain PCI certification.

Accreditation as an approved fabricator under the IAS program provides building owners, specifiers, engineers, and architects with the upmost confidence that the fabricator consistently demonstrates competency in manufacturing the highest-quality precast concrete for a wide variety of building and transportation projects. Accreditation also provides building departments with a means to register and approve fabricators.

The added benefit of approved fabricator accreditation differentiates PCI-certified plants from other suppliers and allows PCI plants to demonstrate clear compliance with Section 1704 of the IBC. This will eliminate the need for continuous special inspection at the fabrication facility, potentially saving time and reducing project costs.

Suggestions

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

Posted: 8/15/2022

Improper Use of the PCI Certified Plant Logo

The PCI logo is a graphic representation of the PCI brand, which represents technical excellence, integrity, and experience. While the use of the PCI logos is encouraged, the logos are registered symbols, and their use is carefully controlled. Auditors routinely verify that use of the PCI-certified plant logo is in conformance with PCI’s requirements during their plant audits. There are several common practices involving the misuse of the logo that have been cited during plant audits.

The rules for the use of the PCI certified plant logo are set forth in PCI Policy 20. The three most common issues with misuse of the PCI logo are as follows:

  1. The logo is displayed on product shop drawings – Section 20.13.2(f) states that the client shall “not allow reference to its certification to be used in such a way as to imply that PCI certifies product(s), services or processes”.  Section 20.13.2(g) states that the client shall “not imply that the certification applies to activities that are outside the scope of certification”.  In this case, the use of the logo on the drawings could be interpreted as implying certification of the product engineering and design services, which are not covered by PCI’s Plant Certification Program.
  2. The logo is displayed on QC inspection and testing records – Section 20.13.3 states: “The Client shall not apply the PCI Logo to products. The PCI-certified plant logo may not be used on items such as laboratory test, calibration or inspection reports, calculations, production drawings or bid proposal documents, or in any other manner that may create the impression that PCI is in any way connected to or endorses any element of the organization’s business operations”
  3. The logo has been applied as a sticker to completed production components – While this is rare, it has occurred. Section 20.13.2(f) states that the client shall “not allow reference to its certification to be used in such a way as to imply that PCI certifies product(s), services or processes”.  Section 20.13.3 states: “The Client shall not apply the PCI logo to products”. 

If misuse of the logo is noted, the plant will receive a notice from PCI staff, with a request for correction and a corrective action response.

Project Surveys for Category AA and AB Certified Plants

The Architectural Certification Program Supplemental Requirements require producer plants certified in the AA and AB categories to submit project information to PCI that will facilitate a PCI-distributed survey to the architect and GC/CM upon completion of a project. This requirement applies to all completed projects that are specified as category AA or AB with more than 5000 ft2 (465 m2) of wall panel area. These requirements were to have gone into effect July 1, 2022.

The Supplemental Requirements describe a paper process for submitting this project information. An online survey system is currently being completed and will be available shortly. The decision was made to delay implementation of the surveys until the online system was available.

The plant will submit the project information through the PCI website and the architect and GC/CM will complete the survey online. The survey system will send periodic reminders to the architects and GC/CMs reminding them to complete the survey. A report of the survey results received will be provided to the producers for their quality improvement activities. PLEASE NOTE – The surveys do not remove the need for plants to be soliciting customer feedback on their own – this is still required. The project survey through PCI is a separate requirement.

Further information will be provided directly to the category AA and AB-certified plants when the software testing process has been completed.

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. Copies of the field quality audits for the first half of 2022 were due no later than July 15. If the crew did not meet the 60-day threshold, a letter to that effect must be submitted. All Field Quality Audit Reports, Erectors Post-Audit Declarations, and letters should be emailed to audit@pci.org.  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.

PCI Certification Statement for Industry

Although the new architectural certification program categories were effective October 1, 2021, architectural producers report that industry continues to specify category A1 certification for many new projects. In addition to the other resources that have been provided on PCI’s website that are intended to inform and educate specifiers about these changes, a Certification Statement for Industry has been added.

The Certification Statement for Industry serves as a general notice on PCI letterhead informing a specifier about the changes in architectural categories and provides a variety of contacts if they have additional questions. The Statement is intended to serve as an official notice from PCI to reinforce a producer’s communication to a specifier during the bidding process or in a post-bid request for information or qualification submittal.

Suggestions

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

Posted: 7/18/2022

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. Copies of the field quality audits for the first half of 2022 were due no later than July 15. If the crew did not meet the 60-day threshold, a letter to that effect must be submitted. All field quality audits, EPADS, and letters should be emailed to audit@pci.org. 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.

MNL 116-21 Changes Webinar

A webinar summarizing the changes in MNL 116-21 was presented on June 7, 2022. For those who attended and have questions, these can be emailed to Qualityprograms@pci.org. Questions will be answered directly and those that are not unique to a specific plant will also be posted as part of an FAQ document. A copy of the recording from the webinar will be posted in PCI’s eLearning Center within the next few weeks, for those who were not able to attend. You can find a recording of the webinar on PCI’s eLearning Center.

Watch the Recording

Erector Service Area in Certified Erector Directory

Most PCI-certified erectors install precast for projects in a service area that extends well beyond the state where their office is located. To assist potential clients in locating PCI-certified erectors for projects in their area, a “States Serviced” field is included in the directory of certified erectors. Erectors are reminded to verify that the states reflected in their listing are current. Any changes should be sent to Qualityprograms@pci.org

Revised Addendum to MNL 116-21 and MNL 117-13

PCI recently approved a revision to the QC manual addendum relating to ASTM A1081/A1081M Testing for Strand Bond. These revisions align the addendum with current TAC guidance and plant certification audit requirements.  Addenda to the QC manuals are posted on the PCI website until such time as publishing schedules for new editions of the QC manuals allow. 

Suggestions

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

Posted: 6/7/2022

MNL 116-21 Changes Webinar

A webinar summarizing the changes in MNL 116-21 was presented on June 7, 2022. For those who attended and have questions, these can be emailed to Qualityprograms@pci.org. Questions will be answered directly and those that are not unique to a specific plant will also be posted as part of an FAQ document. A recording of the webinar will be posted in PCI’s eLearning Center in the next few weeks for those who didn’t attend.

Revised Addendum to MNL 116-21 and MNL 117-13

PCI recently approved a revision to the QC manual addendum relating to ASTM A1081/A1081M Testing for Strand Bond. These revisions align the addendum with current TAC guidance and plant certification audit requirements. Addenda to the QC manuals are posted on the PCI website until such time as publishing schedules for new editions of the QC manuals allow. 

Personnel Certification Applications

PCI launched its new personnel Certification Management System (CMS) last November. The central hub for administering all certification activities, from initial certification application and uploading of documents through exam administration and issuing/accessing certifications is the Certification Dashboard, which is accessed via the Certification tab on PCI’s website. Paper applications are no longer accepted. PCI’s CMS Instructions contain detailed instructions on how to perform the various steps associated with the CMS processes.

FINAL REMINDER - Plant and Erector Certification Renewal for 2022-23

All Producers and erectors should have received an email with instructions on how to renew their certifications for 2022-23. These processes are very similar to last year. Completed forms were due by May 31. Failure to complete these processes before the certificates expire on June 30 will result in a lapse in certification status. For any questions regarding your plant’s certification status, please contact qualityprograms@pci.org.

FINAL REMINDER - Exceptional Precast Practices Deadline is July 1

The deadline for submitting completed Exceptional Precast Practices (EPP) Program surveys is July 1, 2022. 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 2022, 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: 5/11/2022

Webinar: MNL 116-21 Changes

A webinar summarizing the changes to MNL 116-21 has been scheduled for June 7, 2022, at 2:00 pm central. The PCI Education group will be emailing an announcement with registration details in the coming weeks.

Plant and Erector Certification Renewal for 2022-23

All producers and erectors should have received an email with instructions on how to renew their certifications for 2022-23. These processes are very similar to last year. Completed forms are to be submitted by May 31. Failure to complete these processes on time may result in a lapse in certification status. For any questions regarding your plant’s certification status, please contact qualityprograms@pci.org.

Project Surveys for Categories AA and AB

Effective July 1, producer plants certified in the AA and AB categories are required to submit project information to PCI that will facilitate a PCI-distributed survey to the architect and GC/CM upon completion of a project. This requirement applies to all completed projects that are specified as category AA or AB with more than 5000 ft2 (465 m2) of wall panel area.

The Architectural Certification Program Supplemental Requirements describes a paper process for submitting this project information. An online survey system is currently being completed and will be available prior to July 1. This survey will be available through the PCI website. Further information will be provided directly to the AA and AB-certified plants when the software testing process has been completed.

Baseline for Key Feature Points for Recertification

Plants with certification in the architectural group are required to demonstrate continued capability in their certification category by achieving a minimum number of key feature points every two years. The Architectural Certification Subcommittee recently discussed options for how this would be implemented and decided to use a rolling two-year period, based upon the last four audit cycles (semi-annual).

The key features to be demonstrated for each category are listed in the respective chapters of the Architectural Certification Program Supplemental Requirements. During the opening meeting for each audit, the auditor will be discussing current plant production and architectural products in storage, so that the auditor can be aware of the products available for review. The points to be awarded will be discussed during the closing meeting and any questions concerning points can be resolved while the auditor is still on site.

Points will be tracked on a rolling basis rather than for a fixed, defined period. This ensures that plants will have four opportunities to demonstrate the required points, as the regular audits are conducted at approximately 6-month intervals. Special audits, such as those conducted for category changes, etc., are not counted as part of the four audits, although a plant could get points if eligible product was observed during one of these audits

It should be noted that the tracking of points began with audits conducted on October 1, 2021, when the new categories were implemented. Although the auditors were reviewing products and discussing possible points with plant personnel before that date, these discussions were for the purpose of educating plant staff and refining the point tracking system.

Plants that are short of points as their two-year mark is approaching can construct a mockup panel of their own design with appropriate key features to demonstrate their continued capabilities and earn the necessary points. Drawings for these panels must be submitted and approved in advance, as in the process used for the original mockup panels.

T. Henry Clark Award – Last Call for 2022 Nominations

Nominations for the T. Henry Clark Award, to be presented during 2022 PCI Committee Days, must be submitted to qualityprograms@pci.org by June 1, 2022. The T. Henry Clark Award nomination form is available here.

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.

Exceptional Precast Practices Deadline is July 1

The deadline for submitting completed Exceptional Precast Practices (EPP) Program surveys is July 1, 2022. This voluntary program is 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 2022, completed forms must be returned to PCI by July 1.

PCI Certification Statement for Industry

Although the new architectural certification program categories were effective October 1, 2021, architectural producers report that industry continues to specify category A1 certification for many new projects. In addition to the other resources that have been provided on PCI’s website that are intended to inform and educate specifiers about these changes, a Certification Statement for Industry has been added.

The Certification Statement for Industry serves as a general notice on PCI letterhead informing a specifier about the changes in architectural categories and provides a variety of contacts if they have additional questions. The Statement is intended to serve as an official notice from PCI to reinforce a producer’s communication to a specifier during the bidding process or in a post-bid request for information or qualification submittal.

Suggestions

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

Posted: 3/16/2022

Quality Talks Series 2 Now Available in Spanish

Series 2 of PCI’s Quality Talks has been translated into Spanish and is now available on the PCI website. Like the safety talks used by many companies in the construction industry, these quality talks provide precast concrete plant personnel a few moments to reflect on the right ways of doing things from a quality perspective. These talks cover a wide range of quality-control-related topics and production best practices that serve as a resource to producers as they work to continually improve the culture of quality at their production facilities.

T. Henry Clark Award Nominations Due June 1

Nominations for the T. Henry Clark Award, to be presented during 2022 PCI Committee Days, must be submitted to qualityprograms@pci.org by June 1, 2022.

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.

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.

Structural Grouting of Load-bearing Precast Concrete Elements: Issues and Solutions

The January-February 2022 issue of the PCI Journal includes a white paper from the PCI Erectors Committee on Structural Grouting of Load-bearing Precast Concrete Elements: Issues and Solutions. The purpose of the white paper is to continue to raise construction industry awareness regarding structural grouting of precast concrete projects. The white paper includes a grout quality assurance/quality control checklist and a one-page field grout checklist.

MNL 116-21 (Fifth Edition) Implemented January 1

Implementation of the new MNL 116-21 (Fifth Edition) requirements became effective January 1, 2022. MNL 116-21 is now available in the PCI Bookstore in either a PDF or printed format. A complimentary PDF copy of the new manual was provided to the authorized audit contacts at all plants last July. A presentation outlining the changes is in the committee approval process and is expected to be available in April, which will also be posted on the PCI website. Watch for details about this presentation in My PCI Update, the monthly Education newsletter, and in this certification newsletter.

Suggestions

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

Posted: 3/16/2022

MNL 116-21 (Fifth Edition) Implemented January 1

Implementation of the new MNL 116-21 (Fifth Edition) requirements became effective January 1, 2022. MNL 116-21 is now available in the PCI Bookstore in either a PDF or printed format. A complimentary PDF copy of the new manual was provided to the authorized audit contacts at all plants last July. A presentation outlining the changes is in the committee approval process and is expected to be available in March, which will also be posted on the PCI website. Watch for details about this presentation in My PCI Update, the monthly Education newsletter, and in this certification newsletter.

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 2021 are to be submitted no later than January 15, 2022. If 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

Change in Category AC Mixer Requirements Approved

The Plant Certification Committee recently approved a change in the batching operation requirements for category AC. Previously, concrete face mixtures for category AC-certified plants were required to be plant-batched and mixed; no truck mixing was allowed. With these approved changes, truck mixing of face mixtures is allowed, subject to certain conditions. These were recently posted on the PCI website.

Review the Changes

New PCI CMS Launched

PCI launched its new personnel Certification Management System (CMS) in November, which replaced our prior paper-based system. The PCI CMS is the online system through which all certification activities are administered, from initial application and uploading of documents through exam administration and issuing of certifications. The central hub for accessing these functions and information is the certification dashboard, which also allows an individual to access their unique information.

Concurrent with launching the new PCI CMS, the personnel certification section of the PCI website has been enhanced and greatly expanded. Users will find easier access to the information they need for certification as well as instructions for use of the new CMS.

The goals of the new CMS are to provide easier access to all aspects of the personnel certification system, to streamline processes, and to eliminate the need for paper, including paper exams. This is a major change to the methods we have used for many years, and it will take some time for everyone to become comfortable with them. Please be patient.

The next phase of the CMS will include online CFA and CCA exams, which are currently being developed, as well as certification expiration reminders and a method for online verification of certification status. Planning for this phase is already underway, with implementation planned for 2022.

Suggestions

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

Posted: 11/10/2021

New PCI CMS Launched

PCI launched its new personnel Certification Management System (CMS) on November 9. The PCI CMS is the online system through which all certification activities will now be administered, from initial application and uploading of documents through exam administration and issuing of certifications. The central hub for accessing these functions and information is the certification dashboard, which also allows an individual to access their unique information.

Concurrent with launching the new PCI CMS, the personnel certification section of the PCI website has been enhanced and greatly expanded. Users should find easier access to the information they need for certification as well as instructions for use of the new CMS.

The goals of the new CMS are to provide easier access to all aspects of the personnel certification system, to streamline processes, and to eliminate the need for paper, including paper exams. This will be a major change to the methods we have used for many years, and it will take some time for everyone to become comfortable with them. Please be patient.

The next phase of the CMS will include online CFA and CCA exams, which are currently being developed, as well as certification expiration reminders and a method for online verification of certification status, Planning for this phase is already underway, with implementation planned for 2022.

Initial AC157 Accreditation

Redondo Manufacturing in Converse, Texas, recently became the first PCI-certified plant to be accredited to International Accreditation Service (IAS) AC157 “Accreditation Criteria for Fabricator Inspection Programs for Reinforced and Precast/Prestressed Concrete” under PCI’s bilateral agreement with IAS.

Section 1704 of the 2021 International Building Code states that special inspections are required of fabricated structural, load-bearing members unless an approved fabricator is used. Section 1704.2.5.1 states that ”Approval shall be based on review of the fabricator’s written fabrication procedures and quality control manuals that provide a basis for control of materials and workmanship, with periodic auditing of fabrication and quality control practices by an approved agency or the building official.”

AC157 accreditation provides a mechanism to become an approved fabricator without requiring approval of the building official on each project. Through PCI’s agreement with IAS, AC157 accreditation is available to PCI-certified plants for about half of the cost of going through IAS directly and without substantial additional requirements. The process includes completing an application and a cross-reference checklist of the quality system manual to AC157 requirements and submitting the required IAS fee. Minor revisions to the quality system manual will be required to incorporate specific IAS program references.

AC157 also requires two 2-day audits, so additional audit fees may be necessary for plants receiving 1-day audits. More information and an application is available at IAS AC157 Approved Fabricator Accreditation.

The Audit Score

The numerical scores used to grade PCI plant certification audits occasionally raise questions from participants. A new paper, The Audit Score, has been posted on the PCI website. This paper clarifies the significance of the numerical scores and will hopefully eliminate misunderstandings about them.

MNL 116-21 (Fifth Edition) to be Implemented January 1

MNL 116-21 (Fifth Edition) has been released and is now available in the PCI Bookstore in either a PDF or printed format. A complimentary PDF copy of the new manual was provided to the authorized audit contacts at all plants in July. Implementation of the new requirements will be effective January 1, 2022. Watch for details about these changes, including a webinar, in My PCI Update, the monthly Education newsletter, and in this certification newsletter.

QSM Updates for ISO 9001:2015 Requirements

Several plants have expressed concerns regarding QSM reviews indicating that their previously approved QSM does not meet ISO 9001:2015 requirements. These issues have typically been encountered during an audit or when minor updates are made to one section of the QSM, but deficiencies are noted in other sections during the QSM review and approval process. These issues can be understandably frustrating and have resulted from several causes.

These causes include:

  1. The current revision of QSM-1, Preparation Guidelines for a Quality System Manual of a PCI-certified Plant, was issued in April 2018 and a compliance deadline of 6/30/19 was established. In spite of the extended implementation period, well over half of the certified plants submitted their QSM for review within the next 2 months, causing a large backlog. Unfortunately, some of the reviews were apparently not as thorough as they could have been during this initial review period.
  2. As with any new task, repetition improves proficiency. While the QSM reviewers were trained in the new QSM requirements, they are now more proficient and detailed in their reviews than they were at the very beginning.
  3. Reviewers change. A second or third set of eyes may see something that the initial reviewer missed.

We apologize for these situations and continue to work to improve the quality of all services, including the QSM reviews. We appreciate your feedback and understanding.

Suggestions

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

Posted: 10/11/2021

New CMS to be Implemented

Implementation of the new personnel certification management system (CMS) is being planned for early November. The new system includes: online application, proctor registration, and proctored exam request processes; convenient links to the exam; and for successful candidates, access to their certificates. Look for more details in coming weeks!

The goals of the new CMS are to provide easier access to all aspects of the personnel certification system, to streamline processes, and to eliminate the need for paper, including paper exams. This will be a major change to the methods we have used for many years and it will take some time for everyone to become comfortable with them. Please be patient. Significant revisions to the website pages and development of user instructions are underway to help ease this transition.

Phase 1 of the CMS, the transition to online exams for level 1, 2, 3 as well as the GFRC QC Technician/inspector certifications, was implemented in November 2020. The Certified Field Auditor (CFA) and Certified Company Auditor (CCA) exams are being revised to be in multiple choice format and will be added to this process once they are completed.

Phase 3, which includes the online CFA and CCA exams, certification expiration reminders, and a method for online verification of certification status, will follow.

MNL 116-21 (Fifth Edition) to be Implemented January 1st

MNL 116-21 (Fifth Edition) has been released and is now available in the PCI Bookstore in either a PDF or printed format. A complimentary PDF copy of the new manual was provided to the authorized audit contacts at all plants in July. Implementation of the new requirements will be effective January 1, 2022. Watch for details about these changes, including a webinar, in My PCI Update, the monthly Education newsletter, and in this certification newsletter.

2021 T. Henry Clark Award Recipient – Carl L. Harris

Carl L. Harris was presented the T. Henry Clark Award at PCI’s awards luncheon during the PCI Committee Days in September.  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 recognizes those who create or promote quality in a way that would have made Henry proud.

Watch Award Video

Revisions to the PCI Plant Certification Program

Revisions to PCI Policy 20 (Plant Certification Program) were approved by PCI’s Board at their September meeting. A copy of the revised policy has been emailed to all certified and applicant plants

The Policy 20 revisions include the following:

  1. Section 20.2.1.2 was revised to clarify this provision applies to new clients with new locations.
  2. ISO 9001:2015 was relocated from section 20.6.2 to section 20.6.1. It is one of the program standards that is used during the evaluation of plants and needs to be listed in this section.
  3. Section 20.7.1 and the definition of Product Category were revised to reflect A1, CA and BA categories ending and the new categories that were implemented 10/1/21.
  4. Section/Table 20.8.8, section/Table 20.8.9 and section 20.8.13 were revised to show that NET fees not GROSS fees are used for determining the certification fee during the annual renewal and sales declaration process. Clarification was added in 20.8.13 to note that the term Net Fees is as defined by the Board in the sales declaration process and not in the traditional sense that a business might define net fees.

Specific questions about these changes can be directed to qualityprograms@pci.org.

AC157 (Approved Fabricator Accreditation) Update

PCI and IAS (International Accreditation Service) have a bilateral agreement that enables a PCI-certified plant to leverage their PCI certification toward accreditation by IAS as an approved structural fabricator, in accordance with the IAS AC 157 program. Information about this program can be found on the new IAS AC157 Approved Fabricator Accreditation page on PCI’s website. 

Under PCI’s agreement with IAS, the accreditation is issued by IAS and IAS retains all approval authority for the accreditations issued. PCI performs many of the administrative functions on behalf of IAS. All accreditation fees, program applications, audit reports, corrective action responses and other program documentation flow through PCI. Direct communication between the plant and IAS will be very limited. Once accredited to AC157, plants will see very little difference in their normal processes to maintain PCI certification.

Accreditation as an approved fabricator under the IAS program provides building owners, specifiers, engineers, and architects with the upmost confidence that the fabricator consistently demonstrates competency in manufacturing the highest-quality precast concrete for a wide variety of building and transportation projects. Accreditation also provides building departments with a means to register and approve fabricators.

The added benefit of approved fabricator accreditation differentiates PCI-certified plants from other suppliers and will allow PCI plants to demonstrate clear compliance with Section 1704 of the IBC. This will eliminate the need for continuous special inspection at the fabrication facility, potentially saving time and reducing project costs.

The Audit Score

The numerical scores used to grade PCI plant certification audits occasionally raise questions from participants. A new paper, The Audit Score, has been posted on the PCI website. This paper clarifies the significance of the numerical scores and will hopefully eliminate misunderstandings about them.

QSM Updates for ISO 9001:2015 Requirements

Several plants have recently expressed concerns regarding QSM reviews indicating that their previously approved QSM does not meet ISO 9001:2015 requirements.  These issues have typically been encountered during an audit or when minor updates are made to one section of the QSM, but deficiencies are noted in other sections during the QSM review and approval process. These issues can be understandably frustrating and have resulted from several causes. 

These causes include:

  1. The current revision of QSM-1, Preparation Guidelines for a Quality System Manual of a PCI-certified Plant, was issued in April 2018 and a compliance deadline of 6/30/19 was established. In spite of the extended implementation period, well over half of the certified plants submitted their QSM for review within the next 2 months, causing a large backlog. Unfortunately, some of the reviews were apparently not as thorough as they could have been during this initial review period.
  2. As with any new task, repetition improves proficiency. While the QSM reviewers were trained in the new QSM requirements, they are now more proficient and detailed in their reviews than they were at the very beginning.
  3. Reviewers change. A second or third set of eyes may see something that the initial reviewer missed.

We apologize for these situations and continue to work to improve the quality of all services, including the QSM reviews. Your feedback and understanding are both appreciated.

Suggestions

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

New Architectural Categories Effective October 1

A major step in the transition to the new architectural certification categories occurs on October 1 when the new categories become effective. Work continues in advance of that implementation date.

Plant audits for the new categories will continue up to the deadline and beyond, as we work to visit as many plants as possible. Of particular concern are those plants hit hardest by COVID travel restrictions over the last year plus.

PCI staff will begin processing the revised certificates and making them available through the PCI website beginning the week of September 13th. These certificates will have an October 1 effective date. It will take a week or two to update all producer records, but the certificates will all be available ahead of the October 1 transition date. Priority will be to issuing the new certificates for the plants that have met the requirements for a new category. The process of revising the certificates for those plants that chose not to continue their architectural category will follow. The certificates for plants that still have audits where conformance to the requirements is being assessed will be updated as the results of the audits become available.

Certification Management System Update

Phase 2 of the new personnel certification management system (CMS) is almost complete. Testing of the system and the requested programming changes have been completed. Work on revised website pages and user instructions is underway.

The goals of the new CMS are to provide easier access to all aspects of the personnel certification system, streamlining processes, and eliminating the need for paper, including paper exams. Phase 2 consists of online application, proctor registration, and proctored exam request processes, convenient links to the exam, and for successful candidates, access to their certificates.

Phase 1 of the CMS, the transition to online exams for level 1, 2, 3 as well as the GFRC QC Technician/inspector certifications, was implemented in November 2020. The Certified Field Auditor (CFA) and Certified Company Auditor (CCA) exams are being revised to be in multiple choice format and will be added to this process once they are completed.

Phase 3, which includes the online CFA and CCA exams, certification expiration reminders, and a method for online verification of certification status, will follow.

2021 Quality Summit and Tour Registration is Open

Registration for the 2021 PCI Productivity Tour and Quality Summit is now open on The Tour 2021 website. This year’s Quality Summit will include a wide variety of topics intended to support the quality improvement initiatives of PCI producers.

This year’s presentations include:

  • Placement and Consolidation of Conventional and High Flow Concrete
        Speaker: Paul Ramsburg, FPCI, LPCI, L3, District Manager, Sika Corporation
  • Lifter System Safety
        Speaker: David Jablonsky, PE, FPCI, Executive Vice President, ALP Supply
  • Air Content of Plastic and Hardened Concrete
        Speaker: Benjamin Cota, Precast Specialist, GCP Applied Technologies
  • PCI Quality Talks
        Speaker: Paul Ramsburg, FPCI, LPCI, L3
  • Round Table Discussion on Quality Issues

More information on these presentations is available on The Tour 2021 website.

Erector Service Area in Certified Erector Directory

Most PCI-certified erectors install precast for projects in a service area that extends well beyond the state where their office is located. To assist potential clients in locating PCI-certified erectors for projects in their area, a “States Serviced” field has been added to the directory of certified erectors. Erectors are reminded to verify that the states reflected in their listing are current. Any changes should be sent to Qualityprograms@pci.org

MNL 116-21 (Fifth Edition) Released

MNL 116-21 (Fifth Edition) has been released and is now available in the PCI Bookstore in either a PDF or printed format. A complimentary PDF copy of the new manual was provided to the authorized audit contacts at all plants in July. Implementation of the new requirements will be effective in in 2022. Watch for details about these changes, including a webinar, in My PCI Update, the monthly Education newsletter, and in this certification newsletter.

Suggestions

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

Posted: 7/15/2021

MNL 116-21 (Fifth Edition) Released

MNL 116-21 (Fifth Edition) has been released and is now available in the PCI Bookstore in either a PDF or printed format. A complimentary PDF copy of the new manual will be provided to the authorized audit contacts at all plants in July. Implementation of the new requirements is effective January 1, 2022.

In advance of the January 2022 implementation, information describing the changes in the Fifth Edition will be provided to certified plants and other stakeholders through various publications and newsletters. A webinar outlining the changes is planned for late September – watch for details in My PCI Update, the monthly Education newsletter, and in this certification newsletter.

Revisions to the PCI Erector Certification Program

Revisions to PCI Policy 29 (Erector Certification Program) were approved by PCI’s Board at its June meeting. A copy of the revised policy has been emailed to all certified and applicant erectors.

The Policy 29 revisions fall generally into the following groups:

  1. Removal of Erector membership requirements and substituting reference to PCI Policy 14 on Membership.
  2. General maintenance items and minor reorganization, such as grouping client requirements into a single section. These generally clarify existing practices and procedures.
  3. Proposed new requirements to existing sections. See especially sections 29.5.1.5, 29.8.2.3.1, 29.9.9, 29.10.2, and 29.10.9.
  4. Sections 29.14 to 29.18 were added.
  5. Several definitions were added or clarified.
  6. Attachment 2, the Erectors Post Audit Declaration was removed from the policy, as forms should not be in the Policy.

Direct specific questions about these changes to qualityprograms@pci.org.

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 2021 were to be submitted no later than July 15. If 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.  

3-Month Certificates for PCI-Certified Architectural Plants

Several PCI-certified architectural plants have contacted the Certification Department upon receipt of their new certificates issued effective July 1, 2021. They noted the September 30, 2021, expiration date and were questioning why the certificate was not effective for a full year. Some questioned why their new architectural category was not reflected on the certificate.

PCI-certified plants should be aware of the following:

1.     Renewal certificates issued effective July 1, 2021, still reflect the current categories. The certificates for plants with architectural group certification are 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. This lapse in group certification will last until all requirements for a new category are met. 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.

Accessing Plant and Erector Certificates

The 2021-22 certificates for PCI-certified plants and erectors are available online via 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. Use this button to access your certificate. If you have trouble retrieving your certificate(s), please email QualityPrograms@pci.org for assistance.

New Certificate Template for Certified Plants

PCI-certified plants will notice some changes to their plant certificates beginning in July 2021. During PCI’s recent audit of the plant certification program by the International Accreditation Service, IAS required several changes to the template PCI uses for its certificate. The most recognizable change is the separate listing of dates for certification to the two standards.

The PCI Policy 20 certification is an annual certification and the ISO 9001:2015 certification is a three-year certification with an annual renewal. These dates are now presented in separate columns, and the expiration dates reflect the different lengths of the certification. 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.

Suggestions

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

Posted: 6/22/2021

FINAL REMINDER!! - Certified Plant and Certified Erector Renewals

All PCI plant and erector certifications will expire June 30, 2021.  The deadline for all PCI-certified plants and certified erectors to return their annual renewal documentation was May 31, 2021. Failure to complete the renewal process by June 30 will result in a lapse of certification. 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.

For certified plants, the renewal information includes returning the signed agreements and completion of the online sales declarations. Certified erectors need to submit their signed agreements and complete the online certification and membership renewal form. Questions about renewal status should be directed to qualityprograms@pci.org.

FINAL REMINDER!! - 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.

Audit Update – Architectural Certification Program

The schedule for the next plant audit cycle (July to December) has been completed, and notification of assigned audit windows is being provided to architectural program producers who have not successfully completed the assessment of their mockup panels to the new program requirements. The schedule has prioritized architectural plants that have not yet met the requirements for the new categories, especially those that were not able to have onsite audits during previous audit cycle(s) due to COVID restrictions.    

PCI-certified plants should be aware of the following:

1.     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).

2.     Plants that have not met the requirements for the new categories by 10/1/21 will not have certification in the architectural group after that date. This lapse in group certification will last until all requirements are met. 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.

QSM Updates for ISO 9001:2015 Requirements

Several plants have recently expressed concerns regarding QSM reviews indicating that their previously approved QSM does not meet ISO 9001:2015 requirements.  These issues have typically been encountered during an audit or when minor updates are made to one section of the QSM, but deficiencies are noted in other sections during the QSM review and approval process. These issues can be understandably frustrating to the plant and have resulted from several causes.

These causes include:

1.     The current revision of QSM-1, Preparation Guidelines for a Quality System Manual of a PCI-certified Plant, was issued in April 2018 and a compliance deadline of 6/30/19 was established. In spite of the extended implementation period, well over half of the certified plants submitted their QSM for review within the next 2 months, causing a large backlog. Unfortunately, some of the reviews were apparently not as thorough as they could have been during this initial review period.

2.     As with any new task, repetition improves proficiency. While the QSM reviewers were trained in the new QSM requirements, they are now more proficient and detailed in their reviews than they were at the very beginning.

3.     No one review is exhaustive.  As a QSM is reviewed during audits and revision submissions, a subsequent reviewer may see something that previous reviewers missed.

We apologize for these situations and continue to work to improve the quality of all services, including the QSM reviews. Your feedback and understanding are both appreciated.

New Certificate Template for Certified Plants

There are some changes to the plant certificate for 2021. During PCI’s 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.

Suggestions

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

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.