Online Mix Design Training Course is July 10 and 11

PCI’s Precast Concrete Mix Design training program will be offered online on July 10 and 11. While this training is beneficial for all plants, it can be especially beneficial to plants in meeting the personnel requirements for architectural categories AA and AB.

Plants certified in categories AA and AB are required to have a

  1. Level III or
  2. Level II (Level I if they do not make prestressed products) and an individual who has a PCI Mix Design Training course certificate.

The link to the information and to register is here.

This course is specific to the needs of the precast, prestressed concrete industry. Good control of concrete mix design is crucial to producing quality precast structures. It is important for precast industry professionals, production facility technical personnel, design consultants, and department of transportation materials departments to have an understanding of concrete mix design.

This series is intended to train someone with a basic understanding of concrete so that they can create a concrete mix design or evaluate the suitability of a mix for specific applications. During this series participants will explore the mathematics and chemistry behind creating an absolute volume mix design, and how the proper raw materials, sequencing, and production processes can yield high quality concrete consistently. Participants will also learn to troubleshoot common mistakes in typical precast mix designs and how to avoid them, as well as adjust concrete mixes to compensate for negative external influences.

REMINDER – May 31 Deadline for Plant and Erector Certification Renewal

All producers and erectors should have received an email with instructions on how to renew their certifications for 2024-25. These processes are very similar to last year. Completed forms are 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.

T. Henry Clark Award Nominations Due June 1

Nominations for the T. Henry Clark Award, to be presented during 2024 PCI Committee Days, must be submitted to qualityprograms@pci.org by June 1, 2024. The nomination form can be found 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 qualityprograms@pci.org.

Exceptional Precast Practices Deadline is July 1

The deadline for submitting completed Exceptional Precast Practices (EPP) Program surveys is July 1, 2024. 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 2024, completed forms must be returned to PCI by July 1.

Suggestions

Please forward suggestions for future quality-related articles for this newsletter to qualityprograms@pci.org.

Clarification of Required Points for Architectural Category Certification Renewal

This memorandum is being sent to all Group A, Architectural Precast, PCI Certified plants and serves as a clarification to the recertification process. 

Section 1.3.2 of the PCI Architectural Certification Program Supplemental Requirements (requirements) requires that certified plants continue to demonstrate their capability to produce products in their category using plant production or mockup panels containing certain key features. These key features are further described in sections 2 to 5, as appropriate for the plant’s certification category. After initial certification, a minimum number of key feature points must be demonstrated on a rolling four consecutive audit basis to maintain certification. Points recorded during each audit are presented to the plant by the auditor at the conclusion of each audit and summarized on an Architectural Certification Maintenance Checklist included with each audit report.

The minimum number of key feature points must be demonstrated by the 2024 Surveillance audits occurring between January 1, 2024, and June 30, 2024. Nine of 15 points are required to maintain AA or AB certification. Six of eight points are required to maintain AC certification, and three of four points are required to maintain AD certification. 

Having insufficient points does not result in withdrawal of certification in the architectural group.

If insufficient points are reported after the 2024 Surveillance Audit conducted from January to June, the plant’s audit documents will be systematically provided to the Architectural Certification Review Board (ACRB) as described in Figure 1 on page 1-9 of the Architectural Certification Program Supplemental Requirements. Certification in the current category is maintained pending completion of the ACRB review and potential appeals process.

The ACRB, as required by the requirements will provide one or more of the following recommendations:

  1. Recommendation for certification in the requested category.
  2. Recommendation for a plant reaudit, project evaluation or both.
  3. Recommendation for a plant certification in an alternative category.

Proactively, a plant has several available options. Including but not limited to the following:

  1. Take no further action and allow the audit, review, and appeals process to proceed.
  2. Make available for auditor review production panels that provide the required additional key feature points during your next regular audit.
    1. If the January to June audit has occurred, the review will take place during a special evaluation audit that will need to be requested by the plant.
  3. Submit drawings and the associated concrete mix designs for new mockup panels that provide the required additional key feature points and that can be constructed for review by the auditor during the next regular audit.
    1. If the January to June audit has occurred, the review will take place during a special evaluation audit that will need to be requested by the plant.
  4. Request a change in architectural certification category that better aligns with the type of products currently being produced by the plant.

If you have any questions or concerns do not hesitate to contact PCI at QualityPrograms@pci.org.

Deadline for Plant and Erector Certification Renewal is May 31

All producers and erectors should have received an email with instructions on how to renew their certifications for 2024-25. These processes are very similar to last year. Completed forms are 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.

T. Henry Clark Award Nominations Due June 1

Nominations for the T. Henry Clark Award, to be presented during 2024 PCI Committee Days, must be submitted to qualityprograms@pci.org by June 1, 2024. The nomination form can be found at the link below:

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 qualityprograms@pci.org

Exceptional Precast Practices Deadline is July 1

The deadline for submitting completed Exceptional Precast Practices (EPP) Program surveys is July 1, 2024. 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 2024, completed forms must be returned to PCI by July 1.

Suggestions

Please forward suggestions for future quality-related articles for this newsletter to qualityprograms@pci.org.

 

Clarification of Required Points for Architectural Category Certification Renewal

This memorandum is being sent to all Group A, Architectural Precast, PCI Certified plants and serves as a clarification to the recertification process. 

Section 1.3.2 of the PCI Architectural Certification Program Supplemental Requirements (requirements) requires that certified plants continue to demonstrate their capability to produce products in their category using plant production or mockup panels containing certain key features. These key features are further described in sections 2 to 5, as appropriate for the plant’s certification category. After initial certification, a minimum number of key feature points must be demonstrated on a rolling four consecutive audit basis to maintain certification. Points recorded during each audit are presented to the plant by the auditor at the conclusion of each audit and summarized on an Architectural Certification Maintenance Checklist included with each audit report.

The minimum number of key feature points must be demonstrated by the 2024 Surveillance audits occurring between January 1, 2024, and June 30, 2024. Nine of 15 points are required to maintain AA or AB certification. Six of 8 points are required to maintain AC certification, and three of four points are required to maintain AD certification. 

Having insufficient points does not result in withdrawal of certification in the architectural group.

If insufficient points are reported after the 2024 Surveillance Audit conducted from January to June, the plant’s audit documents will be systematically provided to the Architectural Certification Review Board (ACRB) as described in Figure 1 on page 1-9 of the Architectural Certification Program Supplemental Requirements. Certification in the current category is maintained pending completion of the ACRB review and potential appeals process.

The ACRB, as required by the requirements will provide one or more of the following recommendations:

  1. Recommendation for certification in the requested category.
  2. Recommendation for a plant reaudit, project evaluation or both.
  3. Recommendation for a plant certification in an alternative category.

Proactively, a plant has several available options. Including but not limited to the following:

  1. Take no further action and allow the audit, review, and appeals process to proceed.
  2. Make available for auditor review production panels that provide the required additional key feature points during your next regular audit.
    • If the January to June audit has occurred, the review will take place during a special evaluation audit that will need to be requested by the plant.
  3. Submit drawings and the associated concrete mix designs for new mockup panels that provide the required additional key feature points and that can be constructed for review by the auditor during the next regular audit.
    • If the January to June audit has occurred, the review will take place during a special evaluation audit that will need to be requested by the plant.
  4. Request a change in architectural certification category that better aligns with the type of products currently being produced by the plant.

If you have any questions or concerns do not hesitate to contact PCI at QualityPrograms@pci.org.

Updated Field Quality Audit Report Form Issued

The Field Quality Audit Report (FQAR) and Erectors Post-Audit Declaration (EPAD) forms were updated back in November 2023 and are to be used for all erector field audits. It was brought to our attention that the fillable form had issues when importing into Bluebeam Revu and has now been corrected.

The updated FQAR and EPAD forms are now available on the PCI website. Although the use of the new forms is effective immediately, it is understood that there are some field audits currently in process and it will also take some time for everyone to become aware of the change.

FQARs and EPADs submitted on the old forms will be accepted by PCI until June 30, 2024. Prior revisions of the forms will no longer be accepted for field audits performed July 1, 2024, and thereafter.  

As a reminder, FQARs and EPADs should be emailed to audit@pci.org. Hard copies are not required. Please direct any questions to Qualityprograms@pci.org.

T. Henry Clark Award Nominations Due June 1

Nominations for the T. Henry Clark Award, to be presented during 2024 PCI Committee Days, must be submitted to qualityprograms@pci.org by June 1, 2024. The nomination form can be found 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 qualityprograms@pci.org

Suggestions

Please forward suggestions for future quality-related articles for this newsletter to qualityprograms@pci.org.

Key Feature Points for Architectural 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. This will be administered using a rolling two-year period, based upon the last four regular audit cycles (semi-annual), after the initial two-year certification period.

Points are tracked on a rolling basis rather than for a fixed, defined period, after the initial two-year certification 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 an eligible product was observed during one of these special audits.

Depending upon the timing of their audits and when the initial certification was issued, a plant may not have their fourth audit until after the two-year anniversary of their initial certification date in the new architectural category. It is also possible that a plant may have four or even five audits, depending upon the timing. In any case, the certification will continue through the four regular audits or two years from the date of initial certification, whichever occurs later. For most PCI plants with certification in the architectural group, their initial certification date in the new categories was October 1, 2021.

The key features to be demonstrated for each category are listed in the respective chapters of the Architectural Certification Program Supplemental Requirements. Of course, the preferred way to get the points is to be able to show products in production or storage that have the required features. Plants that are short of points as their two-year mark is approaching and do not expect to have production that will provide the required points can construct one or more mockup panels. There are two options for mockup panels:

Construct one or more of the mockup panels fabricated for initial certification, as shown in the Architectural Certification Program Supplemental Requirements, for the plant’s certification category.

Construct a mockup panel of the plant’s own design with appropriate key features to demonstrate their continued capabilities and earn the necessary points.

In either case, the drawings and mix designs for the mockup panel must be submitted for review well in advance of when the panel will be constructed, just as was required with initial category certification. This will allow time for review, to ensure the panel meets the eligibility criteria and would provide the necessary points.

T. Henry Clark Award Nominations Due June 1

Nominations for the T. Henry Clark Award, to be presented during 2024 PCI Committee Days, must be submitted to qualityprograms@pci.org by June 1, 2024. The nomination form can be found here.

The T. Henry Clark Award recognizes 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 qualityprograms@pci.org

Scheduling of Proctored PCI Certification Exams

Scheduling proctored PCI certification exams is solely the responsibility of the certification candidate. A proctored exam request should not be submitted until the candidate has contacted the individual who will proctor the exam and agreed upon all arrangements for the exam. PCI staff does not coordinate the exam arrangements for the candidate, nor does PCI pay any fees the proctor may charge.

Although it is possible to schedule and take a certification exam prior to applying for certification, candidates are strongly encouraged to complete the certification application first.

To apply for certification, log into the PCI certification management system (CMS) and click on the applicable certification tile on the certification dashboard. The application can then be accessed by clicking on the ‘apply’ button. Complete the application sections: Personal Information; Education, Experience and Endorsement; ACI Certification Information and upload any required documents.

To arrange a certification exam session with an approved proctor, complete the online Proctored Exam Request form. Before submitting the request in the CMS, be sure to have finalized all arrangements with a PCI-approved proctor. This request must be submitted in the CMS no less than two weeks before the planned exam date.

Successfully completing the certification exam is, of course, a prerequisite for PCI personnel certification. However, certification cannot be granted without also completing the certification application. Please visit the CMS Instructions on the PCI website or contact qualityprograms@pci.org with any questions.

Suggestions

Please forward suggestions for future quality-related articles for this newsletter to qualityprograms@pci.org.

Reminder - Erector Field Quality Audits Due Today

PCI Policy 29, Erector Certification Program, requires that certified erectors submit a Field Quality Audit Report and an Erectors Post-Audit Declaration (EPAD) 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 2023 are due no later than January 15, 2024.

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. 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. 

New Addendum to MNL 116-21 

An addendum has been approved to the MNL 116-21 requirements for thermal corrections to elongation calculations and the applied force during stressing.  

PCI recently approved a revision to QC manual MNL 116-21. These changes are in sections 5.3.10 and 5.3.11, as well as the associated commentary. The current wording in these sections requires plants to know or monitor the concrete temperature at initial set and use this temperature for the tensioning corrections.

The revisions to these sections have reinstated the use of the concrete temperature at the time of placement, which has historically been used successfully. The addendum also notes that some plants use self-stressing beds with forms independent of the bed and that temperature corrections should be considered for this type of setup and not ignored as they would be in typical self-stressing beds. 

Approved Addenda to the QC manuals are posted on the PCI website for PDF download through this link: MNL 116 and 117 Addenda until such time as publishing schedules for new editions of the QC manuals allow. 

Plants with Reduced Production Schedules 

Plants working less than a five-day week are requested to inform PCI, so that audits are not scheduled on these non-workdays. 

We have recently noted several plants working less than a five-day work week, often with the plant being closed on Friday. Unfortunately, in a couple cases, this was not observed until the auditor arrived at the plant. This causes potential issues with the audit schedules since multiple plants are scheduled to be audited during a single trip. Additionally, we are required to perform a minimum number of audit days at each plant per year, in accordance with our IAS accreditation requirements and our plant certification program. 

Obviously, we do not want to schedule a plant audit for days when a plant is closed. If we are aware of plant closures in advance, it is often possible to shuffle the schedule during an audit trip to avoid these closures. Plants are requested to notify PCI at audit@pci.org if their work schedule is other than a five-day work week, even for a defined period. Additionally, plants are requested to inform PCI they observe federal, state, or local holidays other than the normal six major holidays, so that we can avoid these as well. 

Project Surveys for Categories AA and AB 

Effective July 1, 2023, 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. Concurrent with implementing this requirement, Category AA and AB plants will be invoiced $3,000 for the annual surcharge for these surveys, as described in the Architectural Certification Program Supplemental Requirements. 

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 to designated plant staff through the PCI website. Further information will be provided directly to the AA and AB-certified plants when the software access has been completed. 

As described in the Supplemental Requirements, the Category AA and AB surcharge is intended to cover the cost of implementing and administering the project survey program. These costs will be reviewed on an annual basis and the surcharge adjusted accordingly. 

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. Concurrent with implementing this requirement, Category AA and AB plants will be invoiced $3,000 for the annual surcharge for these surveys, as described in the Architectural Certification Program Supplemental Requirements.

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 to designated plant staff through the PCI website. Further information will be provided directly to the AA and AB-certified plants when the software access has been completed.

As described in the Supplemental Requirements, the Category AA and AB surcharge is intended to cover the cost of implementing and administering the project survey program. These costs will be reviewed on an annual basis and the surcharge adjusted accordingly.

Key Feature Points for Architectural 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. This will be administered using a rolling two-year period, based upon the last four regular audit cycles (semi-annual), after the initial two-year certification period.

Points are tracked on a rolling basis rather than for a fixed, defined period, after the initial two-year certification period. This ensures that plants will have four opportunities to demonstrate the required points, as the regular audits are conducted at approximately six-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 an eligible product was observed during one of these special audits.

Depending upon the timing of their audits and when the initial certification was issued, a plant may not have their fourth audit until after the two-year anniversary of their initial certification date. It is also possible that a plant may have four or even five audits, depending upon the timing. In any case, the certification will continue through the four regular audits or two years from the date of initial certification, whichever occurs later.

The key features to be demonstrated for each category are listed in the respective chapters of the Architectural Certification Program Supplemental Requirements. Of course, the preferred way to get the points is to be able to show products in production or storage that have the required features. Plants that are short of points as their two-year mark is approaching and do not expect to have production that will provide the required points can construct one or more mockup panels. There are two options for mockup panels:

  1. Construct one or more of the mockup panels fabricated for initial certification, as shown in the Architectural Certification Program Supplemental Requirements, for the plant’s certification category.
  2. Construct a mockup panel of the plant’s own design with appropriate key features to demonstrate their continued capabilities and earn the necessary points.

In either case, the drawings and mix designs for the mockup panel must be submitted for review well in advance of when the panel will be constructed, just as was required with initial category certification. This will allow time for review, to ensure the panel meets the eligibility criteria and would provide the necessary points. 

Scheduled Plant Closings

PCI-certified plants generally observe the six major national holidays, and no audits are scheduled on these dates or, as with Christmas and New Years, the few days around those holidays. Observance of the other federal holidays varies widely. Obviously, we do not want to schedule a plant audit for days when the plant is closed. Plants are requested to notify PCI at audit@pci.org if there are other federal, state, or local holidays that are observed by the plant, so that we can avoid these. This also includes other periods of plant closure.

Suggestions

Please forward suggestions for future quality-related articles for this newsletter to qualityprograms@pci.org.

New Managing Director of Quality Programs

PCI welcomes Jacques Cattan as its new Managing Director, Quality Programs. Jacques will oversee PCI’s quality programs, including certification activities for precast concrete plants, erectors, and personnel.  

“I am very excited to join the PCI quality programs family and I look forward to using my diverse background in the AEC community, as well as standards development organizations, to contribute to the precast, prestressed concrete Body of Knowledge.”  Click here for the full PCI press release.

Jacques will replace Mike Kesselmayer, who will retire from the same position at the end of 2023. Jacques’ contact information is jcattan@pci.org, Cell Number: 773-456-9503; Direct Number (effective Dec. 1, 2023: 312-583-6770.

Maintaining Current Contact Information for Certified Personnel

Certified personnel who do not maintain current contact information in PCI’s Certification Management System (CMS) can have trouble accessing their accounts and it can also lead to difficulty verifying certification.

Changes in employment usually lead to changes in an individual’s email address in PCI’s CMS. The CMS uses an individual’s email address to track application information, exam results, and certifications. As such, it is extremely important for certified individuals and candidates for certification to maintain current email addresses in the system. Not doing so can lead to duplicate accounts in the system, resulting in difficulty for PCI to verify certification or an individual’s inability to access their account.

Individuals with changes in their email address or changes in employer should update PCI staff at Qualityprograms@pci.org. This email address should also be used when encountering login issues or the inability to see current certifications in the CMS dashboard.

New Field Quality Audit Report Form Issued

The Field Quality Audit Report (FQAR) and Erectors Post-Audit Declaration (EPAD) forms have been updated and are to be used for all erector field audits. 

The new FQAR and EPAD forms are now available on the PCI website and their use is to be implemented immediately. Additionally, copies will be emailed to all CFAs and certified erectors, notifying them of the change.

Although the use of the new forms is effective immediately, it is understood that there are some field audits currently in process and it will also take some time for everyone to become aware of the change. Please note the following milestones:

  • November 2023 to May 1, 2024 – FQARs and EPADs submitted on the old forms will be accepted by PCI. CFAs and erectors submitting the old revisions of these forms will be reminded to use the new revisions and will be provided with links to both new forms.
  • May 1, 2024 – Full implementation of the new forms will be complete, and prior revisions of the forms will no longer be accepted.  

As a reminder, FQARs and EPADs should be emailed to audit@pci.org. Hard copies are not required. Please direct any questions to Qualityprograms@pci.org.

Gary Wildung Receives 2023 T. Henry Clark Award

Gary Wildung was presented the T. Henry Clark Award at PCI’s awards luncheon during PCI Committee Days in October. Watch Award Video.

The T. Henry Clark 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.

Gary is the former vice president and owner of FDG Inc. in Colorado, which he cofounded in 1990. Since retiring in 2018, he has continued to serve as the FDG-PCI liaison.

Gary has long been an important contributor to PCI’s committee work, particularly in the areas of quality assurance, safety, and certification. In addition to membership in multiple committees, he has chaired the Quality Activities Council and the Safeguarding Impartiality Committee, vice-chaired the Quality Enhancement Committee and served on PCI’s Board of Directors.

With more than 50 years of industry experience, Gary has been a strong advocate for involving producers and erectors in PCI’s work. He is widely praised by colleagues and peers for his vast expertise and his commitment to advancing both PCI and the precast concrete industry.

Update on Minimum Points Requirement for Architectural Category Recertification

At its PCI Committee Days meeting, the Architectural Certification Subcommittee approved a short delay in implementation of the requirement for meeting the initial recertification point threshold for the new architectural certification categories.

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. This is administered using a rolling two-year period, based upon the last four regular audit cycles (semi-annual), after the initial two-year certification period.

For most plants, the initial two-year certification period ended October 1, 2023, and plants that had received four regular audits by that date were required to have the minimum number of key feature points. A possible consequence of not meeting the point threshold either at the completion of the initial certification period or on a continuous basis thereafter is loss of architectural group certification.  

As the subcommittee reviewed the status of plants that had met the 2-year and 4-audit threshold, it was noted that a significant number of plants did not have the required points. The committee voted to extend the initial certification period through a plant’s first regular audit of 2024 (to occur from January to June). At that audit, points to be counted for recertification will include the plant’s last four rolling regular audits (previous three and the current) and any special audits/evaluations that occurred within that period. Following the initial certification period, plants will need to maintain the required minimum number of points on a rolling four regular audit basis to maintain certification in their category.

The key features to be demonstrated for each category are listed in the respective chapters of the Architectural Certification Program Supplemental Requirements. Of course, the preferred way to obtain the points is to be able to show products in production or storage that have the required features. Plants that are short of points and do not expect to have production that will provide the required points can construct one or more mockup panels. There are two options for mockup panels:

  1. Construct one or more of the mockup panels fabricated for initial certification, as shown in the Architectural Certification Program Supplemental Requirements, for the plant’s certification category.
  2. Construct a mockup panel of the plant’s own design with appropriate key features to demonstrate the plant’s continued capabilities and earn the necessary points.

In either case, the drawings and mix designs for the mockup panel must be submitted for review well in advance of when the panel will be constructed, just as was required with initial category certification. This will allow time for review, to ensure the panel meets the eligibility criteria and would provide the necessary points. 

Suggestions

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

Update on Minimum Points Requirement for Architectural Category Recertification

At its Committee Days meeting, the Architectural Certification Subcommittee approved a short delay in implementation of the requirement for meeting the initial recertification point threshold for the new architectural certification categories.

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. This is administered using a rolling two-year period, based upon the last four regular audit cycles (semi-annual), after the initial two-year certification period.

For most plants, the initial two-year certification period ended October 1, 2023, and plants that had received four regular audits by that date were required to have the minimum number of key feature points. A possible consequence of not meeting the point threshold either at the completion of the initial certification period or on a continuous basis thereafter is loss of architectural group certification.  

As the subcommittee reviewed the status of plants that had met the two-year and four-audit threshold, it was noted that a significant number of plants did not have the required points. The committee voted to extend the initial certification period through a plant’s first regular audit of 2024 (to occur from January to June). At that audit, points to be counted for recertification will include the plant’s last four rolling regular audits (previous three and the current) and any special audits/evaluations that occurred within that period. Following the initial certification period, plants will need to maintain the required minimum number of points on a rolling four regular audit basis to maintain certification in their category.

The key features to be demonstrated for each category are listed in the respective chapters of the Architectural Certification Program Supplemental Requirements. Of course, the preferred way to obtain the points is to be able to show products in production or storage that have the required features. Plants that are short of points and do not expect to have production that will provide the required points can construct one or more mockup panels. There are two options for mockup panels:

  1. Construct one or more of the mockup panels fabricated for initial certification, as shown in the Architectural Certification Program Supplemental Requirements, for the plant’s certification category.
  2. Construct a mockup panel of the plant’s own design with appropriate key features to demonstrate the plant’s continued capabilities and earn the necessary points.

In either case, the drawings and mix designs for the mockup panel must be submitted for review well in advance of when the panel will be constructed, just as was required with initial category certification. This will allow time for review, to ensure the panel meets the eligibility criteria and would provide the necessary points. 

New Addendum to MNL 116-21

An addendum has been approved to the MNL 116-21requirements for thermal corrections to elongation calculations and the applied force during stressing. 

PCI recently approved a revision to QC manual MNL 116-21. These changes are in sections 5.3.10 and 5.3.11, as well as the associated commentary. The current wording in these sections requires plants to know or monitor the concrete temperature at initial set and use this temperature for the tensioning corrections. The revisions to these sections have reinstated the use of the concrete temperature at the time of placement, which has historically been used successfully. The addendum also notes that some plants use self-stressing beds with forms independent of the bed and that temperature corrections should be considered for this type of setup and not ignored as they would be in typical self-stressing beds.

Approved Addenda to the QC manuals are posted on the PCI website for PDF download through this link: MNL 116 and 117 Addenda until such time as publishing schedules for new editions of the QC manuals allow.

Bonus Point for Strand Bond Testing Discontinued

At its Committee Days meeting, the Plant Certification Committee voted to discontinue awarding of a bonus point on a plant’s audit score if the plant had performed strand bond testing within the prior 12 months.

Plants that conducted beam testing in accordance with the test method outlined in the PCI Journal article titled “A Simple Quality Assurance Test for Strand Bond,” by Robert J. Peterman have been allocated an extra point on their overall audit score if they conducted these tests and submitted them to PCI within 12 months of the audit date. The Plant Certification Committee noted that participation in this program had dwindled to a few plants and voted to discontinue accepting results effective December 31, 2023.

Access to ASTM Standards

The survey that PCI recently distributed to gauge producer interest in online access to ASTM standards through a PCI-ASTM agreement garnered very few responses and little apparent interest from PCI-certified plants.

Certified plants are required to have access to current standards relevant to the products they produce. Many of these standards are promulgated by ASTM. PCI distributed a survey to multiple contacts at all 260 certified plants earlier this year to assess interest in online access to ASTM standards through a possible PCI-ASTM agreement. Only 26 responses were received. Most responses indicated that the plant had a method in place for accessing these standards. As such, PCI will not be pursuing an agreement with ASTM.

One commonly used method for obtaining these standards at a reasonable cost is to join ASTM as a Participating Member. According to the ASTM website, annual membership in this category costs $115 and includes a free single volume of ASTM standards. This can be a very cost-effective method for obtaining the standards, as the website indicates that the price for a printed copy of volume 04.02 (Concrete and Aggregates) is $388 and an online subscription to this volume for a single registered user is $452. For more information on this option, access the Membership page on ASTM’s website.

Suggestions

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

Erector Remote Company Audit Procedure

A Remote Company Audit Procedure setting forth the processes and procedures for remote company audits of certified erectors was recently approved.

Certified erector company audits are very document review-focused and lend themselves well to either an on-site or remote (off-site) approach. Both audit methods have their advantages and disadvantages and the basic audit process and records reviewed are the same. Some erectors have expressed their preference for one method or the other, while others have no preference.

Remote company audits began during the pandemic when it was not possible to perform on-site audits. Now that both options are available, the Remote Company Audits Procedure was established to provide details concerning eligibility requirements, the allowable frequency of the audits, etc. Direct questions concerning the procedure to audit@pci.org.

Plants with Reduced Production Schedules

Plants working less than a five-day week are requested to inform PCI, so that audits are not scheduled on these non-workdays.

We have recently noted several plants working less than a five-day work week, often with the plant being closed on Friday. Unfortunately, in a couple cases, this was not observed until the auditor arrived at the plant. This causes potential issues with the audit schedules since multiple plants are scheduled to be audited during a single trip. Additionally, we are required to perform a minimum number of audit days at each plant per year, in accordance with our IAS accreditation requirements and our plant certification program.

Obviously, we do not want to schedule a plant audit for days when a plant is closed. If we are aware of plant closures in advance, it is often possible to shuffle the schedule during an audit trip to avoid these closures. Plants are requested to notify PCI at audit@pci.org if their work schedule is other than a five-day work week, even for a defined period. Additionally, plants are requested to inform PCI they observe federal, state, or local holidays other than the normal six major holidays, so that we can avoid these as well. 

Help Wanted - PCI Company Auditors for Certified Erector Audits

PCI needs additional qualified Certified Company Auditors to perform company audits of PCI-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.

Addendum to MNL 116-21

An addendum to the MNL 116-21requirements for bondbreakers between natural stone veneer and concrete was recently approved.

PCI recently approved a revision to QC manual MNL 116-21. The change in section A2.8.9 includes a correction to the thickness of the polyethylene sheet used as a bondbreaker between natural stone veneer and concrete. Approved Addenda to the QC manuals are posted on the PCI website for PDF download through this link: MNL 116 and 117 Addenda 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.

Addendum to MNL 116-21

PCI recently approved a revision to QC manual MNL 116-21. The change in section A2.8.9 includes a correction to the thickness of the polyethylene sheet used as a bondbreaker between natural stone veneer and concrete. Approved Addenda to the QC manuals are posted on the PCI website for PDF download through this link: MNL 116 and 117 Addenda until such time as publishing schedules for new editions of the QC manuals allow.

Erector Service Area Search Feature

Certified erectors typically service projects across a region, not just in the states where the erector is located. PCI’s directory of certified erectors provides the ability for interested parties to search for erectors by “States Serviced,” which helps provide a greater number of certified erectors potentially available for their projects. Erectors who want to verify the states they previously designated for their directory listing should email their request to PCI at audit@pci.org.

Scheduled Plant Closings

PCI-certified plants generally observe the six major national holidays, and no audits are scheduled on these dates or, as with Christmas and New Years, the few days around those holidays. Observance of the other federal holidays varies widely. Obviously, we do not want to schedule a plant audit for days when the plant is closed. Plants are requested to notify PCI at audit@pci.org if there are other federal, state, or local holidays that are observed by the plant, so that we can avoid these. This also includes other periods of plant closure.

Key Feature Points for Architectural 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. This will be administered using a rolling two-year period, based upon the last four regular audit cycles (semi-annual), after the initial two-year certification period. 

Points are tracked on a rolling basis rather than for a fixed, defined period, after the initial two-year certification 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 an eligible product was observed during one of these special audits.

Depending upon the timing of their audits and when the initial certification was issued, a plant may not have their fourth audit until after the two-year anniversary of their initial certification date in the new architectural category. It is also possible that a plant may have four or even five audits, depending upon the timing. In any case, the certification will continue through the four regular audits or two years from the date of initial certification, whichever occurs later. For most PCI plants with certification in the architectural group, their initial certification date in the new categories was October 1, 2021.

The key features to be demonstrated for each category are listed in the respective chapters of the Architectural Certification Program Supplemental Requirements. Of course, the preferred way to get the points is to be able to show products in production or storage that have the required features. Plants that are short of points as their two-year mark is approaching and do not expect to have production that will provide the required points can construct one or more mockup panels. There are two options for mockup panels:

  1. Construct one or more of the mockup panels fabricated for initial certification, as shown in the Architectural Certification Program Supplemental Requirements, for the plant’s certification category.
  2. Construct a mockup panel of the plant’s own design with appropriate key features to demonstrate their continued capabilities and earn the necessary points.

In either case, the drawings and mix designs for the mockup panel must be submitted for review well in advance of when the panel will be constructed, just as was required with initial category certification. This will allow time for review, to ensure the panel meets the eligibility criteria and would provide the necessary points. 

Suggestions

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

Scheduled Plant Closings  

PCI-certified plants generally observe the six major national holidays, and no audits are scheduled on these dates or, as with Christmas and New Years, the few days around those holidays. Observance of the other federal holidays varies widely. Obviously, we do not want to schedule a plant audit for days when the plant is closed. Plants are requested to let us know if there are other federal or state holidays that are observed by the plant, so that we can avoid these. This also includes other periods of plant closure.

Accessing Plant and Erector Certificates

We have completed the renewals for plant and erector certificates for 2023-24. Thank you to everyone for completing the renewal process and we look forward to working with you in 2023-24 and beyond. Updated plant and erector certificates are available on the PCI website. If additional staff need access to your certificates, please email the request to audit@pci.org

Instructions for accessing Certification Certificates on Computers/Laptops

  1. To access your certificate, log into your profile at www.pci.org.
  2. Your Username is your work email address. If you do not know your password, click on the Forgot Password? link.
  3. After you sign in, click on My Account at the top of the page on the Right. Take a moment to review your account page to be sure your contact information is current.
  4. Next, click the blue Producer Certification Certificate or Erector Certification Certificate button. This will open a second window in your browser where you can scroll through the certificates or download and open them in Adobe to print. Note: Click the blue arrow to see all the certificates. The blue arrow is clickable as long as it is Blue, even if the box says only “1 of 1”. Click the Adobe icon and open the file. Scroll through the certificates, which is easier if there are more than a few. Save the Certificate you wish to send to other parties.

Instructions for accessing Certification Certificates on Mobile Devices/Tablets

  1. To access your certificate, log into the PCI Mobile App (you can find it in your app store by searching for PCI Mobile App. Make sure the app you are about to download has the PCI logo).
  2. Open the PCI Mobile App.
  3. If you have not signed in, click the ≡ symbol in the top left corner. Your username and password are the same ones you use to log into www.pci.org Your User id will always be your work email.
  4. Once you are logged in, again select the ≡ symbol. Your name will be listed under the Home button. Click on Home to be taken to your profile. Take a moment to review your profile to be sure your contact information is current.
  5. On your profile, you will see a Certificates blue button. Click this button to be taken to a new screen that will list up to two certificates per plant/plant you are attached to.
  6. From the App, you can view the certificate(s), text it, e-mail it, and save it to your phone.

For any questions regarding your plant’s certification status, please contact qualityprograms@pci.org.

REMINDER - Erector Field Quality Audits Due July 15

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 FQARs for the first half of 2023 were due July 15. If 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.  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.

Key Feature Points for Architectural 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. This will be administered using a rolling two-year period, based upon the last four regular audit cycles (semi-annual), after the initial two-year certification period. 

Points are tracked on a rolling basis rather than for a fixed, defined period, after the initial 2-year certification 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 an eligible product was observed during one of these special audits.

Depending upon the timing of their audits and when the initial certification was issued, a plant may not have their fourth audit until after the two-year anniversary of their initial certification date. It is also possible that a plant may have four or even five audits, depending upon the timing. In any case, the certification will continue through the four regular audits or two years from the date of initial certification, whichever occurs later.

The key features to be demonstrated for each category are listed in the respective chapters of the Architectural Certification Program Supplemental Requirements. Of course, the preferred way to get the points is to be able to show products in production or storage that have the required features. Plants that are short of points as their 2-year mark is approaching and do not expect to have production that will provide the required points can construct one or more mockup panels. There are two options for mockup panels:

  1. Construct one or more of the mockup panels fabricated for initial certification, as shown in the Architectural Certification Program Supplemental Requirements, for the plant’s certification category.
  2. Construct a mockup panel of the plant’s own design with appropriate key features to demonstrate their continued capabilities and earn the necessary points.

In either case, the drawings and mix designs for the mockup panel must be submitted for review well in advance of when the panel will be constructed, just as was required with initial category certification. This will allow time for review, to ensure the panel meets the eligibility criteria and would provide the necessary points. 

Suggestions

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

FINAL REMINDER – Plant and Erector Certification Renewal

Plant and erector certification renewals were due May 31. All producers and erectors should have already renewed their certifications for 2023-24. Failure to complete these processes before the certificates expire on June 30th will result in a lapse in certification status. Plants and erectors who have completed the renewal status can access their certificates through the PCI website.

Instructions for accessing Certification Certificates on Computers/Laptops

  1. To access your certificate, log into your profile at www.pci.org.
  2. Your Username is your work email address. If you do not know your password, click on the Forgot Password? link.
  3. After you sign in, click on My Account at the top of the page on the Right. Take a moment to review your account page to be sure your contact information is current.
  4. Next, click the blue Producer Certification Certificate button. This will open a second window in your browser where you can scroll through the certificates or download and open them in Adobe to print. Note: Click the blue arrow to see all the certificates. The blue arrow is clickable as long as it is Blue, even if the box says only “1 of 1”. Click the Adobe icon and open the file. Scroll through the certificates, which is easier if there are more than a few. Save the Certificate you wish to send to other parties.

Instructions for accessing Certification Certificates on Mobile Devices/Tablets

  1. To access your certificate, log into the PCI Mobile App (you can find it in your app store by searching for PCI Mobile App, Make sure the app you are about to download has the PCI logo).
  2. Open the PCI Mobile App.
  3. If you have not signed in, click the ≡ symbol in the top left corner. Your username and password is the same one you use to log into www.pci.org Your User id will always be your work email.
  4. Once you are logged in, again select the ≡ symbol. Your name will be listed under the Home button. Click on Home to be taken to your profile. Take a moment to review your profile to be sure your contact information is current.
  5. On your profile, you will see a Certificates blue button. Click this button to be taken to a new screen that will list up to two certificates per plant/plant you are attached to.
  6. From the App, you can view the certificate(s), text it, e-mail it, and save it to your phone.

For any questions regarding your plant’s certification status, please contact qualityprograms@pci.org.

Exceptional Precast Practices Deadline is July 1

The deadline for submitting completed Exceptional Precast Practices (EPP) Program surveys is July 1, 2023. 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 at the 2023 Committee Days meetings, completed forms must be returned to PCI by July 1.

Project Surveys for Categories AA and AB  

Effective in July, producer plants certified in the AA and AB categories will be 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. Plants should expect to receive an email outlining these requirements and a request to designate specific plant contacts who will complete the survey requests and have access to the results.

The survey 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. Concurrent with implementing this requirement, Category AA and AB plants will be invoiced $3,000 for the annual surcharge for these surveys, as described in the Architectural Certification Program Supplemental Requirements

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

As described in the Supplemental Requirements, the Category AA and AB surcharge is intended to cover the cost of implementing and administering the project survey program. These costs will be reviewed on an annual basis and the surcharge adjusted accordingly.

REMINDER - Erector Field Quality Audits Due July 15

PCI Policy 29, Erector Certification Program, requires that certified erectors must 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 FQARs for the first half of 2023 are 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 FQARs, 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.

Key Feature Points for Architectural 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. This will be administered using a rolling two-year period, based upon the last four regular audit cycles (semi-annual), after the initial two-year certification period.

Points are tracked on a rolling basis rather than for a fixed, defined period, after the initial two-year certification period. This ensures that plants will have four opportunities to demonstrate the required points, as the regular audits are conducted at approximately six-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 an eligible product was observed during one of these special audits.

Depending upon the timing of their audits and when the initial certification was issued, a plant may not have their fourth audit until after the two-year anniversary of their initial certification date. It is also possible that a plant may have four or even five audits, depending upon the timing. In any case, the certification will continue through the four regular audits or two years from the date of initial certification, whichever occurs later.

The key features to be demonstrated for each category are listed in the respective chapters of the Architectural Certification Program Supplemental Requirements. Of course, the preferred way to get the points is to be able to show products in production or storage that have the required features. Plants that are short of points as their two-year mark is approaching and do not expect to have production that will provide the required points can construct one or more mockup panels. There are two options for mockup panels:

  1. Construct one or more of the mockup panels fabricated for initial certification, as shown in the Architectural Certification Program Supplemental Requirements, for the plant’s certification category.
  2. Construct a mockup panel of the plant’s own design with appropriate key features to demonstrate their continued capabilities and earn the necessary points.

In either case, the drawings and mix designs for the mockup panel must be submitted for review well in advance of when the panel will be constructed, just as was required with initial category certification. This will allow time for review, to ensure the panel meets the eligibility criteria and would provide the necessary points. 

Suggestions

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

REMINDER – May 31 Deadline for Plant and Erector Certification Renewal

Although plant and erector certifications expire June 30th, completed renewals are due by May 31. All producers and erectors should have already received an email with instructions on how to renew their certifications for 2023-24. These processes are very similar to last year. 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 company’s certification status, please contact qualityprograms@pci.org.

Exceptional Precast Practices Deadline is July 1

The deadline for submitting completed Exceptional Precast Practices (EPP) Program surveys is July 1, 2023. 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 2023, completed forms must be returned to PCI by July 1.

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. Concurrent with implementing this requirement, Category AA and AB plants will be invoiced $3,000 for the annual surcharge for these surveys, as described in the Architectural Certification Program Supplemental Requirements.

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 to designated plant staff through the PCI website. Further information will be provided directly to the AA and AB-certified plants when the software access has been completed.

As described in the Supplemental Requirements, the Category AA and AB surcharge is intended to cover the cost of implementing and administering the project survey program. These costs will be reviewed on an annual basis and the surcharge adjusted accordingly.

Spanish Translation of TM-101 Now Available

The Spanish translation of TM-101, Quality Control Technician/Inspector Level I and II Training Manual has been completed and is now available in the PCI bookstore. Work is under way to also develop a Spanish version of the Level I and Level II QC Technician/Inspector certification exams.

T. Henry Clark Award Nominations Due June 1 

Nominations for the T. Henry Clark Award, to be presented during 2023 PCI Committee Days, must be submitted to qualityprograms@pci.org by June 1, 2023.

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 Mike Wolff, the Quality Activities Council chair, at m.wolff@msprecast.com or Mike Kesselmayer, PCI managing director of quality programs, at mkesselmayer@pci.org.

Suggestions

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

Spanish Translation of TM-101 Now Available

The Spanish translation of TM-101, Quality Control Technician/Inspector Level I and II Training Manual has been completed and is now available in the PCI bookstore. Work is under way to also develop a Spanish version of the Level I and Level II QC Technician/Inspector certification exams.   

Exceptional Precast Practices Deadline is July 1

The deadline for submitting completed Exceptional Precast Practices (EPP) Program surveys is July 1, 2023. 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 2023, completed forms must be returned to PCI by July 1.

Deadline for Plant and Erector Certification Renewal is May 31

All producers and erectors should have received an email with instructions on how to renew their certifications for 2023-2024. These processes are very similar to last year. Completed forms are 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.

Key Feature Points for Architectural 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. This will be administered using a rolling two-year period, based upon the last four regular audit cycles (semi-annual), after the initial two-year certification period. 

Points are tracked on a rolling basis rather than for a fixed, defined period, after the initial two-year certification period. This ensures that plants will have four opportunities to demonstrate the required points, as the regular audits are conducted at approximately six-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 an eligible product was observed during one of these special audits.

Depending upon the timing of their audits and when the initial certification was issued, a plant may not have their fourth audit until after the two-year anniversary of their initial certification date. It is also possible that a plant may have four or even five audits, depending upon the timing. In any case, the certification will continue through the four regular audits or two years from the date of initial certification, whichever occurs later.

The key features to be demonstrated for each category are listed in the respective chapters of the Architectural Certification Program Supplemental Requirements. Of course, the preferred way to get the points is to be able to show products in production or storage that have the required features. Plants that are short of points as their 2-year mark is approaching and do not expect to have production that will provide the required points can construct one or more mockup panels. There are two options for mockup panels:

  1. Construct one or more of the mockup panels fabricated for initial certification, as shown in the Architectural Certification Program Supplemental Requirements, for the plant’s certification category.
  2. Construct a mockup panel of the plant’s own design with appropriate key features to demonstrate their continued capabilities and earn the necessary points.

In either case, the drawings and mix designs for the mockup panel must be submitted for review well in advance of when the panel will be constructed, just as was required with initial category certification. This will allow time for review, to ensure the panel meets the eligibility criteria and would provide the necessary points. 

T. Henry Clark Award Nominations Due June 1 

Nominations for the T. Henry Clark Award, to be presented during 2023 PCI Committee Days, must be submitted to qualityprograms@pci.org by June 1, 2023.

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 Mike Wolff, the Quality Activities Council chair, at m.wolff@msprecast.com or Mike Kesselmayer, PCI managing director of quality programs, at mkesselmayer@pci.org.

Suggestions

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

Policy 20 Revised

At its recent meeting during the PCI Convention, the PCI Board of Directors approved changes to PCI’s Plant Certification Program (Policy 20).  A copy of the updated policy will be emailed to all plants and is accessible here.

The revisions fall generally into the following groups:

  1. Editorial revisions and minor changes to clarify existing requirements or program procedures or to update terminology.
  2. Modifications to the 3Ps reporting requirements for newly certified plants in section 20.8.2.
  3. Adjustment to the time frame used to establish audit schedules for newly certified plants in Tables 20.8.8 and 20.8.9.
  4. Further definition to the procedures to be followed after a failing audit in section 20.8.16.
  5. Clarifications to the appeal process, including the addition of an option for a remote/virtual format for the second appeal hearing in lieu of the currently required in-person hearing.
  6. The addition of section 20.14 on Fraudulent Activity Reporting.
  7. Clarification was added in section 20.17 on Plant Certification Fees relative to determining certification fees for a plant that acquires another certified plant and the responsibility for determining program fees other than annual plant certification fees. 
  8. Definitions were added for the Architectural Certification Review Board and for Production Personnel.in Attachment 1 at the end of the policy.

T. Henry Clark Award Nominations Due June 1 

Nominations for the T. Henry Clark Award, to be presented during 2023 PCI Committee Days, must be submitted to qualityprograms@pci.org by June 1, 2023. 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 Mike Wolff, the Quality Activities Council chair, at m.wolff@msprecast.com or Mike Kesselmayer, PCI managing director of quality programs, at mkesselmayer@pci.org.

Selling Products from Non-PCI-Certified Plants

Section 20.5.4 of PCI Policy 20 states that plants shall only sell PCI applicable precast concrete products from a plant that is certified by the PCI Plant Certification Program. Compliance with PCI Policy 20 is a condition of certification in the PCI Plant Certification Program, as set forth in the annual plant certification agreements.

During the last several months, there have been instances of plants providing precast concrete products that are covered by PCI’s plant certification program that were not fabricated at a PCI-certified plant. When these are noted, the plant is provided notice that the contract requirement must be met and that continued infraction jeopardizes a plant’s certification.

Survey - ASTM Compilation of Standards

PCI recently distributed a survey to all certified plants intended to assess interest in gaining access to ASTM’s standards through a group subscription. This survey only takes a few minutes to complete and can be accessed here.

PCI-certified plants are required to have access to current standards. PCI previously offered a printed compilation of ASTM standards to PCI-certified plants at a discounted rate, through an agreement with ASTM. Unfortunately, ASTM no longer offers these printed compilations of standards; they only allow access to a group of standards through a subscription to their ASTM Compass online service, which is available via their website.

ASTM is willing to provide access to a group of standards for PCI-certified plants, but to develop a cost for these services, ASTM wants the estimated number of plants who would likely subscribe. They are also expecting a base level participation commitment from PCI. 

An ASTM Compass subscription would provide access to more than 85 precast concrete standards in one convenient platform, accessible via desktop and mobile device. In addition to 24/7 access to ASTM standards, subscribers can bookmark, annotate, and receive alerts on the standards they need to track.

The survey is intended to help PCI gauge interest in an agreement with ASTM for access to these standards. PLEASE NOTE – this is NOT a commitment to subscribe to these services; it is only a survey of possible interest to help us decide whether to pursue an agreement with ASTM.

Update on Spanish Translation of TM-101

The Spanish translation of TM-101, Quality Control Technician/Inspector Level I and II Training Manual has been completed and the final document has been provided to the production company that supports PCI’s bookstore. It should be available in the PCI bookstore later this month. 

Suggestions

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

New Quality Talks Available

The Quality Enhancement Committee has released two additional issues in the third series of Quality Talks.  The series 3 Quality Talks can be accessed using this link. The new Talks include Issue 5, Capping of Cylinders, and Issue 6, Reinforcement. 

The Series 1 and series 2 Talks are also available in Spanish. Work on additional Talks for series 3 is continuing.

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. 

PCI’s Certified Plant Customer Satisfaction Surveys

PCI certified plants are well accustomed to completing the audit appraisal forms provided by the plant auditors following each semi-annual plant audit. These appraisals provide valuable feedback supporting our efforts to improve the quality of the audits. In addition to these appraisals, PCI also provides certified plants an opportunity to provide input on the quality of the rest of the services associated with the plant certification process, outside of what happens onsite during a plant audit. This feedback is valuable to PCI, and plants are encouraged to complete these annual surveys. 

The PCI Plant Certification Program Customer Satisfaction Survey encompasses the administrative services associated with the certification program, such as the clarity of the audit report, review of corrective action responses, handling of confidential information, the helpfulness and responsiveness of PCI staff, and whether the certification process helps improve the quality of the plant operations and products. Access to the survey is provided as a link in the email from PCI when a plant has successfully resolved the corrective actions from their annual recertification audit. This is the audit that occurs during the July to December cycle.

As noted above, this feedback is valuable to PCI and plants are encouraged to complete these annual surveys. Please email audit@pci.org with any questions.

Update on Spanish Translation of TM-101

Progress continues on the Spanish translation of TM-101, Quality Control Technician/Inspector Level I and II Training Manual. Final edits are being completed and the Spanish translation of TM-101 is expected to be available in the PCI bookstore shortly after the PCI Convention. 

Certification Expiration Reminders

The PCI Certification Management System (CMS) was recently enhanced to include system-generated reminders of expiring certifications. A first notice will be issued three months in advance of expiration, and regular reminders will be sent until several months after expiration. It is expected that these reminders should reduce the number of individuals whose certifications expire without their knowledge. However, to be effective, certified individuals must maintain current email addresses in the CMS. Instructions for accessing the CMS and for updating an individual’s information can be found on page 1 of the PCI CMS Instructions

Suggestions

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

Scheduling of Proctored PCI Certification Exams 

Scheduling proctored PCI certification exams is solely the responsibility of the certification candidate. A proctored exam request should not be submitted until the candidate has contacted the individual who will proctor the exam and agreed upon all arrangements for the exam. PCI staff does not coordinate the exam arrangements for the candidate, nor does PCI pay any fees the proctor may charge.

Although it is possible to schedule and take a certification exam prior to applying for certification, candidates are strongly encouraged to complete the certification application first. 

To apply for certification, log into the PCI certification management system (CMS) and click on the applicable certification tile on the certification dashboard. The application can then be accessed by clicking on the ‘apply’ button. Complete the application sections: Personal Information; Education, Experience and Endorsement; ACI Certification Information and upload any required documents.

To arrange a certification exam session with an approved proctor, complete the online Proctored Exam Request form. Before submitting the request in the CMS, be sure to have finalized all arrangements with a PCI-approved proctor. This request must be submitted in the CMS no less than two weeks before the planned exam date. 

Successfully completing the certification exam is, of course, a prerequisite for PCI personnel certification. However, certification cannot be granted without also completing the certification application. Please visit the CMS Instructions on the PCI website or contact qualityprograms@pci.org with any questions.

Certification Expiration Reminders

The PCI Certification Management System (CMS) was recently enhanced to include system-generated reminders of expiring certifications. A first notice will be issued three months in advance of expiration, and regular reminders will be sent until several months after expiration. It is expected that these reminders should reduce the number of individuals whose certifications expire without their knowledge. However, to be effective, certified individuals must maintain current email addresses in the CMS. Instructions for accessing the CMS and for updating an individual’s information can be found on page 1 of the PCI CMS Instructions.

PCI’s Certified Plant Customer Satisfaction Surveys

PCI certified plants are well accustomed to completing the audit appraisal forms provided by the plant auditors following each semi-annual plant audit. These appraisals provide valuable feedback supporting our efforts to improve the quality of the audits. In addition to these appraisals, PCI also provides certified plants an opportunity to provide input on the quality of the rest of the services associated with the plant certification process, outside of what happens onsite during a plant audit. This feedback is valuable to PCI, and plants are encouraged to complete these annual surveys. 

The PCI Plant Certification Program Customer Satisfaction Survey encompasses the administrative services associated with the certification program, such as the clarity of the audit report, review of corrective action responses, handling of confidential information, the helpfulness and responsiveness of PCI staff, and whether the certification process helps improve the quality of the plant operations and products. Access to the survey is provided as a link in the email from PCI when a plant has successfully resolved the corrective actions from their annual recertification audit. This is the audit that occurs during the July to December cycle. 

As noted above, this feedback is valuable to PCI and plants are encouraged to complete these annual surveys. Please email audit@pci.org with any questions.

Reminder - Erector Field Quality Audits due January 15

PCI Policy 29, Erector Certification Program, requires that certified erectors submit a Field Quality Audit Report and an Erectors Post-Audit Declaration (EPAD) 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 2022 are due no later than January 15, 2023. 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.  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.

Update on Spanish Translation of TM-101

Progress continues on the Spanish translation of TM-101, Quality Control Technician/Inspector Level I and II Training Manual. The translation company and copyeditor/reviewer have completed their reviews and any differences have been reconciled. The document has been put into final format with the various tables, graphs, and photos, as in the existing English translation of the manual. This document has been forwarded to the copyeditor for review. The Spanish translation of TM-101 is expected to be released in the first quarter of 2023.  

Suggestions

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

PCI Proctored Exams and Applications – Two Different Steps

Applying for PCI personnel certification and scheduling a proctored certification exam are two separate steps in the certification process and completing both processes are necessary for certification. Submitting a request for a proctored exam does not automatically complete the certification application. Although it is possible to schedule and take a certification exam prior to applying for certification, candidates are strongly encouraged to complete the application first.

To apply for certification, log into the PCI certification management system (CMS) and click on the applicable certification tile on the certification dashboard. The application can then be accessed by clicking on the ‘apply’ button. Complete the application sections: Personal Information; Education, Experience and Endorsement; ACI Certification Information and upload any required documents.

To arrange a certification exam session with an approved proctor, complete the online Proctored Exam Request form. Before submitting the request in the CMS, be sure to have finalized all arrangements with a PCI-approved proctor. This request must be submitted in the CMS no less than two weeks before the planned exam date.

Successfully completing the certification exam is, of course, a prerequisite for PCI personnel certification. However, certification cannot be granted without also completing the certification application. Please visit the CMS Instructions on the PCI website or contact qualityprograms@pci.org with any questions. 

Compilation of Quality Talks Now Available

The Quality Enhancement Committee has developed over two dozen Plant Quality Talks, available in both English and Spanish, which have been divided into three separate series. In the past, these have only been available as individual downloads; however, they have now been compiled so they can be conveniently downloaded as a full series. These compilations are posted at the bottom of the list of titles in each series.

These brief presentations provide basic instruction and reminders regarding key quality aspects for a variety of plant operations and are intended for production workers. 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. A full list of topics is available in the Plant Quality Talks page in the Quality Assurance Resources area of the PCI Member Resources section on the PCI website.

PCI’s Certified Plant Customer Satisfaction Surveys

PCI certified plants are well accustomed to completing the audit appraisal forms provided by the plant auditors following each semi-annual plant audit. These appraisals provide valuable feedback in our efforts to improve the quality of the audits. In addition to these appraisals, PCI also provides certified plants an opportunity to provide input on the quality of the rest of the services associated with the plant certification process, outside of what happens onsite during a plant audit. This feedback is valuable to PCI, and plants are encouraged to complete these annual surveys.

The PCI Plant Certification Program Customer Satisfaction Survey encompasses the administrative services associated with the certification program, such as the clarity of the audit report, review of corrective action responses, handling of confidential information, the helpfulness and responsiveness of PCI staff, and whether the certification process helps improve the quality of the plant operations and products. Access to the survey is provided as a link in the email from PCI when a plant has successfully resolved the corrective actions from their annual recertification audit. This is the audit that occurs during the July to December cycle.

As noted above, this feedback is valuable to PCI and plants are encouraged to complete these annual surveys. Please email audit@pci.org with any questions.

Reminder - Erector Field Quality Audits due January 15

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 second half of 2022 are due no later than January 15, 2023. 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.  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.

Suggestions

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

Update on Spanish Translation of TM-101

Progress continues on the Spanish translation of TM-101, Quality Control Technician/Inspector Level I and II Training Manual. The translation company has completed the initial translation of the document, which has been reviewed by an independent copyeditor. The next steps are to reconcile any differences and then layout the document into final format with the various tables, graphs, and photos, as in the existing English translation of the manual. Additional review will follow. The document is expected to be released early in the first quarter of 2023. 

Certification Management System (CMS) Instructions

The PCI Certification Management System (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 PCI CMS Instructions page in the Certification section of the PCI website provides detailed instructions on how to navigate the system and can be a time-saving resource. Users should report login issues to qualityprograms@pci.org for resolution.

Certification Exam Waiting Period Revised

PCI Policy 28 (Quality Personnel Certification Program) mandates a minimum waiting period following a failed certification exam, before the exam can be retaken. This allows a sufficient opportunity for self-study or reinstruction to improve the candidate’s opportunity for success on the subsequent exam. At its Committee Days meeting in September, the PCI Board approved a revision to Policy 28 that reduces the waiting period between exams from 60 days to 14 days. This revision is effective immediately. A copy of the updated policy is available on the PCI website.

CFA and CCA Exams Now Available Online

The Certified Field Auditor (CFA) and Certified Company Auditor (CCA) exams have been converted to a multiple-choice format and are now being administered in an online format, rather than paper exams. In addition to the change in format, the question banks for both exams were reviewed and updated. The format for the CFA certification exam was also changed from a series of three exams to a single 90-minute exam.

Suggestions

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

Certification Exam Waiting Period Revised

PCI Policy 28 (Quality Personnel Certification Program) mandates a minimum waiting period following a failed certification exam, before the exam can be retaken. This is to allow a sufficient opportunity for self-study or reinstruction, to improve the candidate’s opportunity for success on the subsequent exam. At its Committee Days meeting in September, the PCI Board approved a revision to Policy 28 that reduces the waiting period between exams from 60 days to 14 days. This revision is effective immediately.

View the Updated PCI Policy 28

2022 T. Henry Clark Award Recipient – Dennis Fink

Dennis Fink received the T. Henry Clark Award at PCI’s awards luncheon during the 2022 PCI Committee Days in September. This award recognizes an individual, group of individuals, or a firm that has delivered a resource that improves or enhances the quality of precast, prestressed concrete products or processes. T. Henry Clark was a believer of quality and quality processes; this award is to recognize those who create or promote quality in a way that would have made Henry proud.

Watch the Award Video

CFA and CCA Exams Now Available Online

The Certified Field Auditor (CFA) and Certified Company Auditor (CCA) exams have been converted to a multiple-choice format and are now being administered in an online format, rather than paper exams. In addition to the change in format, the question banks for both exams were reviewed and updated. The format for the CFA certification exam was also changed from a series of three exams to a single 90-minute exam.

Suggestions

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

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.

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.

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.

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.