Posted: 5/19/2020
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Plant Certification Audit Update

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

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

Erector Certification Audit Update

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

Schedule for Architectural Certification Audits Released

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

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

Request for Architectural Precast Concrete Photos

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

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

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

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

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

Plant and Erector Certification Renewals Due May 31

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

Exceptional Precast Practices Deadline is July 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

T. Henry Clark Award Nominations Due June 1

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

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

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

Suggestions

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

Posted: 4/23/2020
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Important Plant Certification Program Updates

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

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

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

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

ACP Supplemental Requirements Document Revised

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

Plant Certification Renewal for 2020-21

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

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

Erector Certification Renewal for 2020-21

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

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

Exceptional Precast Practices Deadline is July 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

Suggestions

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

Posted: 3/24/2020
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Architectural Certification Program Applications Due April 1

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

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

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

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

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

April 1, 2020

Initial applications for certification in the new categories are due.

July 1, 2020

Initial plant audits to the new program are initiated.

July 1, 2020

Renewal certificates will include existing categories.

Dec. 31, 2020

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

June 30, 2021

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


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

Webinar - The New PCI Architectural Certification Program Requirements

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

Quality Control Manual Addenda Web Page

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

Structural Grouting Paper

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

Plant Certification Renewal for 2020-2021

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

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

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

Erector Certification Renewal for 2020-2021

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

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

Suggestions

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

Posted: 3/19/2020
 ()

Changes to PCI's Architectural Certification Program Distributed

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

The distributed information includes:

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

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

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

April 1, 2020

Initial applications for certification in the new categories are due.

July 1, 2020

Initial plant audits to the new program are initiated.

July 1, 2020

Renewal certificates will include existing categories.

Dec. 31, 2020

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

June 30, 2021

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


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

Architectural Certification Program Web Page

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

2020 T. Henry Clark Award Call for Nominations

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

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

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

Suggestions

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

Posted: 1/24/2020
 ()

Changes to PCI’s Architectural Certification Program Distributed

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

The distributed information includes:

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

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

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

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

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

Webinar – The New PCI Architectural Certification Program Requirements

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

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

Architectural Certification Program Web Page

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

Suggestions

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

Posted: 11/7/2019
 ()

Keith Wallis Jr. Receives 2019 T. Henry Clark Award

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

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

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

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

Quality Talks – Series 2 is Now Available

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

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

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

PCI Website Adds Erector Service Area Search

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

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

Clutch Maintenance Webinar

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

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

Posted: 10/16/2019
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Request for Photos for PCI’s Architectural Certification Program

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

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

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

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

Posted: 10/16/2019
 ()

PCI Signs Bilateral Agreement with IAS

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

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

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

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

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


Request for Photos for PCI’s Architectural Certification Program

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

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

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

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


Suggestions

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

Posted: 10/16/2019
 ()

Changes to PCI’s Architectural Certification Program

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

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

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

Here are some key dates in this transition:

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


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

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

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

Suggestions

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

Posted: 7/23/2019
 ()

Certification Articles - July 2019

Changes to Policy 20 (PCI Plant Certification Program)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Changes to Policy 29 (PCI Erector Certification Program)

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


Exceptional Precast Practices Deadline is August 15

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

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

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

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

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

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


Suggestions

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

Posted: 6/18/2019
 ()

Certification Articles - June 2019

FINAL REMINDER - Certified Plant and Certified Erector Renewals

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

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

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


Exceptional Precast Practices Deadline is August 15

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

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

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

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

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

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


Suggestions

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

Posted: 5/14/2019
 ()

Certification Articles - May 2019

REMINDER - Certified Plant and Certified Erector Renewals

The deadline for all PCI-certified plants and certified erectors to return their annual renewal documentation is May 31, 2019. For certified plants, this includes the signed contracts and sales declarations. Also, all plant QSMs (quality system manuals) must have been approved as ISO 9001:2015 compliant. Certified erectors must submit their signed contracts and certification renewal forms.

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

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


New Flowable Concrete/SCC Qualification and Testing Frequency Form

Flowable concrete and self-consolidating concrete (SCC) require specific testing during the initial qualification of mix designs and the subsequent production testing. Noncompliance with these requirements is a frequently cited nonconformance during plant audits of PCI-certified plants. The Quality Enhancement Committee has developed a tool to help plants comply with these requirements.

The Flowable Concrete/SCC Qualification and Testing Frequency Form provides a summary of the testing that is required during initial mix design qualification and the frequency of testing required during subsequent production testing. The form has also been developed as an aid for recording the required parameters for each mix following the mix design preparation, which can then serve as a reference for quality control personnel during the daily production testing of the mixes. Plants are encouraged to distribute a copy of the completed form to QC staff and to retain a copy in their quality files.


External Field Quality Audits for Certified Erectors

The PCI Erector Certification program requires that a field quality audit of each Primary Erection Crew be performed by a certified field auditor (CFA) during each half of the calendar year. The program also requires that a minimum of 10 percent of the audits be performed by an external CFA, i.e. a CFA who is not an employee of the erector or an affiliated company. The 10 percent requirement refers to the number of audits, NOT the number of field crews.

When determining the number of external field audits required each year, the erector should multiply the number of audits required by 10 percent and round the resulting number up to the nearest whole number. For example, an erector who has six crews is required to have 12 field audits per year (six crews X two audits per year). Ten percent of the 12 audits is 1.2, rounded up to the nearest whole number is two. Consequently, the erector is required to have two external audits; the remainder of the audits (10) could be performed by an internal CFA, a CFA who is an employee of the erector.

Remember, field audits are required for a crew if that crew was involved in the erection of precast concrete products for more than 60 working days during the six-month period (January to June or July to December). If the crew did not work enough days to meet this threshold, the erector must provide a letter to that effect. This is a certification requirement and is necessary for certification renewal.


Suggestions

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

Posted: 4/16/2019
 ()

Certification Articles - April 2019

Certified Plant and Certified Erector Renewal Deadlines

The deadline for all PCI-certified plants and certified erectors to return their annual renewal documentation is May 31, 2019.  For certified plants, this includes the signed contracts and sales declarations. Also, all plant QSMs must have been approved as ISO 9001:2015 compliant. Certified erectors must submit their signed contracts and Certification Renewal form. 

Plant certification contracts and sales declarations were emailed to designated plant contacts on April 1, 2019. Several changes to the sales declaration were approved by the PCI Board for 2019-20. These include the exclusion of erector services from the Qualified Sales definition and adjustments for the plant and sales fee calculations. Options to contribute directly to the PCI Foundation and/or to Government Affairs were also added. 

The erector certification renewal processes will be in an online format this year. Renewal information was emailed to the designated company contacts earlier this week. As noted above, all certified erectors must complete the online process by May 31.


Compliance of QSMs with ISO 9001:2015 as a Condition for Certification Renewal

All PCI-certified plants are required to have Quality System Manuals (QSMs) that comply with PCI’s QSM-1, Preparation Guidelines for a Quality System Manual of a PCI-certified Plant, and ISO 9001:2015 as a condition of plant certification renewal for 2019-20. This is an accreditation condition for PCI’s accreditation as a management system certification body by the International Accreditation Service (IAS). 

IAS uses ISO 9001 as the certification standard to accredit PCI’s plant certification program. Consequently, PCI’s program must comply with this standard. In April 2018, PCI distributed an updated QSM-1, which had been revised to better align with the requirements of ISO 9001:2015. Plants were required to complete an ISO 9001:2015 Conformance Declaration as a condition of certification renewal for 2018-19. This Conformance Declaration listed several requirements that had been added in the revised QSM-1, and plants were required to state that their QSM met these requirements or would be revised to meet these requirements by their first audit after July 1, 2019.

During the July 1 to December 31 audit cycle, plants were cited a major nonconformance if their QSMs had not yet been submitted for review. Minor nonconformances were cited if the QSM had been submitted but had not yet been accepted as compliant. Plants with conforming QSMs will see conformance with ISO/IEC 9001:2015 listed in the signature stamp of their accepted QSM.

While most plants have now met this compliance requirement, there are still those that have not. PCI staff will contact non-compliant plants in the coming weeks to remind them of this requirement and encourage them to submit an updated QSM as soon as possible. If you have a question about whether your QSM has been accepted as compliant, please email audit@pci.org.


Erector Certification Renewal – Field Quality Audit Requirements

The PCI Erector Certification Program requires that a Field Quality Audit be performed of each Primary Erection Crew during each half of the calendar year, if that crew was involved in the erection of precast concrete products for more than 60 working days.  If the crew did not work enough days to meet this threshold, the erector must provide a letter to that effect.  This is a certification requirement and necessary for certification renewal.

PCI must receive Field Quality Audit Reports and the associated Erector’s Post-Audit Declarations no later than July 15 for the first half of the calendar year and January 15 for the second half of the year. PCI staff has previously reminded certified erectors of these requirements and deadlines and is currently following up with those who remain delinquent. If contacted, please provide this information as soon as possible. If you have questions about this requirement, please email audit@pci.org.


Suggestions

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

Posted: 4/11/2019
 ()

Certification Articles - March 2019

Compliance of QSMs with ISO 9001:2015 as a Condition for Certification Renewal

All PCI-certified plants are required to have Quality System Manuals (QSMs) that comply with PCI’s QSM-1, Preparation Guidelines for a Quality System Manual of a PCI-certified Plant, and ISO 9001:2015 as a condition of plant certification renewal for 2019-20. This is an accreditation condition for PCI’s accreditation as a management system certification body by the International Accreditation Service (IAS). 

IAS uses ISO 9001 as the certification standard to accredit PCI’s plant certification program. Consequently, PCI’s program must comply with this standard. In April 2018, PCI distributed an updated QSM-1, which had been revised to better align with the requirements of ISO 9001:2015. Plants were required to complete an ISO 9001:2015 Conformance Declaration as a condition of certification renewal for 2018-19. This Conformance Declaration listed several requirements that had been added in the revised QSM-1, and plants were required to state that their QSM met these requirements or would be revised to meet these requirements by their first audit after July 1, 2019.

During the July 1 to December 31 audit cycle, plants were cited a major nonconformance if their QSMs had not yet been submitted for review. Minor nonconformances were cited if the QSM had been submitted but had not yet been accepted as compliant. Plants with conforming QSMs will see conformance with ISO/IEC 9001:2015 listed in the signature stamp of their accepted QSM.

While most plants have now met this compliance requirement, there are still those that have not. PCI staff will contact non-compliant plantsl in the coming weeks to remind them of this requirement and encourage them to submit an updated QSM as soon as possible. If you have a question about whether your QSM has been accepted as compliant, please email audit@pci.org


QEC Publishes Quality Talks

The Quality Enhancement Committee (QEC) recently published a series of Quality Talks. These talks are modelled after the safety talks that have become a very effective and widely-used tool to increase safety awareness and reduce worker injuries throughout industry.

The Quality Talks are directed toward the production workers. They are short and provide basic instruction and/or reminders regarding key quality aspects of a variety of plant operations. Current topics range from embed placement and accelerated curing to chuck maintenance and yarding and dunnage. A full listing of the topics is available in the Quality Assurance Resources area in the Members Only section of the PCI website, available using this link, and entering your password.

There are currently 11 talks available, with one more to be available shortly. These are intended to be used on a monthly basis and can be downloaded and printed for ease of distribution and use. Each of the talks provides an area for recording attendance and to document employee training as part of the plant’s quality program. A second series of Quality Talks is under development and is planned for release by the 2020 PCI Convention. If you have a suggested topic for consideration by the committee, please email these to QualityPrograms@pci.org.


Call for Nominations – T. Henry Clark Award

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, and this award is to recognize those who create or promote quality in a way that would have made Henry proud.

This award is under the jurisdiction of the Quality Activities Council and the next award is scheduled to be presented at the 2019 PCI Committee Days and Technical Conference, featuring the National Bridge Conference. Nominations for this award are due by July 1, 2019 and should be submitted to qualityprograms@pci.org. The T. Henry Clark Nomination Form can be accessed through the following link: 
T. Henry Clark Award Nomination Form

Questions can be directed to Gary Wildung, the QAC Chair, at gary.wildung@fdgcolorado.com or to Mike Kesselmayer, PCI Managing Director of Quality Programs, at mkesselmayer@pci.org.

A description and the basis of the award is provided on page 33 of the My PCI Policy Statement, Section 26 – Awards, which can be accessed at the following link:
T. Henry Clark Award Policy


Suggestions

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

Posted: 4/11/2019
 ()


Certification Articles - January 2019

REMINDER – New Plant Certification Requirement – ASTM A1081 Test Results

Effective January 1, 2019, plants using prestressing strand in their products are required to maintain test results for that strand, in accordance with ASTM A1081/A1081M, Standard Test Method for Evaluating Bond of Seven-Wire Steel Prestressing Strand. This new requirement was approved by the Plant Certification Committee at its Committee Days meeting.

In pre-tensioned concrete applications, the prestressing steel strand is expected to transfer prestressing forces to the structural member via the bond between the between the exposed wire strand surface and the surrounding cementitious material. Manufacturing processes, subsequent handling, and storage conditions can influence the strand bond. ASTM A1081 provides a standard test method for evaluating that bond strength.

ASTM A1081 tests are typically performed by the strand supplier and should be requested by the plant from their supplier. Updated test results will be required on an annual basis, and plants will be required to demonstrate they have copies of this data during their semi-annual audits.

 

Call for Nominations – T. Henry Clark Award

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, and this award is to recognize those who create or promote quality in a way that would have made Henry proud.

This award is under the jurisdiction of the Quality Activities Council and the next award is scheduled to be presented at the 2019 PCI Committee Days and Technical Conference, featuring the National Bridge Conference. Nominations for this award are due by July 1, 2019 and should be submitted to qualityprograms@pci.org. The T. Henry Clark Nomination Form can be accessed through the following link:
T. Henry Clark Award Nomination Form

Questions can be directed to Gary Wildung, the QAC Chair, at gary.wildung@fdgcolorado.com or to Mike Kesselmayer, PCI Managing Director of Quality Programs, at mkesselmayer@pci.org.

A description and the basis of the award is provided on page 33 of the My PCI Policy Statement, Section 26 – Awards, which can be accessed at the following link:
T. Henry Clark Award Policy

 

Updated QSM Submittal Guidelines Document

The Electronic Quality System Manual Submittal Guidelines, which describes the procedures for submitting revised QSMs to PCI for review and acceptance has been updated. The updated guidelines reaffirm that only electronic copies of the QSM will be accepted and provide several minor clarifications and revised contact information for questions. Additionally, some QSM signature pages that have recently been submitted have required re-formatting to accommodate the PCI approval stamp. Therefore, a suggested format for the signature page has been added. Click here to view the updated document.

 

We Welcome Your Suggestions

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