Section 1704 of the International Building Code (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 for Fabricator Inspection Programs for Reinforced and Precast/Prestressed Concrete.

PCI and the International Accreditation Service (IAS) have completed a cooperation agreement that will enable PCI-certified plants to leverage their PCI certification toward accreditation by IAS as an approved structural fabricator, in accordance with the IAS AC 157 program.


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

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

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.

  1. PCI’s plant audits will serve as the required twice-yearly inspection agency audits. These audits must be 2-day audits.
  2. Plants will still need to complete the corrective action responses and implement appropriate corrective actions within 30 days.
  3. Plants must maintain their PCI certification in good standing to retain AC157 accreditation by IAS.

The fees for AC157 accreditation are in addition to those charged for PCI certification. The AC157 fees include two components:

  1. Annual Base Fee – The annual base varies depending upon the term of the agreement, as follows:

    Accreditation Term

    PCI Annual Charge (Annual Base Fee)

    1 Year

    3,300

    3 Year

    3,000

    5 Year

    2,500

     

  2. Audit Fee – AC157 requires two 2-day audits per year. Depending upon a plant’s annual sales, PCI may perform two 1-day audits or one 1-day and one 2-day audit each year for PCI’s certification purposes. PCI plant certification fees are lower for plants not receiving two 2-day audits. Therefore, the cost for any additional audit days required to meet this accreditation program provision will be added to the accreditation fee.

The Annual Base Fee for the entire term is collected by PCI up front and distributed by PCI to IAS upon application acceptance. If additional Audit Fees are required, these will also be collected up front for the initial year of accreditation but will be invoiced separately for subsequent certification years.

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  1. The first step in the accreditation process is to submit a completed IAS Application for Accreditation. The full fee, based upon the agreement term selected and the quote provided, must accompany the application.
  2. Concurrent with completing the application, the plant must complete and submit the IAS – PCI BLA Fabricator Inspection Program Manual Review Checklist. The purpose of the Cross-reference Checklist is to ensure the plant’s Quality System Manual (QSM) meets the requirements of AC157 and to facilitate review and confirmation by IAS.
  3. PCI will submit the plant’s application, the plant’s current QSM, the Cross-reference Checklist, the most recent audit report (must have been a 2-day audit), the associated corrective action response and the PCI close-out letter to IAS for review. NOTE – AC157 accreditation requires two 2-day audits per year. If the plant’s most recent audit was only one day in duration, the plant will need to wait for the next regularly scheduled audit so a 2-day audit can be performed. Alternatively, the plant can elect to pay for a separate special audit if waiting for the next regular audit is not an option.
  4. IAS will review the application and make a decision as to whether to accept the application, within 30 days of receipt. Possible outcomes of the review include:
    1. Acceptance of the application and issuance of the accreditation.
    2. Acceptance of the application with a requirement for additional information or clarification before accreditation can be granted.
    3. Reject the application
  5. PCI will communicate the decision to the producer, upon receipt from IAS. If additional information is required, PCI will coordinate this with the plant.
  6. Once the accreditation is approved, IAS will issue the accreditation certificate directly to the plant and will list the plant in their AC157 Fabricator Inspection Program directory.
  7. After initial accreditation, PCI will continue to provide IAS the audit reports, the associated corrective action responses, and the PCI close-out letters for their review, to verify continued compliance with the accreditation requirements.
  8. The certificates will reflect an annual renewal, irrespective of the term of the agreement.

IAS’ AC157 accreditation certificate is reviewed on an annual basis. There are several conditions for maintaining AC157 accreditation:

  1. The plant’s PCI certification must remain in good standing.
  2. The plant must comply with the IAS Rules or Procedure.

FAQs

IAS AC157 is an accreditation for fabricators of precast concrete products, based on the requirements in Chapter 17 of the International Building Code (IBC). The accreditation is provided by the International Accreditation Service (IAS), which is the same organization that accredits PCI’s Plant Certification Program. The IAS requirements are contained in AC157, Accreditation Criteria for Fabricator Inspection Programs for Reinforced and Precast/Prestressed Concrete.

Section 1704 of the International Building Code (IBC) requires special inspections of fabricated structural, load-bearing or load-resisting members unless an approved fabricator is used. The method for approving fabricators is the purview of the local building official. One method to demonstrate code compliance is to use a fabricator that has been accredited to IAS AC157. This clause of the IBC is gaining increased attention by the local building officials in various areas of the country.

The obvious difference is that the AC157 accreditation is issued by IAS and the plant certification is issued by PCI. Although the technical and quality requirements are very similar, there is not reciprocity between the two programs and plants desiring AC157 accreditation must apply to IAS through PCI and also meet the IAS Rules of Procedure for Accreditation of Fabricator Inspection Programs.

Maintaining your PCI-certification in good standing is a condition for AC157 accreditation through this program. There are no additional technical or quality requirements for most plants. Continuing to meet the requirements of the PCI plant certification program by following the QSM and QC manual requirements, having the semi-annual quality audits, and providing timely, comprehensive corrective action responses, in addition to paying the annual accreditation fee will be sufficient in most cases. The AC157 program does require two 2-day audits per year, so those PCI plant with reduced audit days due to their annual sales and number of production personnel will need additional audit days.

There is a base rate for the accreditation with a lower rate when multiple years are contracted. Some plants may need additional audit days to meet the AC157 requirements; therefore, pricing will vary based upon an individual plant’s circumstances. Please Request A Quote to fully understand the specific costs.

In most cases, it makes sense to go directly to the supplier when possible. In this case, however, because PCI is handling many of the administrative duties for this accreditation, IAS has provided substantially reduced pricing to PCI and PCI can provide these savings to the PCI-certified plants. As a result, it is less costly for a PCI-certified plant to apply for this accreditation through PCI than directly through IAS.

See the dropdown above titled AC157 Accreditation Process that describes these steps.

The full title of that document is IAS – PCI BLA Fabricator Inspection Program Manual Review Checklist for Reinforced and Precast/Prestressed Concrete. Sections 4.3 to 4.5 of AC157 list various requirements that must be addressed in the plant QSM. To save review time (and help reduce costs), the section of the plant’s QSM that addresses each AC157 requirement must be listed. To assist with this effort, guidance is provided on the AC157 Cross-reference as to the section of the QSM where this requirement would be expected to be located if the plant’s QSM is organized the same as PCI’s QSM-1. Additionally, where the requirement is satisfied by another document such as MNL 116 or Policy 20, the row with the requirement has been shaded gray to signify a QSM section need not be referenced for that requirement.

PCI will issue an invoice encompassing the fees for the full term selected, once your application has been accepted by IAS, i.e., all 3 years if a 3-year term is desired. PCI requires these fees to be paid up-front since PCI is paying these up-front to IAS. The payment will be due within 30 days and the accreditation certificate cannot be issued until payment has been received. Please note – These fees will be paid to PCI and PCI will forward the payment to IAS, plants should not send any fees directly to IAS.

In the event of early cancellation, IAS will refund any unused full years. No partial years will be refunded. Depending upon the term selected and when the agreement is cancelled, there may also be an administrative fee to compensate for the reduced fees for the longer-term agreement.

AC157 FAQs for Download
(Adobe PDF File)