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By Phillip Cutler, P.E.
The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) has accredited the NPCA Plant Certification Program as of May 2012. ANSI accreditation means NPCA’s program is consistently administered in accordance with international standards. The importance of national and international compliance standards provides the global economy with a consistent and verifiable measure of quality in the marketplace.
ANSI accreditation is important to NPCA, because it shows that NPCA has detailed policies and procedures in place to administer its plant certification program, and that those policies and procedures live up to ANSI’s rigorous standards.
So why is it important to you that your NPCA certified plant is ANSI accredited? It is for the same reason that ANSI is important.
ANSI is important because it provides accreditation in accordance with ISO/IEC Guide 65 for product certification programs to ensure that the marketplace can gain confidence for its activities. ISO/IEC Guide 65 provides the requirements that must be met in order to be accredited by ANSI, just as the NPCA Quality Control Manual for Precast and Prestressed Concrete Plants spells out the requirements that producers must meet in order to be NPCA certified.
ANSI accreditation is important because it provides a level of assurance that the NPCA Plant Certification Program operates in a consistent and highly reliable manner to Guide 65 “General Requirements for Bodies Operating Product Certification Systems.”
The ANSI logo is the symbol of Quality for Certification Bodies that is recognized nationally and internationally in the marketplace. The ANSI accreditation logo is very much like the NPCA Certified Plant stencil that mark products from certified plants. It is a symbol of quality that owners, engineers and specifiers recognize and depend on.
How does ANSI monitor compliance?
Much like the annual audits NPCA certified plants receive, ANSI visits the NPCA offices and conducts a two-day surveillance audit each year to validate compliance with applicable standards. The main difference is that NPCA does not receive a score.
NPCA requires certified plants to respond in writing to all deficiencies within 45 days of the plant audit. In a similar fashion, NPCA is required to respond in writing to each and every nonconformance the ANSI auditor may discover. During the audit, NPCA receives either an NCR (nonconformity) or an OFI (Opportunity for Improvement) report as measured against the standard guidance document, Guide 65. The response from NPCA must completely address the deficiency and provide a corrective action plan to prevent recurrence.
ANSI’s requirements for accreditation under Guide 65 create a system of compliance, policies and procedures, and serve as a benchmark for operating repeatability for NPCA as the authoritative body granting certification to member plants meeting the requirements of the program. ANSI accreditation is one of NPCA’s many commitments to certified plants.
Phillip Cutler, P.E., is director of Technical Services and the NPCA Plant Certification Program. The NPCA Plant Certification Program is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).