By Phillip Cutler, P.E.
One of the most important aspects of the NPCA Plant Certification Program is the plant inspection, which provides an added level of quality assurance to municipalities, DOTs and other certification partners. Plant inspections are critical for maintaining the credibility of our program.
As an NPCA certified plant owner, you are already aware that an auditor could show up for your annual unannounced inspection at any time during the year. Plants that are new to the program, however, will have the first inspection scheduled for a specific day and time. But whether your plant is currently certified or just entering the certification program, your next plant inspection may come with a new twist.
First a little background information. One of the stipulations of our ANSI accreditation is that NPCA must perform unannounced audits on our third-party inspectors while they are performing annual inspections on your plant. In addition, NPCA technical staff must be audited by ANSI inspectors while performing this task, so there are three separate levels of auditing that could occur with any inspection: third-party inspections on your plant, NPCA audits on the third-party inspectors, and ANSI audits on NPCA.
When NPCA is being audited, the mechanics of plant inspection are not altered in any way, so you can expect to receive the same thorough audit as if only the third-party agent were performing the inspection. It simply means that NPCA is getting the same thorough audit of our processes associated with monitoring the performance of our third-party agents.
What does this mean for your inspection? It means that on the day of your announced or unannounced audit, it is possible that the third-party plant inspector could be accompanied by an NPCA technical services representative and an ANSI auditor. This is a necessary step to maintain our ANSI accreditation, and it provides an added level of assurance that inspections and audits of inspections are performed at the highest level.
We appreciate your understanding and consideration of the annual inspection process. If you have any questions, please contact Phillip Cutler, P.E., at [email protected] or (800) 366-7731.
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).