Plant Certification Program 2014

By Phillip Cutler, P.E.

What’s in store for NPCA Certified Plants in the 11th Edition of the NPCA Quality Control Manual for Precast and Prestressed Concrete Plants?

The NPCA Quality Assurance Committee met during the June Committee Week sessions in Indianapolis. The committee is dedicated to making timely changes and improvements to the requirements in the manual and propelling the NPCA Certification Program forward, and has voted again this year to raise the bar on quality in a number of areas.

The latest changes will include several important updates, but perhaps the most significant is new language under Section 8.2 of the Plant Terms and Conditions concerning the use of the plant certification mark and logo. Major updates to the QC Manual that will be incorporated into the 11th Edition are covered:

  • Chapter 2, Section 2.3.1, “Lifting Devices and Lifting Apparatuses,” and Chapter 5, Section 5.1.1. “Raw Material Test Records” – Under these two sections, additional language will note the new requirement for certified plants to obtain a certificate of compliance from suppliers of embedded lifting devices. The certificate of compliance shall include statements for the type of device and that it meets or exceeds OSHA 29 CFR 1926.704 when compared to the listed catalog rating for the device. The example certificate developed by the NPCA Product Lifting System Task Force can be found on the NPCA website at
  • Chapter 3, Section 3.2.8, “Ready-Mixed Concrete” – The committee reviewed the language and requirements of this section and determined that no changes are required at this time. NPCA staff was requested to look further into the requirements of this section and report their findings at the next conference call.

Critical Sections

  • Chapter 4, Sections 4.2.1, “Fabrication of Reinforcement” – The committee reviewed the language and requirements of this section and determined that no modifications are necessary. Certified plants should validate that they have a detailed reinforcing steel plan document in place for each product manufactured at the plant. This detailed plan shall include fabrication tolerances for applicable precast products and/or any project-specific requirements. If no tolerances have been established or references given, then the plant shall specify the tolerance scheme on the reinforcing steel detail plan or in the plant-specific quality control manual.
  • Chapter 4, Section 4.3.3, “Positioning of Reinforcement” – The committee voted to define “development length” in the commentary section.
  • Chapter 5, Section 5.1.1, “Raw Material Test Records” – The committee added to the list of required records to include an annual certificate of compliance.
  • Chapter 5, Table a, under Section 5.3.6, “Plant Requirements” – The Committee reviewed and validated the tables concerning frequency of quality control operations. A certification of compliance for lifting devices under Table 5.3.6a, “Material Certifications and Equipment Calibration,” was added as an annual requirement as noted in 2.3.1 and 5.1.1.
  • Chapter 6, Section 6.2.2 Three-Edge Bearing (TEB) Testing – The committee voted unanimously to align the testing frequency requirements of the TEB tests with the frequencies that are currently in place for the ACPA QCast Plant Certification Program.

Plant Terms and Conditions

  • Section 8.2, “Certification,” – New subsection 8.2.6

Likely the most significant change in the manual was the addition of language found in a new subsection 8.2.6 of the Plant Terms and Conditions and on all Plant Certification application and contract documents. The new language outlines the consequences and potential penalties for fraudulent use of the NPCA Plant Certification Program mark and logo.

The committee drafted and implemented this language when it was discovered that multiple precast plants were using the mark and logo in a fraudulent manner.

All NPCA members and certified plants are asked to be vigilant regarding these types of violations and notify NPCA immediately of fraudulent use. DOTs and specifying agencies have been made aware of this fraudulent activity and have been provided with information to determine on a real time basis the certification status of any plant that is currently certified under the NPCA Plant Certification Program.

More information can be found at

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).


  1. Sean Freeman says

    Is the addition to table a from 5.3.6 referring to embedded lifting devices, or lifting devices such as slings, spreader beams, clevises, etc?

  2. says

    Hi Sean,

    Thank you for your comment! Phil Cutler, NPCA’s VP of Technical Services, will be making an update to the Quality Control Manual in response to your question. If you have any further questions, please contact him via e-mail.

  3. Daniel Tilkens says

    Section Wetcast clearly contradicts ASTM C31 by stating “For wet-cast concrete, specimens shall be from 6-inch diameter by 12 inch high cylinders unless the nominal maximum aggregate size is 3/4 inch or smaller, in which case 4-inch diameter by 8-inch high cylinders may be used. Compressive strength cylinders shall be made in accordance with ASTM C31, Standard Practice for Making and Curing Concrete Test Specimens in the Field”. With that said, ASTM C31 “Testing Requirements” states “The number and size of cylinders cast shall be as directed by the specifier of the tests. In addition, the length shall be twice the diameter and the cylinder diameter shall be at least 3 times the nominal maximum size of the coarse aggregate”. With our coarse aggregate nominal size of 1 inch, 4-inch diameter by 8-inch high cylinders are acceptable. Will you be revising this section ?

  4. says

    Hi Daniel,

    Phil Cutler, our vice president of Technical Services, will be in touch with you regarding your comment. I have passed along your contact information so that you two can get in touch.

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