By Phillip Cutler, P.E.
Once again, the NPCA Quality Assurance Committee has chosen to raise the bar on quality by making improvements and clarifying existing language in the NPCA Quality Control Manual for Precast and Prestressed Plants. The committee met during the NPCA 47th Annual Convention in New Orleans.
The 10th Edition of the manual will be effective Feb. 1, 2013, giving plants an additional 30 days to make the necessary changes to their processes and be prepared for the 2013 inspection season.
New in Chapter 1
As mentioned in my previous article (see Precast Inc. Nov-Dec 2012) and published in emails to NPCA members since August 2012, primary and backup Quality Control personnel of certified plants will be required to hold a current certificate for PQS next year. The language under Section 1.1.3, “QC Personnel Training,” will be modified to read, “Plant QC inspectors and assigned backup inspectors shall hold current certificates of completion for NPCA PQS and ACI Concrete Field Testing Technician – Grade 1.” This change in language stipulates that recertification for both PQS and ACI Concrete Field Technician – Grade 1 will occur every five years. Applicable PQS courses meeting the five-year renewal will be noted in the commentary of this section. Plant QC personnel with expired PQS certificates will have until Feb. 1, 2013, to take the PQS – Refresher course, which is now available online at precast.org.
New in Chapter 2
NPCA certified plants can expect to see a brand-new section 2.0, “Buy America,” in the 10th Edition. This new section will outline the requirements of Buy America, which will stipulate that all raw materials for federal and other projects as specified must have a certificate of origin or contain such information in the material certificate of compliance. In addition, all domestically produced materials must be stored in a separate physical location at the plant or completely segregated from non-domestically produced goods.
Clarifications in Chapter 3
Requirements under sections 188.8.131.52, 184.108.40.206 and 220.127.116.11 have been clarified for detailed and documented mix qualifications. These requirements are not new, but have been clarified by giving plants clearer language and a new form in Appendix B for mix design qualifications and testing. A new section for those plants using ultra high-performance concrete (UHPC) has also been created in section 18.104.22.168.
Clarifications in Chapter 4
As noted in my previous article, in Critical Section 4.3.3, “Positioning of Reinforcement,” the committee felt that clarification was necessary to assist plants in adapting the requirements. The section was rewritten as follows: “Verification of the reinforcing steel for conformance with the design shall be performed and documented on a minimum of one (1) reinforcing steel cage or 3% of each production run daily, whichever is greater, chosen on a random basis by QC personnel for each product category produced in the plant. At least one cage shall be checked when a shift change occurs during the course of a production run. These reinforcing steel checks shall be maintained in the plant records for a minimum of three (3) years.” In addition, the committee decided to modify all of the reinforcing steel checks throughout the manual from a frequency of “3 pieces or 3%” to “1 piece or 3%, whichever is greater.” This change was proposed to streamline all inspection criteria for certified plants.
Plant terms and conditions
The “Plant Terms and Conditions” language was also modified to state that any actions, probations, appeals and issues with inspections begin from the date of the inspection within the given calendar year of the program. More specifically, Section 6.2 will read “45 calendar days from the date of inspection.” This change was also implemented to streamline certification program management processes.
In addition, section 22.214.171.124, 126.96.36.199 and 188.8.131.52 have been changed to state that plants must notify NPCA in writing of any production shutdowns.
There were a number of editorial changes proposed in other chapters and sections of the manual such as the provision to accommodate ASTM, AASHTO and CSA standards for product-specific requirements.
For more information, contact Phillip Cutler, P.E., at [email protected], (317) 571-9500 or toll-free at (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).