FPCA Plant Certification is the Lowest Priced Prestressed Concrete Certification Program in the Nation. It Has Been Fully Reviewed by the Florida Department of Transportation and Was Judged Superior to Other Prestressed Concrete Certification Programs. The FPCA Plant Certification Program is Transferable to Other States Where PCI certification is Accepted. No Organization Membership is Required.
PURPOSE - The Plant Certification Program of the Florida Prestressed Concrete Association has been established to certify that participating plants are capable of producing prestressed precast concrete products with a required level of competence and to a defined level of quality that is recognized as standard for the industry. It must be emphasized that certification only confirms the capability of the plant to produce a quality product, and does not certify the quality of each product manufactured.
This capability is confirmed through regular periodic independent plant inspection/reviews of the organization, facilities, production procedures and effective in-house quality assurance program.
Participation in a Plant Certification Program provides plant management with a positive means to achieve quality, promotes quality awareness throughout the plant, and has proven to be cost-effective.
IMPLEMENTATION - A Plant Certification Committee is established within FPCA to administer this Program. This Committee implements the policies and directions as issued by the Board of Directors of FPCA. It ensures that inspections are standardized and that certified plants remain current with their inspections. It approves the Inspection Engineers and oversees the Plant Certification Program. Records of the Program are maintained at the offices of the Executive Director of FPCA, and certification certificates and other awards are issued by that office.
The Committee will oversee the administration of the Plant Certification Program and the determination of the status of certification for each plant. The Committee retains, to assist in its work, a Qualifying Certification Engineer, who is a professional engineer registered in the State of Florida, and who has at least ten years of experience in the design and production of prestressed precast products. The Executive Director of FPCA will check Applications for Certification and Inspection Reviews only for accuracy and completeness.
ELIGIBILITY - Any prestressed concrete company that has been in operation for at least two years is eligible to participate in the Plant Certification Program. A company that does not meet this eligibility criterion, but has adequate experience in management and personnel, may petition the Certification Committee for acceptance of an Application for Certification. If one company operates production facilities in more than one location, certification must be obtained for each operating location. This Program is open to all companies; a company need not belong to the Florida Prestressed Concrete Association to participate, nor is certification a requirement for membership in FPCA. This Program does not in any way attempt to limit competition among prestressed concrete manufacturers or prevent any producer from bidding on any project.
MINIMUM STANDARDS - Plant certification will be obtained through a thorough inspection/review of the organization, facilities, production procedures and effective in-house quality assurance program. This inspection/review will be based upon adherence to accepted industry standards for quality assurance as defined by the Prestressed Concrete Institute Manual for Quality Control for Plants and Production of Precast Prestressed Concrete Products, MNL-116, and Manual for Quality Control for Plants and Production of Architectural Precast Concrete Products, MNL-117. A brief summary of these standards is contained in the FPCA Plant Certification Guidelines. The inspection/review must be conducted by a professional engineer with extensive experience in the field of prestressed concrete, who must rely on his professional expertise in determining a plant's compliance with these requirements.
Other standards, specifications, codes and manuals of the Prestressed Concrete Institute, American Concrete Institute, Florida Department of Transportation and other agencies may be used as reference materials in evaluating compliance with the requirements for certification. Some of these other documents are listed in Appendix B of the Plant Certification Guidelines.
Application Form - The initial application by a plant for certification must be made using the FPCA Application for Plant Certification. This application will include a brief description of the plant, names of key personnel, a list of major projects completed in the preceding twelve months, and the name of the proposed Inspection Engineer. Click here for an Application Form.
Inspection Engineer - The inspection must be made by an FPCA-approved Inspection Engineer. This engineer may be selected from a list of pre-approved Inspection Engineers, or the Application for Certification must be accompanied by an application for approval of another Inspection Engineer. This application may simply be in the form of a letter to FPCA from the engineer requesting such approval, accompanied by his résumé. This engineer must be a professional engineer registered in the state where the plant is located, and must have at least ten years of experience in the design and/or production of prestressed precast concrete, or related experience. The inspection engineer must be completely independent from the plant management, personnel or ownership, and must agree to attend an annual workshop conducted by the FPCA Certification Committee to work on standards and inspection criteria to develop uniformity throughout the program and to continue the development of the program. Professional engineers may apply to FPCA independently for approval as Inspection Engineers. Approved Inspection Engineers must attend the annual workshop to maintain their approved status. Inspection Engineers who fail to attend the workshop must re-apply for approval.
Application Fee - Each Application for Certification and each application for approval as an Inspection Engineer must be accompanied by the appropriate application fee from the Fee Schedule.
Review of Application - Applications for Certification and applications and résumés of proposed Inspection Engineers will be reviewed by the FPCA Qualifying Certification Engineer and the Certification Committee, and applicants will be notified of acceptance or rejection within 15 days after receipt of the applications by FPCA.
Inspection Engineer - The inspection engineer must be pre-approved by the Certification Committee of FPCA before the inspection can be conducted.
Frequency of Inspections - The initial inspection/review must be made within 30 days after notification of approval by FPCA of the Application for Certification. Subsequent inspection/reviews must be made at least two times in each 12 month period, with not longer than nine months nor less than four months between inspections. One of the two inspection/reviews will be unannounced. Plants may request that unscheduled spot inspections be made.
Inspection/Review - Each inspection/review will encompass a complete production cycle, and will be made using the FPCA Program Review Form. This form is divided into several sections, each with specific elements to be inspected or reviewed. Each element has a numerical value, which will be graded by the inspection engineer. All elements given less than the maximum grade must be accompanied by comments indicating the reason for failure.
Criteria for Certification - Certain elements on the Program Review Form are indicated as "Mandatory," and all of these mandatory functions must be satisfied for certification. Other elements are assigned a numerical value, and in order to be certified, the plant must satisfy at least 70 percent of the numerical value of each section and 80 percent of the weighted value of all sections.
Reinspections - If, as the result of the inspection/review, the plant does not qualify for certification, the plant may request a reinspection within 8 weeks after notification of failure. This reinspection must be conducted by the same Inspection Engineer, and may consist of a full inspection/review, a partial inspection/review of deficient area(s) or it may be as simple as submitting to the Inspection Engineer copies of documentation showing compliance with some particular deficiency. The scope and adequacy of the reinspection will be reviewed and accepted or rejected by the Certification Committee. If a plant fails the reinspection, it may not re-apply for a period of 12 months.
Review of Inspection Results - Immediately after or within no more than 7 days after the inspection, the Inspection Engineer will review the inspection results with plant management. The Inspection Engineer will submit the written and graded report, sealed with his professional engineer's seal, to the plant management and to the Executive Director of FPCA within two weeks after the inspection. The inspection report will be reviewed, and if the certification criteria are satisfied, and the plant will be notified of verification of certification within six weeks after the inspection.
Appeals - All plants have the right of appeal of inspection findings with which they disagree. The appeal must be made in writing to the Executive Director of FPCA within 30 days after notification of failure. The Certification Committee will review the appeal and will either approve or deny the appeal within an additional 15 days. The findings of the Committee will be final.
Confidentiality - All inspection reports, results of inspections, documents and proceedings pertaining to plant certification will be maintained in the offices of the Executive Director of FPCA, and will be held confidential and not released for any reason without written authorization by the plant.
Initial Certification - When a plant has initially fulfilled the criteria for certification, the plant will be officially notified by verification of certification from the Certification Committee.
Continuing Certification - Upon successful completion of the semi-annual inspection/reviews and payment of scheduled fees, a plant will continue its certified status.
Probationary Certification - If a previously certified plant does not pass a required inspection/review, it will retain its certification on a probationary basis until reinspection in accordance with paragraph 6.5, above. If the plant does not pass the reinspection, it will be decertified, and may not reapply for certification for a period of 12 months. Appeals may be made in accordance with paragraph 6.6, above.
Inactive Status - If a certified plant temporarily discontinues production, it may request in writing to the Executive Director of FPCA that it be placed on an inactive status, during which time plant inspections will not be required. If a plant remains inactive for longer than 9 months, it must have a reinspection within 30 days after resumption of production.
Awards - Upon notification of Verification of Certification by the Certification Committee, the Executive Director of FPCA will award to the plant a Certificate of Certification. This certificate will be in a form which may be photocopied for inclusion with bids, etc. Other awards to be billed on a direct cash basis will include:
PROGRAM COSTS - Professional fees and other costs for the plant inspection/reviews will be paid by FPCA directly to the Inspection Engineer. The cost of administration of this program will be paid through the application fees submitted with the Applications for Certification and applications for approval as Inspection Engineer, in accordance with the Fee Schedule.