NPCA, PCI clarify certification requirements for products and structures

The National Precast Concrete Association and the Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute have issued a joint document to alleviate marketplace confusion regarding certification programs for precast and prestressed concrete products. The document allows specifiers to easily determine whether products require NPCA or PCI certification, or if either is allowable. The clarification ensures the accurate specification of certification programs, and that all appropriately certified plants can bid on a project.

“The clarification this document provides is a service to specifiers, as well as to members of both organizations,” says NPCA President Fred Grubbe. “Precast concrete products continue to be a critical component of our nation’s infrastructure projects and will be even more prominent when Congress passes a national infrastructure bill in the near future.”

“Members from both organizations have worked together to provide more clarity to owners and specifiers, as well as to our membership and the industry, to ensure that precast and prestressed concrete products remain at the highest possible quality. The ultimate goal is customer satisfaction,” adds PCI President and CEO Bob Risser, P.E.

NPCA and PCI plant certification programs are widely accepted, independent and third party-audited. Working together on plant certification has been a priority for both organizations since 2013 as part of a wider effort to align key programs, including annual trade shows; market development and government affairs activities; technical and safety materials; plus, education and training offerings. NPCA and PCI represent nearly 1,500 precast and prestressed concrete producers, precast erectors and industry equipment or material suppliers. Their memberships also span 3,500-plus architects, engineers, consultants, contractors, developers, service providers, educators and students.

Separately, the NPCA Board recently established the Research and Development Advisory Council (RDAC) to serve as a clearinghouse for all association research projects and make recommendations regarding topics, approvals and funding. Directors have also established a Research and Development Fund to support future projects under the Council, and will designate a portion of any year-end surplus dollars accordingly.

Ideas for research projects initially will be vetted within appropriate NPCA committees. If approved, committees will submit an approved-project proposal to RDAC to consider funding—subject to Board nod. The Council kicks off with two projects: 1) a North Carolina State University study of precast concrete gravity grease interceptor performance, responding to a Water and Wasterwater Committee task force proposal; and, 2) continuation of corrosion research targeting tank modifications to reduce hydrogen sulfide concentrations. Chairing RDAC is Mike Hoffman, chief executive officer of Ohio-based Lindsay Precast and 2018-19 NPCA chairman. Additional information on RDAC activities can be obtained from NPCA Vice President of Technical Services and Professional Development Marti Harrell.

The Transportation Products category has the greatest number of NPCA and PCI crossover references in the Joint Certification Products List, which is posted at for design and construction professionals seeking to clarify or confirm bidding plant or producer eligibility.

ASTM International has been accepted for membership in the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) Private Sector Alliance for Disaster Resilient Societies (ARISE). The latter focuses on mitigating effects of disasters, risk-informed capital assets and investments, and resilient infrastructure. It advocates for risk-informed development by supporting private and public sectors to develop and follow policies to reduce disaster risk and losses, and build resilient business practices to prevent social and economic loss from disasters. It also facilitates private sector adoption of business practices that prevent the creation of risk and enhance recovery from disasters—in line with the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030.

“We believe ASTM’s commitment to the Sendai Framework and the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, and our other ongoing resilience efforts will bring valuable insight to ARISE and the global disaster risk reduction community,” says ASTM International Vice President of Global Cooperation Teresa Cendrowska.

ASTM International has put an emphasis on resilience recently with an ongoing Resilience in Construction Webinar Series. Past topics have included construction materials, wildfire vulnerability and windborne debris. ASTM will host two October workshops covering community and building component plus transportation resilience.