Revised OPCMA contract aims to level the playing field for precast companies

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The Canadian Precast Concrete Quality Assurance (CPCQA) certification program has adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic – ensuring that inspection and audit processes remain reliable, while they are also conducted safely.

“To ensure the health and safety of all workers and the Canadian public, the audits have been moved to a virtual, interactive platform, unless an in-person COVID-19 safe audit would be absolutely necessary,” CPCQA managing director Bill LeBlanc said in a statement.

In 2007, the precast concrete industry introduced an updated audit based process certification program that is based on conformance to CSA A23.4 and related standards.

The original CPCI certification program evolved into the completely independent CPCQA certification program in late 2017 and is designed to ensure “Quality Assurance” — that is, “an ongoing system of knowledge, programs, activities, people, inspections, tests, documentation and assessment with the primary goal of ensuring projects meet their intended design and specifications,” CPCQA says in a document, noting that “specifying certification and Quality Assurance is a vital part of the National Building Code.”

The CPCQA program covers about 80 per cent of all the precast and prestressed concrete manufactured in Canada.

“The program is governed by its own Board of Directors, and an independent Quality Assurance Council (QAC) reports directly to the board,” as does LeBlanc, the statement said. “The By-Laws of the organization also have specific AEC professional seats assigned to categories of QAC membership so that the representation remains balanced to represent the various areas of expertise that will contribute to an ongoing superior certification program founded on excellence and integrity.”

The Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC) recognizes the CPCQA program as the most stringent precast concrete certification program in North America and encourages RAIC members to review and educate themselves on the attributes and benefits of the CPCQA certification program, LeBlanc says in the statement.

CPCQA “is the only program endorsed by the Canadian Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute (CPCI) and Canadian Concrete Pipe and Precast Association (CCPPA),” he wrote. “It is the only certification program in Canada that has an official quality assurance reporting program and quality conflict resolution mechanism.”

CPCQA says that during the pandemic, the intensive audit program with virtual inspection and checklist processes is maintaining its integrity, while observing social distancing requirements.

All architectural and structural precast concrete products certified plants are inspected over two days, twice annually, with unannounced audits. All precast concrete pipe, manhole sections and precast concrete drainage product certified plants are inspected over a minimum of two and up to five days (depending on the plant categories), once annually, with unannounced audits.

All audits are conducted by professional engineers.

For more information about the CPCQA program, see precastcertification.ca.

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