Inspection Agency Accreditation
IAS AC 291 - Firestopping - Special Inspection Agency Accreditation for Firestop System Inspection Companies
FCIA has invested resources in the proper DIIM, Design, Installation, Inspection and Maintenance of Firestopping. Inspection is needed in addition to a FCIA Member Specialty Firestop Contractor to verify that the quality process is working.
Important Inspection Initiatives from FCIA included development of the ASTM E 2174 & ASTM E 2393 Standards for the Inspection of Penetration and Joint Firestopping, and adding Firestopping to IAS' AC 291 Accreditation for Special Inspection Agencies, FM 4991 and the UL Qualified Firestop Contractor Program. The IAS AC 291 for Special Inspection Agencies focuses on the company management system. FM and UL Contractors have their own staff inspecting their own work as part of their management system. The ASTM E 2174 and ASTM E 2393 Inspection Standards are performed by a third party firm to verify that the contractor's management system is in order.
FCIA proposed that Firestopping be added to International Accreditation Services (IAS) Accreditation Criteria AC 291, the Criteria Special Inspection Agencies to build a management system based program with an individual knowledge element in it for special inspection agencies. As a result, there is a program available for Firestop Inspection Agencies to become accredited by IAS. The program focuses on the Company, with the inspectors working for the firm also tested for knowledge to the FM and UL Firestop Exams.
This program is very similar to the FM 4991 Approval and UL Qualified Firestop Contractor Programs, but specifically designed for Inspection Agencies.
FCIA Member, IAS Accredited Firestop Inspection Firms
#) Inspector Firms with branches
*) Inspector Firms that are a branch of another member
Firestop Inspection Agencies, Want to become an IAS Accredited Firestop Inspection Firm?
Below are key items to be noted for agencies who wish to be accredited under this program:
- The Special Inspection Agency (SIA) needs to document its Quality Management System under the requirements of Sections 3,4 and 5 of AC291. Check out the document.
- The SIA firm needs to have personnel who meet Section 6.11 (pass the UL or FM DRI Exams – based on FCIA’s Manual of Practice) and applicable items under Appendix A must be addressed in the quality documentation.
- Submit an application indicating their scope of accreditation.
- Submit an application fee as noted in the application fee schedule.
- Plus, if the inspection agency is also providing inspection services in addition to the firestop systems (such as spray fire resistive materials, welding) indicate them in the application and accordingly address in the quality system documentation.
Here’s how the IAS review and assessment process works:
- After receipt of application, fee and quality system documentation, IAS staff will review the submittal and provide written feedback. The review comments are based on adequacy of compliance of the quality documentation to the requirements of IAS AC291 requirements.
- The SIA needs to review the written response from IAS and if further revisions are needed to the Quality Management System documentation, the firm will need to revise the quality documentation accordingly. IAS staff will re-review the revisions and will determine if all requirements of AC291 documentation has been satisfied
- Once the quality system documentation is satisfactory, IAS will coordinate with the applicant SIA(s), field and office visit assessment. Usually, IAS expects the assessment per SIA (depending on the size of the inspection agency) to be 1.5 days or 2-days. Meaning, 2-persons conducting an assessment in 1-day. One person will be in the field assessing a sampling of the inspectors (1 or 2 inspectors) and 1 person in the office reviewing the implementation of the documented quality system as per AC291. At the conclusion of the assessment, IAS should be able to present a written report of the assessment findings.
- The SIA has 30-days to submit a written response to the assessment findings, if any. IAS staff will review the written response and make a determination of its adequacy. If response is not satisfactory, further correspondence may result.
- If assessment findings are satisfactory, IAS will prepare a Certificate of Accreditation and send a preliminary copy of the certificate to the SIA for review and approval. IAS will finalize the certificate after written approval is received from the SIA.
- The certificate is valid for one year. IAS will reassess the SIA on an annual basis (see attached flow chart).
- IAS will invoice the assessment cost to the SIA towards the office and field visit for 2-persons. The costs will include assessment time, travel time and travel costs (airfare, hotel, car, food, parking, mileage, etc.). IAS will combine assessments with multiple clients to apportion the travel fare and travel time costs.