The IBC’s Chapter 17, Special Inspections, clarifies that regardless of the industry, it is critical to have Special Inspection Agency Companies who understand the industry enough to be able to spot deviations from firestop SYSTEM requirements.
The IBC further states that BOTH Special Inspection Agencies AND Special Inspectors need to be ‘Approved’ by the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ). This is an important distinction that the code makes – a level of quality-control built into the codes that ensures that Special Inspection Agencies are employing highly trained, qualified personnel to inspect the life-safety systems installed in fire-resistance-rated construction.
The Building Code Official may use accreditation by a third-party, independent organization that conforms to ISO 17020 – such as IAS’ AC 291 – to approve a Special Inspection Agency. Accreditation is a quantifiable verification of the Special Inspection Agency’s Management System (QMS).
Special Inspection Agencies can pursue third-party accreditation through the IAS AC 291 Accredited program.