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How Do Special Inspection Agencies Become Approved Agencies?

The first approval required by the Building Official or AHJ is to appoint the Special Inspection Agency as the ‘Approved’ Agency’.

An ‘Approved Agency’ is “an established and recognized agency regularly engaged in conducting tests or furnishing inspection services, when such agency has been approved” (IBC 2018 202. Definitions). 

The Special Inspection Agency must provide the AHJ “all information as necessary for the Building Official to determine if the Agency meets the applicable requirements in Sections 1703.1,.1-1703.1.3”.  (IBC 2018 1703- Approvals, then, 1703.1 Approved Agency). 

Further, the Special Inspection Agency must “provide written documentation to the building official demonstrating the competence and relevant experience or training of the special inspectors…”(IBC 2018 1704.2.1)

Once the Agency is approved by the AHJ, the company is required to provide an “Independence Statement”:

  • Independence – The Approved Agency shall be objective, competent and independent from the contractor (IBC 2018 1703.1.1);
  • Equipment – An Approved Agency shall have adequate equipment (IBC 2018 1703.1.2); and
  • Personnel – An Approved Agency shall employ personnel educated in conducting, supervising and evaluating tests and special inspections (IBC 2018 1703.1.3).

The IBC also delves further into the Special Inspector qualifications and the procedure for their approval by the AHJ, a process that is initiated once the Agency is ‘Approved’.