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How Does A Special Inspection Agency Get IAS AC 291 Accredited?

IAS AC 291 Accreditation is similar to the FM 4991 Standard for the Approval of Firestop Contractors and the UL-ULC Qualified Firestop Contractor Programs because it also focuses on the company’s Management System. The difference is that it is designed for the ‘Approved Agency’ — a Special Inspection Agency.

The ‘Approved Agency’ is an entity (Sole Proprietor, LLC, C-Corp, S-Corp) that employs an ‘Approved’ Special Inspector(s). Although the IAS AC 291 Accreditation focuses on the company, the inspectors working for the firm are tested for knowledge in the disciplines inspected. The FM Firestop Exam and UL-ULC Firestop Exam prove the knowledge needed to inspect firestopping. IAS AC 291 Accreditation is not mandatory for ‘Approval’ of the Agency; and, other organizations may have programs similar to IAS AC 291.

Special Inspection Agency companies who want to get accredited under IAS AC 291 Accreditation must:

Once the IAS AC 291 application, program fee, and Management System (MS) documentation has been received, IAS will review and audit/assess the Special Inspection Agency Company seeking Accreditation and will provide written feedback. The review comments are based on adequacy of compliance to the requirements of IAS AC 291 requirements.

The Special Inspection Agency needs to review the written response from IAS. If further revisions are needed to the MS documentation, the firm will need to revise the Management System and resubmit. IAS staff reviews revisions and determines if all requirements of IAS AC 291 have been satisfied.

Once the MS documentation is satisfactory, IAS will conduct a field and office visit audit/assessment of the Special Inspection Agency’s home office. Typically, an IAS AC 291 assessment* requires two (2) IAS personnel and 2 days. One person will be in the field assessing a sampling of the inspectors (1 or 2 inspectors), and one person will be in the office reviewing the implementation of the documented MS. At the conclusion of the assessment, IAS presents a written report of the assessment findings.

If the assessment findings are satisfactory, IAS will prepare a Certificate of Accreditation and send a preliminary copy of the certificate to the Special Inspection Agency for review and approval. IAS will finalize the certificate after written approval is received from the applicant company.

If the assessment findings are not satisfactory, the Special Inspection Agency has 30-days to submit a written response to the findings, if any. IAS staff will review the written response and make a determination of its adequacy. If the response is not satisfactory, further correspondence may be required.

Accreditation under IAS AC 291 is valid for one year. IAS will reassess the Special Inspection Agency on an annual basis.

*IAS will invoice the assessment cost to the Special Inspection Agency directly . The costs will include assessment time, travel time and travel costs for the office and field visit for 2-persons (airfare, hotel, car, food, parking, mileage, etc.). IAS will combine assessments with multiple clients to apportion the travel fare and travel time costs.

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