FCIA’s Accreditation Committee collaborated with FM Approvals to build FM 4991, Standard for the Approval of Firestop Contractors (FM 4991) and UL-ULC on the Qualified Firestop Contractor Programs (UL QFCP), building voluntary, independent, third-party accreditation programs for Specialty Firestop Installation Contractors. FCIA also worked with International Accreditation Services (IAS) to build an independent, third-party accreditation program for Special Inspection Agencies, the IAS AC 291 Accredited program.
Firestop Contractor and Special Inspection Agency companies who pursue third-party accreditation stand out as being among the best in the industry. Accreditation allows Specialty Firestop Installation Contractor and Firestop Special Inspection Agency companies to set themselves apart from those who do not specialize in the industry.
FM 4991 & UL-ULC QUALIFIED FIRESTOP CONTRACTOR PROGRAMS
Firestop Installation Contractors who have been in business for two years or longer can become FM Approved under the FM 4991, Standard for the Approval of Firestop Contractors program or Qualified under the UL-ULC Qualified Firestop Contractor program.
FM 4991 Approved and UL-ULC Qualified Contractors demonstrate that their company complies with an international standard for quality of firestop installations. These programs not only raise the quality of work being done, but they also provide ongoing compliance due to the annual audits by FM Approvals or UL-ULC. Further, they improve Firestop Contractor operations, resulting in better installations and inspections and safer buildings.
Becoming an FM 4991 Approved or UL-ULC Qualified Contractor is optional. Master Specifications requiring FM 4991 Approved and/or UL-ULC Qualified Firestop Contractors can be found worldwide and are specified in some building types as much as 75% of the time.
This movement — to FCIA Member, FM 4991 Approved, and/or UL-ULC Qualified Firestop Contractors – breeds an environment where firestop systems are installed correctly the first time and function as intended should they be called upon by fire and/or smoke.
Both the FM 4991 Approved program and UL-ULC Qualified Firestop Contractor program are company-based accreditation programs with an individual knowledge component. Accredited companies have made an organization-wide commitment to excellence in their craft through an investment in talent and operational efficiency, as well as a strong financial investment in program participation.
- An individual within the company pass a rigorous written exam every three (3) years*. Once the company completes all the steps for accreditation, this individual then becomes the DRI, or Designated Responsible Individual. The DRI maintains the company’s compliance with the program requirements, including their own continued education every 36 months*.
- The accrediting organization (FM Approvals or UL-ULC) conducts an initial audit of the firestop contractor company’s Quality Management System (QMS) based on the company Management System Manual. This involves an on-site review of the implemented company policies and procedures, the company’s Management System Manual, and a jobsite audit(s) to verify that field operations are following the procedures and policies outlined in the Management System Manual.
- FM Approvals or UL-ULC conduct an annual follow-up and audit to ensure the company’s continued compliance with program requirements and the policies outlined in the company’s QMS Manual.
Once a company becomes FM 4991 Approved or UL-ULC Qualified and pays the fees, they assign a Designated Responsible Individual (DRI) – the individual who passed the FM Firestop Exam for FM 4991 or the UL-ULC Firestop Exam for UL-ULC QFCP – to oversee the program. These companies are listed at www.FCIA.org and the accrediting company website.
When the Contractor is an FM 4991 Approved or UL-ULC Qualified Specialty Firestop Installation Contractor, then is inspected by an IAS AC 291 Accredited Special Inspection Agency with educated Inspectors, the result is firestop systems installed and verified for protection.
Working with FCIA Member FM 4991 Approved or UL-ULC Qualified Companies provides all parties involved in the construction process – from specification and design to construction, inspection agency to building owner and manager and building occupants – firestop systems installed correctly. Firestopping done right the first time is the best line of defense should fire and smoke attack the building.
To find an FM 4991 Approved or UL-ULC Qualified Firestop Contractor near you, visit FCIA’s Member List.
SPECIAL INSPECTION AGENCY ACCREDITATION
Special Inspection Agency accreditation is available through the International Accreditation Services, IAS AC 291 Accreditation for Special Inspection Agencies, Firestop Section.
IAS AC 291 Accreditation of Special Inspection Agencies (IAS AC 291) is a voluntary, company-based management system-based accreditation program with an individual knowledge component. Accredited companies have made an organization-wide commitment to excellence in inspections.
Companies must complete several steps outlined in the Accreditation Criteria for Special Inspection Agencies AC 291 including:
- Document the company Management System – procedures for inspection;
- Employ Special Inspectors who meet the criteria outlined in the Criteria Requirement for Special Inspectors, passing the FM or UL Firestop Exam;
- Request a Quote for Accreditation;
- Pass an initial, and then annual follow-up, IAS home office and field assessment (audit) of the Management System.
*DRI’s under all three accreditation programs must re-test or provide verification of eligible continued education credits every three (3) years. CEU requirements vary based on the program. For more information on specific program requirements, please visit the FM 4991 Approved, UL-ULC Qualified, or IAS AC 291 Accredited information pages.