Metal building systems inspection accreditation
The International Accreditation Service (IAS) Accreditation of Inspection Programs for Manufacturers of Metal Building Systems (AC472) addresses the essential requirements necessary for code officials to deem IAS-accredited entities as approved fabricators, including inspections of fabricator and engineering design facilities, personnel requirements, product traceability, process control, ability to manufacture buildings in accordance with approved plans, and technical standards.
IAS AC472 covers three areas of quality in workmanship and building integrity: structural welding (modeled after AC172: Fabricator Inspection Programs for Structural Steel), cold-formed steel fabrication, and engineering. To achieve accreditation, the manufacturer must put in place a comprehensive quality-assurance program unequaled in the marketplace today. The IAS accreditation criteria (AC472) addresses quality management system elements for engineering, fabrication and shop practices, personnel requirements, materials certification, process control, and technical requirements. The program requires comprehensive material and workmanship traceability. Documentation will allow an owner to trace materials all the way from the maker of the steel to the erection of the finished product.
Endorsed by the Metal Building Manufacturers Association, the IAS Metal Building System Accreditation Program focuses on the inspection programs of manufacturers, their compliance with Chapter 17 of the International Building Code and the ability of a metal building manufacturer to demonstrate its technical competence as determined by initial and periodic on-site assessment by IAS and IAS-accredited inspection agencies.
Does IAS AC472 accreditation help fulfill code requirements?
Yes. The program is based on the requirements in Chapter 17 of the International Building Code. Therefore, code officials can accept IAS accreditation as sufficient evidence that manufacturers are in compliance with those requirements of the ICC code, eliminating the need for redundant in-shop inspections. AC472 does not eliminate the need for inspections at the construction site during assembly of the building. The program is based on the IAS Accreditation Criteria for Inspection Programs for Manufacturers of Metal Building Systems (AC472).
With conventional construction, I receive a set of design calculations and drawings stamped by a registered professional engineer. Why isn’t that adequate for metal building systems?
When a conventional designer selects standard beam sizes from AISC tables or out of SJI manuals, those sections are then manufactured by a fabricator. In the case of metal building systems, the design and fabricating processes are customized and require ongoing communications between the engineering and fabricating teams. The only way to be assured that these functions are being properly integrated is to require that the supplier have AC472 accreditation.
Did code officials have a role in developing the IAS AC472 accreditation program?
Absolutely. The IAS AC472 accreditation criteria went through an open public hearing where it was subject to review, revision and final approval by code officials that make up the IAS Accreditation Committee. The criteria are also subject to continuous review and revision at periodic IAS accreditation committee meetings.
Why require an accredited manufacturer?
IAS is a subsidiary of the International Code Council. Requiring an AC472-accredited manufacturer provides an extra level of assurance that the building supplier’s engineering/order/design/ fabrication processes all conform to high-quality standards and are evaluated by a respected independent third party.
Other advantages, which expedite the building approval process, include: building officials can deem AC472-accredited manufacturers as approved fabricators as defined in Chapter 17 of the International Building Code; elimination of additional inspections; cost savings to verify code compliance of metal building fabrication; and assurance the metal building manufacturer’s staff has a well-qualified management system in place.
What if I already have a program in place for approving metal building systems?
To complement and supplement your program, we recommend that you also require approvals for manufacturers to be accredited to IAS AC472. This will help standardize assessments across jurisdictions around the country, which could result in new businesses coming to your community.
How does a fabricator apply for accreditation?
The IAS application, fees, accreditation criteria and related documents are available on the IAS website.
How does IAS AC472 save fabricators money?
The IAS accreditation program has made a significant impact on fabricators’ bottom line due to the management system required for accreditation. For example, the accreditation criteria require training and job qualifications for personnel, as well as formal policies and procedures for acquiring materials, calibrating equipment, welding, designing and inspecting jobs. All of these steps enable fabricators to improve production and lower costs by reducing the time and materials required for reworking jobs due to errors.
How does IAS AC472 accreditation help to best utilize a building department’s resources?
Building departments that use the IAS 472 accreditation program save staff time and resources that would otherwise be required to manage the application process, assessments, maintenance and publication of an approved list of manufacturers that are qualified to design and fabricate metal building systems.
Did the IAS AC472 Accreditation Program replace the AISC-MB certification?
Yes, the IAS AC472 accreditation program, replaced the AISC-MB certification in 2009. The AISC and MBMA jointly decided to end AISC’s sponsorship of the Metal Building Certification Program. MBMA and IAS collaborated to develop the metal building accreditation program over a nine-month time frame, from August 2007 through April 2008. The AC 472 program was developed through IAS’s open public hearing process under the auspices of code officials that comprise the IAS Accreditation Committee. The effort culminated in unanimous approval of AC472 on April 8, 2008.
Where do I find a list of companies accredited to AC472?
How often are the fabricators assessed under AC472?
Manufacturers are evaluated annually by IAS in addition to two unannounced on-site inspections of the firm’s design and manufacturing facilities to confirm that the appropriate standards are in place and being applied. This assures building officials that the manufacturer has continually implemented comprehensive quality assurance processes in place that provide high-quality, reliable buildings that are built to code.
If I require that only AC472-accredited companies can bid projects in my jurisdiction, will I be restricting competition such that construction costs unfairly rise?
No. The IAS accreditation program was developed to create a level playing field for manufacturers who have demonstrated competence to supply code-compliant building systems. There are a significant number of companies with multiple accredited facilities throughout the U.S. who can provide you with competitive choices.
How do I contact IAS?
Sandra McCracken, IAS Director of Construction and Industrial Relations
Ph: (562) 364-8201, Ext: 3442
Toll-free phone number: 1-866-427-4422
Fax: (562) 699-8031
IAS general email: firstname.lastname@example.org