EPS Newsline

Volume 1 | Summer 2013

Issue link: http://cp.revolio.com/i/143144

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9 Newsline 6 8 Product Certification Agencies Now Offering Code Evaluation Services By Michael Beaton, P.E., Director, Product Evaluations at Intertek As ICC-ES internalizes its program to exert more control over code evaluations, product certification, and surveillance inspections, product certification agencies like Intertek are taking steps to offer equivalent services. In doing so, the principal question asked is "Will code officials accept code reports from agencies other than ICC-ES?" The answer depends on a number of factors: • Qualifications of the agency; • Requirements of the jurisdiction; • The basis for code recognition. Product certification agencies are, by definition, accredited to ISO Guide 65 (now ISO/IEC Standard 17065), which validates their procedures for certifying products as meeting specific standards. ISO Guide 65 also includes procedures to accredit a process, which is what ICC-ES and others have used to attain accreditation as a code evaluation agency. Product certification agencies offering code evaluation services are seeking similar accreditation. Most jurisdictions require research reports from an "approved source," "approved" being defined in the building codes as being approved by the code official. ICC-ES has historically been the principal provider of research reports and their reports are widely accepted by code officials. In recent years Architectural Testing, Inc. and IAPMO Evaluation Service have also issued evaluation reports and are being accepted readily. Code officials generally look for information from a credible source and, for the most part, must be inclusive and not limited to a single source of information, so as other agencies move into this service, it will be important that the code official have sufficient information as to the qualifications of the agency. They will need to see that the agency is properly accredited and that the scope of accreditation covers the subject of the evaluation report. The purpose of a research report is to provide a basis for code officials to approve alternative materials, as they are defined in the alternative materials provisions of the building codes. Note, however, that many research reports cover products that are either defined in code or have well established and industry-driven acceptance criteria. In the case where the code has multiple requirements, a research report puts the information in a single technical report that helps the code official to approve the product for its intended use. Too, some industry groups use research reports as a way of creating a level playing field among industry members. Examples of these types of products include foam plastic insulation, clay and concrete tile, and exterior insulation and finish systems. It is in these areas where product certification agencies are now offering code evaluation services. Intertek has recently announced that Intertek Research Reports (IRRs) will be made available to their certification customers. Intertek has been engaged in developing and carrying out test plans for code evaluations for the last five years. In fact, Intertek was the first testing and inspection agency to develop procedures with ICC-ES to fast-track their process.

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