NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Fifty years ago Ross Bryan Associates was engaged to audit plants making precast/prestressed concrete components for the construction industry.
The audits were conducted at 36 plants scattered across the U.S. under the Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute’s Plant Certification Program established in 1967 to ensure plants met national industry standards. The process has evolved and the audit program has grown significantly.
“We were the first third-party engineers contracted to audit plants under the PCI Plant Certification Program,” said Steven Qualls, vice president and managing partner of Ross Bryan Associates. “We’re honored to work closely with PCI to continuously develop their program and increase the value of certification to specifiers and project owners.”
RBA Audit, LLC, a subsidiary of the structural engineering firm, now also audits plants for the National Precast Concrete Association and is an accredited auditing agency for the International Accreditation Service, Inc. The company audits as many as 275 plants throughout the U.S., Canada and Mexico and one plant in the United Arab Emirates.
Ross Bryan Associates has a history rooted in prestressed and post-tensioned concrete structures. Firm founder Ross H. Bryan designed some of the first prestressed or post-tensioned concrete buildings and bridges in the U.S. The firm continues to design precast/prestressed concrete today, as well as a diverse range of other structural materials.
“We’re a design firm experienced in providing innovative structural engineering solutions for complex projects,” said Qualls. “So our auditors bring that design experience and unique perspective to the audit process. We also make a concerted effort to leverage our audit planning experience and provide a cost-effective solution to our clients.”
During an audit, plants are evaluated on their quality system, documentation, production procedures, management, engineering, personnel and equipment. Each plant undergoes a minimum of one unannounced audit annually, with the majority of plants receiving two or more unannounced audits annually, depending on the program under which the plant is certified. Certification confirms the plant’s capability to produce quality products.
Certification assures owners, architects, engineers and contractors that precast and prestressed concrete components are manufactured according to stringent industry standards. Specifying products from a certified plant typically means higher quality and fewer surprises during the project.