Metal Architecture Home

Approval of AC478: Hit it Out of the Park!

Gary T Smith New

The MBCEA mission is to support the professional advancement of metal building contractors and erectors, and our industry

On Feb. 9, the International Accreditation Service (IAS) convened to review new programs and/or modifications to existing programs. Eleven members sit on the Accreditation Committee and represent engineering and code officials from around the world.

The IAS, a subsidiary of the International Code Council, is an internationally recognized accreditation body, which has been providing accreditation services since 1975. It accredits a wide range of companies and organizations including governmental entities, commercial businesses and professional associations. It provides objective evidence that an organization operates at the highest level of ethical, legal and technical standards. IAS programs are based on recognized national and international standards that ensure domestic and/or global acceptance of its accreditations.

Agenda item 11 was AC-478: Accreditation Criteria for Inspection Practices of Metal Building Assemblers; a program conceived and developed by the Metal Building Contractors and Erectors Association (MBCEA) in conjunction with the IAS. Representatives of the MBCEA Accreditation Committee including Tim Seyler, Jackie Meiluta, Mike Reynolds, Mark Bailey, Dave Bergholz, Tom Gilligan and Kenny Waugh, along with Lee Schumacher, Ph.D., and Dan Walker of the Metal Building Manufacturers Association, were present to express support for our program. During the presentation, the committee asked, "Why are you doing this? There is no code that requires it." Our mission statement says it all: We are doing it for the professional advancement of metal building contractors and erectors and our industry.

Prior to the formal vote, Raj Nathan, IAS vice president of operations, acknowledged Gary Smith's contributions and the hard work of the MBCEA. Chuck Armani, IAS president, commented on the relevance of the MBCEA bringing this program to the IAS and that we should be applauded for our vision and foresight. IAS Committee chairman, Thomas Phillips, who is also the chair of the state of Oregon's Building Codes Division, thanked us. He commented that our presence, and input to the committee, was pivotal in enabling the committee to fully understand and, therefore, support this program. Lastly, there was a formal motion to accept the recommendation of IAS program manager, Sandi McCracken, and authorize AC478 with an effective date of July 1, 2015. All members of the committee voted in favor and our program was approved.

With the acceptance and approval of our accreditation program for metal building assemblers by IAS, the day will be remembered as a milestone day. On behalf of the MBCEA, we would like to formally thank everyone who participated in getting this done. It was truly a team effort and a perfect example of the power of the MBCEA. Members coming together for the good of membership and industry!

Erection firms now have a standard to which they can aspire, be measured and held accountable. Contractors and erectors can now prove they have the personnel, organization, experience, knowledge, management procedures and commitment to assemble metal building systems. AC478 will level the playing field and improve the end product. However, acceptance and approval of this program is only a first step.

It will only succeed and have purpose once we begin to develop our firms and assist others to achieve the standards established in the program, and when our membership boasts a strong network of accredited assemblers. Also know, it will only succeed when manufacturers, architects, specifiers and owners require AC478 in their erection specs thus ensuring their buildings are assembled to a measurable standard.

The MBCEA is prepared to assist and train their members to help them achieve AC478. We have a full year of training planned, most notably at our conference. We urge you to attend the 46th Annual Conference April 30 to May 1 at the Bahia Resort Hotel, San Diego. Attend not only for AC478 training but because we have an outstanding list of classes and speakers with an underlying focus of "Best Practice from the MBCEA Network." Topics will cover:


  • IAS accreditation and a workshop on how to prepare
  • Contract negotiations
  • Dealing with conflict on the job site
  • Development of an erector from HR evaluation to job-site documentation
  • Job management through communication and documentation
  • And even mobile technology

Tom Gilligan, president of Butler Manufacturing, Kansas City, Mo., and vice chairman of the MBMA will speak on the state of the industry. Jerry Gaston from Nucor Building Systems, Waterloo, Ind., will speak on the millennial generation. Representatives from ATAS International, Allentown, Pa., will educate us about transpired solar collectors. People from Silvercote Inc., Solon, Ohio, will challenge our readiness in preparing for ever-changing building requirements and energy codes.

Metl-Span, Lewisville, Texas, representatives will discuss installation techniques for insulated metal panels. Gene Mitchell, founder of Tension Control Bolting Inc., Long Beach, Calif., will speak on the theory behind bolt tightening. Rob Haddock, founder, S-5!, Colorado Spring, Colo., will review the Roof Service Life Report, and Chuck Howard, of Metal Roof Consultants, Cary, N.C., will speak on re-roofing. A few more classes are in the works; the final, jam-packed schedule is available on the MBCEA website. The MBCEA Conference is the best place to educate your key team and network with your peers. We hope to see you there!

Can't attend the conference, but want to know more? Join the MBCEA, get involved. Details and information about our programs and membership are available at

# # #

Gary T. Smith is president of Thomas Phoenix International Inc., Mount Holly, N.J. He serves as president of the Metal Building Contractors and Erectors Association, chair of the Metal Buildings Institute Apprenticeship Committee and chair of the MBCEA Accreditation Review Committee. He is an outspoken proponent of training and education for the metal building industry.

Tim Seyler is president of S&S Structures Inc., Fleetwood, Pa. He is immediate past president of the Metal Building Contractors and Erectors Association, current president of The Metal Buildings Institute and chair of the MBCEA Technical Committee. He is committed to the professional advancement of metal building contractors, erectors and industry.