AC472 +AC478 =A Winning Combination
In some cities, you can't drive down the street without seeing a
metal building or two or three. Whether strip malls, warehouses,
retail stores, doctors' offices or car dealerships, metal buildings
are taking over the low-rise, non-residential construction market.
The use of metal building systems has grown exponentially as more
markets have embraced the metal solution. As a result of these
diverse end-uses, metal buildings are addressing more complex
design requirements, requiring more careful planning and
construction job-site staging, and more intricate erection. This
leads me right into the issue of quality.
"If accredited manufacturers and their builders
team up with these two quality assurance programs it will make our
industry more competitive and increase its prominence. This is a
commitment to a partnership in quality and a reflection on us
A few years ago, the Metal Building Manufacturers Association
(MBMA) partnered with the International Accreditation Service (IAS)
to implement a comprehensive, robust quality assurance program.
Today, all MBMA Building Systems member companies are accredited in
accordance with IAS AC472, "Inspection Programs for Manufacturers
of Metal Building Systems."
AC472 is the most comprehensive qualityassurance accreditation
program of its kind and is designed specifically for manufacturers
of metal building systems. This program sets accredited metal
building manufacturers apart from those that are not accredited. By
setting a high standard of excellence, the industry has been able
to demonstrate competence and gain the trust of design
professionals and building owners.
Now, it's time to go a step further. It's time to raise the bar
again. To have true quality assurance for our industry it is
essential that we extend the expectation of quality beyond the
AC472 accredited manufacturing facilities and into the field.
Precision engineering and fabrication of the metal building parts
is an important part of the process, but the final grade for our
industry often is in the hands of the erectors and general
contractors that complete the projects in the field.
The Metal Building Contractors and Erectors Association (MBCEA)
has created a companion program for metal building system
assemblers that can help achieve our mutual goal-a complete
accounting of quality assurance from start to finish for metal
building projects. This new program is called IAS AC478,
"Accreditation Criteria for Inspection Practices of Metal Building
Assemblers." The program was spearheaded by the MBCEA in
consultation with MBMA members and is an achievement worth
Like AC472, AC478 addresses quality management system review and
inspections. To achieve accreditation, builders must demonstrate
that they have the personnel, organization, experience, knowledge,
management procedures and commitment to assemble metal building
systems in accordance with specified requirements. The accredited
builders must also comply with a documented safety and training
program, and are subjected to periodic job-site inspections from
independent auditors, as well as IAS examiners to verify continued
compliance with the AC478 criteria.
This new program has the potential to be a real win-win for the
entire industry. Together, the accreditation systems create a
higher quality program that can have a tremendous positive impact
on our industry. However, for the AC478 metal building assembler
quality assurance program to succeed, it must be embraced by
erectors and encouraged by metal building manufacturers through
their builder networks. I encourage all MBMA member companies to
motivate your builders to take on the challenge of AC478
accreditation and promote it to your erectors and subcontractors as
well. In fact, builders and building owners should require it in
their specs, and consider it a major factor in their subcontractor
If accredited manufacturers and their builders team up with
these two quality assurance programs it will make our industry more
competitive and increase its prominence. This is a commitment to a
partnership in quality and a reflection on us all. It is an
opportunity we can't afford to miss.
If you haven't reviewed the AC478 program yet, you can download
the program criteria for free by visiting
www.iasonline.org/PDF/AC/AC478.pdf. MBCEA is in the process of
developing course materials and program templates to help you
become accredited, but you have to take the first step by
committing that you will become accredited.
It is said that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a
single step. With the partnership of AC472 and AC478 we can take
the industry on the journey to a better future together.
# # #
Tom Gilligan is chairman of the
Cleveland-based Metal Building Manufacturers Association. More
information about the association is available at www.mbma.com.