National Ready Mixed Concrete Association’s newest certification program is a Quality Management System (QMS) aligned with ISO 9000 standards and suited to ready mixed producers aiming to supplant prescriptive concrete specifications with performance-based alternatives.
"This is another program that raises the bar and sets a standard for quality for the ready mixed concrete industry,” says NRMCA President Robert Garbini. “This certification establishes the credentials of a concrete producer that operates at a higher quality standard and can be a valuable partner on concrete construction projects. It will satisfy and exceed the typical requirement for the submission of a quality plan invoked by most project specifications."
The first NRMCA members to earn the certification are Argos USA, Houston (three South Carolina plants) and Chaney Enterprises, Inc., Waldorf, Md. (two plants). NRMCA recognized each producer for diligence and patience in compiling the documentation and completing the certification criteria. The Quality Certification Program originated with the NRMCA P2P (Prescriptive-to-Performance) Initiative and was supported by a panel of engineers convened to discuss evolution of performance-based specifications. Program evolution involved:
- Developing a Guideline Manual for a Quality Management System for Ready Mixed Concrete, funded by the Ready Mixed Concrete Research & Education Foundation (available at www.nrmca.org/p2p);
- NRMCA Research and Engineering Committee’s establishment of certification criteria based on the manual—primarily items that are of interest to the specifier; and,
- Selecting independent auditors and performing pilot audits (Argos and Chaney). Certification candidates must maintain a Quality Manual covering minimum program criteria. They can apply as a company, division or a group of plants. Submitted documentation is subject to audit, and includes information pertinent to the plants listed in the certification application. NRMCA designates independent third-party auditors to validate candidate programs.
In tandem with the association’s QMS development, the RMC Research & Education Foundation has helped to advance the P2P Initiative through the Guideline Manual for a QMS and related reports. Both the QMS document and the certification were developed to be consistent with ISO 9000 standards and made specific to the concrete industry. In order to qualify for certification, a ready mix producer must maintain a Quality Manual covering minimum criteria in this certification and demonstrate that its quality-related activities conform to its Quality Manual. A company can seek the certification companywide, as a division or as a subset of some plants within the company.