In 2008, the National Precast Concrete Association (NPCA) selected Hanson, doing business as HPS Consulting Inc., as one of two consultants to conduct quality assurance audits for its Plant Certification Program across the U.S and Canada. From 2008 to present, Hanson has provided continuous service to NPCA for its Plant Certification Program. NPCA recently expanded Hanson’s contract – selecting the firm to conduct not only its audits at precast concrete plants during 2012 and 2013 but also its audits at several prestressed concrete plants.
The NPCA – an international trade association representing 645 manufacturers of plant-produced concrete products and industry suppliers – coordinates independent quality assurance audits for plants wishing to become NPCA-certified or maintain a NPCA certification. In some cases, NPCA certification is needed for plants to supply materials to entities such as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, state departments of transportation, various public works, port authorities and municipalities. Additionally, the Federal Highway Administration endorses NPCA’s certification program.
As part of the certification program, Hanson’s auditors review product lines and production processes in the plants as they relate to the NPCA’s Quality Control Manual and Plant Certification Program Grading Schedule. For audits associated with the NPCA On-site Wastewater Accreditation Program, the scope is limited to on-site wastewater product lines and production processes in the plants as they relate to the NPCA Quality Control Manual and the NPCA On-site Wastewater Accreditation Program Grading Schedule.
During the audit, Hanson personnel monitor each stage of manufacturing including quality control procedures, set-up, batching, production, placement, consolidation, casting, curing, stripping, testing, and storage and handling of the product.
The audit process concludes with an exit interview with plant personnel. The exit interview addresses to what extent the plant satisfies NPCA criteria. It addresses deficiencies, identifies areas for improvement, offers general observations, notes areas of excellence and pinpoints personal growth opportunities.
Following the audit, Hanson prepares a written report for the plant, including a short narrative of each audit criterion with suggestions for improvement and citing specific deficiencies as they relate to the NPCA’s criteria. The report describes the basis for any deficiency finding, the reason for its importance, and suggested remedies as they specifically relate to the NPCA Quality Control Manual. The report also includes benchmarking information comparing a plant’s overall performance and selected attributes with those of other plants enrolled in the program.