10.031 Requirement for ACI Grade 1 Certification
Is ACI certification required for both concrete and masonry special inspectors?
|A||6/07 – Response prepared by Michelle Craig, the owner of Dynamic Consultants, Inc. and three time past president of CCTIA. She can be reached at email@example.com.
Many years ago, ASTM C94 Standard Specification for Ready-Mix Concrete included a certification requirement for the technician sampling fresh concrete. Specifically, Section 16.2 reads, “Tests of concrete required to determine compliance with this specification shall be made by a certified ACI Concrete Field Testing Technician, Grade I or equivalent. Equivalent personnel certification programs shall include both written and performance examinations as outlined in ACI CP-1.”
For the most part, building officials throughout the State of California interpreted this to mean the ACI certification only. By mutual agreement with the three Greater Bay Area ICC (formerly ICBO) Chapters, CCTIA included the ACI Grade I certification as a requirement in its Guidelines for Issuing Identification Cards for Special Inspectors for both Reinforced Concrete and Pre-Stressed Concrete Technicians. This certification is also required by ICC in order to become fully certified as a Reinforced Concrete Special Inspector and Pre-Stressed Concrete Special Inspector.
Sampling masonry grout is another matter. Note 8 in ASTM C1019 Standard Test Method for Sampling and Testing Grout states, “The field technician sampling, making, and curing specimens for acceptance testing should be certified (American Concrete Institute Field Testing Technician – Grade I, National Concrete Masonry Association Masonry Testing Technician, or equivalent). Equivalent certification programs should include both written and performance examinations.”
As we know from a previous FAQ (reference number 10.002), the language contained in the “Notes” of an ASTM Standard are not considered mandatory. In addition, the language of the note suggests a recommendation as opposed to a requirement with the use of the word “should” as opposed to “shall.”
As the ACI Grade I certification has nothing to do with the proper methods or procedures for fabricating masonry grout samples, it would be inappropriate to require this certification for masonry inspectors. This certification is not a requirement of ICC in order to become fully certified as a Structural Masonry Special Inspector.
Today, most of the testing laboratories have to meet the requirements of Practice C1077 Laboratories Testing Concrete and Concrete Aggregates for Use in Construction and Criteria for Laboratory Evaluation (through CCRL) and Standard Specification E329 Agencies Engaged in Construction Inspection and/or Testing. Practice C1077 in Section 6.1.6 states “Concrete field technician shall possess current technician certification.” And continues to say ACI or NICET can satisfy this requirement. Specification E329 in Section 13.1.2 states “The agency shall comply with the most recent edition of Practice C1077 for tests of concrete and aggregates.” Under PERSONNEL in E329 the requirement for inspector or technician is a little vague. Section 6.2.4 states the technician must be able to demonstrate competence for the test which is being conducted either by oral or written examination or both.” So certification is one means of showing competence but this section does not require certification. But with the requirement to meet C1077, certification is required. It’s interesting that Specification C94 also requires the testing laboratory to meet C1077.