What are these Qualification Procedures?
Be Familiar with SSPC’s Qualification Procedures
1. History of the Standards of Qualification Procedures
This commentary is for information only and is not part of SSPC-QP 1, QP 2, QP 3, QP 4, QP 5, QP 6, or QP 8. SSPC currently develops six types of consensus standards, one type being the “Qualiﬁcation Procedure,” or “QP”. Qualification Procedures (QPs) are published procedures, developed by SSPC technical committees through a consensus process, which deﬁne a sequence of actions or functions a contracting ﬁrm or inspection ﬁrm must meet to establish a level of competence or qualiﬁcation. This commentary will summarize the current QP Quality System standards and explain how they can be used to (1) improve the process of qualifying a contractor or inspection ﬁrm to perform work and (2) provide a system for the contractor or inspection ﬁrm to reduce rework, latent defects, and become more productive and efficient.
The ﬁrst ﬁve qualification procedures – QP 1, QP 2, QP 3, QP 6, and QP 8 were developed by SSPC to form the basis of administrative certiﬁcation programs designed to provide facility owners and specifying engineers with a tool to use when evaluating the qualiﬁcations of contractors who apply protective coatings in the ﬁeld or shop. Because of the onerous task of reviewing submittals and evaluating contractors on site and the annual volume of industrial painting projects contracted each year, SSPC established these certiﬁcation programs as a service to the facility owner who otherwise would lack the staff and time to review applications and visit contractors on site to qualify them in accordance with for QP 1, 2, 3, 6, or 8, . Larger organizations who have the staff and time to evaluate contractors in house, can use QP 1, 2, 3, 6, or 8 as a basis to determine the primary capabilities of the contractors they hire for painting, metallizing, or polymer surfacing installation over concrete as an alternative to requiring SSPC certiﬁcation.
QP 4 was developed by SSPC to provide facility owners with a standard to measure the qualiﬁcations of demolition and repair contractors who remove or disturb hazardous coating in the process of cutting or repairing previously painted steel. SSPC has no administrative certiﬁcation program for QP 4 or QP 5.
QP 5 was developed by SSPC to provide owners with a standard with which to evaluate the qualiﬁcation of companies who provide coating and lining inspection services. SSPC does operate an administrative program that certiﬁes inspection agencies to the QP 5 standard.
2. Summary of SSPC Qualification Procedures
2.1 SSPC-QP 1, “STANDARD PROCEDURE FOR EVALUATING PAINTING CONTRACTORS (FIELD APPLICATION TO COMPLEX INDUSTRIAL STRUCTURES)”: SSPC issued the ﬁrst version of QP 1 in September, 1989 after consensus on its content was reached by the C.3.5 Technical Committee on Applicator Pre-qualiﬁcation. QP 1 was reviewed and reissued in August, 1998.
QP 1 is essentially the basis for SSPC’s Painting Contractor Certiﬁcation Program (PCCP), also established in 1989. The PCCP is an administrative program set up by SSPC to independently evaluate industrial painting contractors against the requirements of QP 1 and other QPs.
The QP 1 procedure identiﬁes four function areas of the contractor’s quality system that have to be evaluated: management procedures; technical capabilities; quality control procedures; and safety and health compliance procedures. The objective of using the certiﬁcation is to determine whether the painting contractor has the capability to perform surface preparation and coating application in the ﬁeld (i.e. on site) on complex industrial structures such as bridges, storage tanks, power generation facilities, ships and offshore platforms, and other industrial and marine structures.
Once SSPC determines, through its evaluation process, that a contracting ﬁrm meets the requirements of QP 1, SSPC issues a certiﬁcate to that effect. The evaluation process consists of a review of detailed submittals and an on- site audit at both the contractor’s business ofﬁ ces and an operating job site. Facility owners, specifying engineers, and others who hire industrial/marine painting contractors can then use this certiﬁcation as part of the pre-qualiﬁcation process for evaluating bids or proposals from contractors.
2.2. SSPC-QP 2, “STANDARD PROCEDURE FOR EVALUATING THE QUALIFICATIONS OF PAINTING CONTRACTORS TO REMOVE HAZARDOUS PAINT”: SSPC issued QP 2 in late 1993 as an interim standard. A ﬁnal version of QP 2 was issued in August, 1995. A revision of the 1995 edition version was issued in 2000. The QP 2 standard is developed and revised by the SSPC C.3.5.b, Hazardous Paint Removal Qualiﬁcation technical committee.
QP 2 is the basis for the QP 2 certiﬁcation program, developed as a supplement to the QP 1 program in 1993 as part of PCCP’s ﬁrst expansion. As with QP 1, the consensus qualiﬁcation procedure formed the basis of an administrative program to evaluate whether a contractor, that met the requirements of QP 1, also had the capability to effectively manage the removal of hazardous (e.g. lead based) paints from industrial steel and marine structures.
QP 2 establishes several categories of qualiﬁcation based on the contractor’s capability to remove, contain, and properly handle and store hazardous paint debris. In addition to meeting the requirements of QP 1, ﬁve more function areas of the contractor’s quality system are evaluated. They include: management of hazardous paint removal operations; technical capabilities; qualiﬁcations of competent persons; and site-speciﬁc safety, health and environmental compliance criteria as they relate to hazardous paint removal operations. QP 2 deﬁnes two categories of qualiﬁcation, A and B, which are based on the use of negative air pressure in containment structures.
As with QP 1, contractors seeking QP 2 certiﬁcation must provide a series of submittals to SSPC for review and acceptance and also undergo an audit at one of their active hazardous paint removel job sites. QP 2 is intended to be used side by side with QP 1 to evaluate painting contractors who must remove hazardous paint in conjunction with surface preparation and maintenance repainting operations.
2.3. SSPC-QP 3, “STANDARD PROCEDURE FOR EVALUATING THE QUALIFICATIONS OF SHOP PAINTING CONTRACTORS”: QP 3 was developed by the SSPC technical committee on Shop Coating Qualiﬁcation and published in 1995. QP 3 deﬁnes a procedure for evaluating shop painting organizations (e.g. shipyard paint departments, structural steel and miscellaneous metal parts fabrication shops; blast and paint shops) that apply industrial protective coatings in a permanent, stationary facility or shop. The requirements for QP 3 are similar to those for QP 1, except that QP 3 requirements are applicable to shop coating operations.
SSPC also set up an administrative program in 1996 to evaluate shops against the requirements of QP 3. Facility owners and others who contract for shop painting services use this program to evaluate the capabilities of the paint shop. QP 3 establishes several qualiﬁcation categories based on the degree to which the shop can isolate coating operations from outdoor weather conditions and control ambient conditions.
SSPC revised its QP 3 procedure and administrative certiﬁcation program in 1999 to coordinate its program with that of the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) which certiﬁes structural steel fabrication shops that apply protective coatings in the shop after fabrication of new structural steel. The AISC Sophisticated Paint Endorsement (SPE) program is recognized by SSPC as an equivalent to SSPC’s QP 3 program, with the exception of safety, health, and environmental compliance. AISC does not require evaluation of health, safety and environmental compliance in its SPE certﬁcation program.
2.4 SSPC-QP 4, “STANDARD PROCEDURE FOR EVALUATING THE QUALIFICATIONS OF CONTRACTORS DISTURBING HAZARDOUS PAINT DURING DEMOLITION AND REPAIR WORK”: SSPC-QP 4, developed by SSPC technical committees C 5.3.B Removal of Hazardous Coatings and C.3.5 on Applicator Pre-qualiﬁcation, was issued by SSPC in 1997. It is similar to QP 1, QP 2 and QP 3 in that it establishes a consensus procedure to evaluate the capability of a general contractor to invoke appropriate worker and environmental protection programs while disturbing hazardous (e.g. lead based) paint incidental to demolition or repair work.
QP 4 is intended to evaluate contractors who are not painting contractors but who disturb hazardous paint in conjunction with non-painting work such as bridge demolition or structural repair. A painting contractor certiﬁed to QP 2 also meets the requirements of QP 4 and thus is also capable of performing such demolition and repair work.
QP 4 differs from QP 1, 2 and 3 in one important aspect: SSPC does not offer an administrative certiﬁcation program to evaluate general contractors against the requirements of QP 4. This is primarily because SSPC does not normally provide services to repair and structural demolition contractors who tend to belong to other trade or professional associations that represent their interests.
The impetus for QP 4 came from bridge maintenance authorities who asked SSPC to develop a procedure for such work which they could then invoke in their contracts for repair and demolition work. This would ensure that the repair contractor was capable of implementing the same worker and environmental protection programs on site as the painting contractors are required to do under QP 2.
2.5 SSPC-QP 6, “STANDARD PROCEDURE FOR EVALUATING THE QUALIFICATIONS OF CONTRACTORS WHO APPLY THERMAL SPRAY COATINGS (METALLIZING) for CORROSION PROTECTION OF STEEL AND CONCRETE STRUCTURES”: SSPC QP 6 was developed by technical committees C.3.5 on Applicator Pre-qualiﬁcation and C.1.6.B on Thermal Spray Coatings and issued in August 2004. Unless otherwise speciﬁed, QP 1 certiﬁcation for ﬁeld surface preparation and coating application or QP 3 for shop surface preparation and coating application are required to supplement the requirements of QP 6.
The QP 6 requirements are similar to QP 1 and QP 3 except that they deﬁne a quality system for the thermal spray metallizing specialty process.
SSPC is introducing an administrative program in 2005 to evaluate contractors and shops against the QP 6 standard.
QP 6 deﬁnes two qualiﬁcation categories, one for steel, and one for concrete. A contractor may be qualiﬁed for steel, concrete, or both steel and concrete.
2.6 SSPC-QP 8, “STANDARD PROCEDURE FOR EVALUATING THE QUALIFICATIONS OF CONTRACTING FIRMS THAT INSTALL POLYMER COATINGS OR SURFACINGS ON CONCRETE AND OTHER CEMENTITIOUS SURFACES”: The QP 8 qualiﬁcation procedure, issued in July 2003, was developed by SSPC technical committee C.3.5 on Applicator Pre-qualiﬁcation and members of the Polymer Coating and Surfacing Institute (PCSI).
QP 8 is intended to provide owners with a procedure for evaluating the qualiﬁcations of contractors who install coating and lining systems on concrete and other cementitious surfaces (e.g., primary and secondary containments). Many QP 8 requirements are similar to those of QP 1 and QP 3, with additional special requirements for repair, surface preparation, and application of coatings to concrete substrates.
SSPC is establishing an administrative program in 2005 to evaluate specialty contractors against the QP 8 standard.
2.7 SSPC-QP 5, “STANDARD PROCEDURE FOR EVALUATING THE QUALIFICATIONS OF COATING AND LINING INSPECTION AGENCIES”: SSPC-QP 5, developed by the SSPC C.6 Group Committee on Education and Certiﬁcation, was issued by SSPC in 1999. It differs from the QP standards mentioned above in that it establishes a procedure to evaluate companies that provide coating inspection services rather than contracting ﬁrms performing construction work. QP 5 provides facility owners, when issuing requests for proposals (RFPs) for inspection services, with standardized criteria for evaluating and qualifying inspection ﬁrms.
Facility owners can use QP 5 by requiring ﬁrms submitting proposals for coating inspection work to submit evidence that they meet the requirements of SSPC-QP 5 as part of the owner’s evaluation process prior to selecting an inspection ﬁrm. SSPC began offering an administrative certiﬁcation program to Qualification Procedures, QP 5, in 2001.