Big News! VSI Product Certification Program Migrates to an ISO/IEC 17065-Accredited Program with Code Report Deliverables
In celebration of its 25th birthday, the Vinyl Siding Institute’s (VSI) Product Certification Program is relaunching this year with added strength and value!
Building on 25 years of successful product performance verification, the program is moving at the direction of the VSI Board of Directors to add new utility and value by migrating to an ISO/IEC 17065-accredited program, allowing the addition of code report deliverables.
According to Sara Krompholz, VSI’s Director, Technical and Product Certification, “It will be a more robust program, with Intertek [one of the industry’s leading authorities on product testing and evaluation] wearing the certification body hat.” Intertek is 17065-accredited and follows the accreditation rules they must abide by from the International Accreditation Service (IAS).
“Over two decades ago, code compliance deliverables were not as prevalent as they are now,” Sara explained. “In more recent years, the code compliance report became the tool that the code officials and the AHJs [Authorities Having Jurisdiction] used to make sure that products are verified and meeting product standard requirements, as well as prove that they are compliant with the building code.”
Sara said that the dual management responsibilities between the VSI program and the ISO code evaluation process became a costly one for manufacturers, with too much money and time being spent on regulatory compliance and the marketing that goes with it.
"This upgraded program will provide VSI members and the industry overall with a ‘one-stop-shop’ for product certification along with several other benefits, including code compliance reports,” Sara said.
VSI initiated the migration process when Sara worked for Intertek as a certification manager. When she joined VSI a year later, in 2020, she took her intelligence and 12 years of experience with Intertek to what she calls the “facilitation side” and knitted it together with what Intertek does.
“One area they specialize in is code compliance,” Sara said. “They have a large team of experienced engineers spread across a multitude of divisions with enough separation between testing and evaluation that they can remain impartial. We are utilizing a strong existing relationship to form this new upgraded program.”
Intertek performs testing in silos intentionally, she explained, and then the test data goes to a professional engineer to conduct an impartial investigation. Intertek holds many different accreditations, including being an accredited testing lab and inspection agency.
“Intertek’s job is to enforce a rigid set of standards to ensure product quality and go-to-market acceptance. The new Product Certification Program, however, has been built in such a way that any Certification Body that is accredited can run the program, so it is not exclusive to Intertek,” Sara added.
The VSI Product Certification Program will feature two new deliverables:
- A Product Certification Listing (PCL). All certified products will be recognized on this listing in a standardized format, covering all three existing categories – vinyl siding, insulated vinyl siding and polypropylene, as well as potentially other polymeric product categories. The purpose of the PCL is to show compliance with a typical testing standard, such as ASTM. This will be the first new deliverable and will be accessible from both the VSI website and the Intertek online directory.
- Product Evaluation Report (PER). The “PERs” are code compliance reports comparable to any other code evaluation report that is on the market today, like ICC ES reports. The PER will stand up to any other code evaluation report available. The report demonstrates to architects, code officials, contractors, and any other people involved with product approval that these products comply with the applicable code requirements. Like the PCL, the PER will be available on the VSI website and the Intertek online directory.
A series of existing labels for different product categories in the current Product Certification Program will be replaced with a simplified singular certification mark that allows instant recognition of certification in the field.
“Another long-term benefit of the new VSI Product Certification Program is having Sara’s stewardship of the program,’ says VSI Vice President Matt Dobson. “In a short period, Sara has shepherded this new accreditation, which in turn has brought VSI and its members into a new realm of added value.”
Don Browne is a writer, entrepreneur and local legislator who believes that the power of words can change the world. He provides unique writing services for clients in the construction, health care, IT and hospitality sectors. He has a passion for small business and start-ups, as well as writing about Irish history, family and corporate biographies. As a homeowner and father of four who is passionate about community development, Don looks forward to writing more about the exciting possibilities of creating traditional neighborhoods and more sustainable communities using modern materials.