When the Vinyl Siding Institute (VSI) formally upgraded and re-launched their Product Certification (ISO/IEC 17065-Accredited) Program with Intertek last August, they established a one-year deadline for manufacturer members to complete their Product Certification Listings (PCLs) for full implementation. Intertek, a multinational assurance, inspection, product testing and certification company, has worked closely with VSI and its member manufacturers in moving the industry’s product certification efforts forward.
And so, barring any recommended changes from the Product Certification Accreditation Work Group (PCAWG) to the Certification Oversight Committee (COC), VSI members will have submitted PCL applications encompassing all 650+ certified products so that we have full implementation by August 17, 2022. Product Evaluation Reports (PERs) are an optional component of the program and can be obtained at any point.
According to Sara Krompholz, VSI’s Director, Technical and Product Certification, the program has been very successful so far. “There’s been a high level of participation and no major hiccups,” Sara explained. "The members are making good progress, and Intertek is processing applications on a first-come, first-served basis. The new program documentation has been made accessible to members on VSI’s ‘Members Only’ portal, as well as from Intertek.”
To ensure that the program has been running smoothly, the PCAWG continues to meet to evaluate the program’s progress and make suggested updates as needed. At their next meeting on May 26, for example, the PCAWG will work to provide clarity on product packaging and labels and will share recommendations on program implementation with the COC. The status of this one component may result in moving the completion deadline forward to the end of the calendar year. “These meetings allow for understanding and collaboration,” Sara noted. “They help us with ‘processing through the approval process.’”
Sara and VSI Vice President Matt Dobson also meet bi-weekly to review the status of the New Product Certification Program to show transparency, raise awareness and encourage ongoing collaboration with the members.
Feedback and support from Intertek has also been essential to the program’s success.
“Intertek continues to be a strong partner as they provide feedback to us and support for our members,” Sara said. “They recently published an ‘FAQ’ sheet in response to fielding a lot of the same questions from our members.”
To recap from our last blog about the new certification program, the PCLs and PERs are defined as follows:
Product Certification Listing (PCL): Published authoritative document declaring that a product(s) complies with recognized standard(s).
Product Evaluation Report (PER): Published authoritative document that conveys how a product(s) complies with recognized standards AND requirements of building codes.
While the PERs are more robust, demonstrating the most compliance, the PCLs are mandatory for the product certification program – they establish ASTM standard compliance on a specific product type (whereas a PER can represent more than one product type). For example, if one manufacturer makes traditional vinyl siding, insulated vinyl siding and polypropylene siding, they need a PCL for each type of siding.
The PERs are optional, so members can use their own discretion for applying. A PER can be used to replace an existing evaluation report that a member obtained through another code agency, or it can be promoted as a new addition.
As they are published, both code report deliverables are available for public access on the Intertek Directory. The PCL or PER can be searched by manufacturer, using the ‘VSI Product Certification Program’ dropdown, or by using the 4-digit number assigned to each PCL or PER.
By successfully migrating from a self-certifying process to an independent, third-party certification program with Intertek, VSI is raising the bar for vinyl siding product certification so that its members are set up with more powerful resources for future growth.
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.