Having ACI-certified concrete professionals on your project team is a great value proposition that can help you win more work. Project owners can award jobs to certified contractors with confidence, knowing the work will be performed to the highest quality. Specifiers and others are assured that concrete testing, placing, handling and inspecting are performed correctly and in compliance with codes and standards. Plus, with increasingly more building codes, specifications and agencies requiring ACI-certified personnel on jobsites, verifying the status of certifications has never been more important.
“You don’t want to take on a job and then realize certification is specified and you don’t have any people or subs with up-to-date certification,” says Steve Lloyd, founder of Lloyd Concrete Services and MAXXCRETE Concrete Flooring, both based in Rustburg, Va.
Lloyd, who also volunteers as an authorized examiner for the American Concrete Institute’s Concrete Flatwork Finisher certification program, says he frequently receives calls from people who need to get certified so they can mobilize on a job. “Now they’re scrambling, and I can’t do that overnight. Certification is a process that cannot be rushed.”
To avoid that scenario for his own companies, Lloyd asks potential hires if they are certified during the interview process. His front office staff then verifies job applicants’ certifications by going to ACI’s Certified Personnel Directory. Lloyd Concrete Services and MAXXCRETE Concrete Flooring will pay to get employees trained and certified if they aren’t already.
Verifying Certification Is Fast & Easy
Concrete.org/verify is an online database that houses nearly 130,000 active ACI certifications. Using the webpage to look up a certified individual is as simple as entering the person’s name or certification ID number. Users also can search by program area (certification category) to find the total number of certified individuals in a given area.
In 2021, ACI launched the ACI Certification Verify mobile app for Android and iOS platforms. Using the same functionality and search capabilities as concrete.org/verify, the app makes it convenient to verify while in the field. It’s a useful resource for jobsite supervisors and other members of the project team, as well as for certified individuals seeking to provide proof of their certification status.
“ACI certification is very important,” says Lloyd, who himself is a certified concrete flatwork finisher and technician, specialty commercial/industrial flatwork finisher and technician, fiber installer, and pervious concrete installer. “Our company has a reputation for delivering top-quality, flat floors, and that reputation allows us to get jobs, negotiate prices and charge what we do. You cannot do that without good people. Our people are properly trained and produce quality work, and that comes from certification.”
According to Lloyd, about 90% of his companies’ projects are commercial, and many of those projects are for Fortune 500 companies. While some jobs have required Lloyd to turn in paperwork proving that employees are certified, he says most verification requests come from third-party testing agencies hired by clients for their projects. He has found it simpler for both his companies and those testing agencies to refer them to ACI’s online database. It takes minutes to look up a certification.
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Bob Simonelli, FACI, director of construction services at Structural Services Inc. (SSI), is among those who include ACI certification requirements in their specifications. The New Smyrna Beach, Fla.-based company specializes in commercial and industrial concrete floor design, repair, and restoration.
“We want to get more qualified finishers on the job for our big-box retail clients, so we specify ACI certification 100% of the time for those projects,” says Simonelli.
Simonelli verifies ACI certifications when contractors submit qualifications for SSI projects. Using ACI’s Verify app, it only takes him a few minutes to confirm the certification type.
“I’m usually in the field, so the app is pretty convenient for me. If I am in the office in front of a laptop, I might use the website,” he says.
Simonelli also does his part to help finishers get certified. He helps lead the ACI Specialty/Commercial Industrial Concrete Flatwork Finisher certification course at World of Concrete each year, and he has even traveled internationally to conduct the course.
“I’ve been doing this for 20 years. It’s a great program and will continue to grow as long as participants are on board with it and are there to learn,” says Simonelli. “It’s a good thing for the industry to have properly trained, qualified personnel.”
Verify & Promote Certification In Marketing Efforts
Verifying ACI certification ensures you have a committed, skilled workforce. Advertising your team’s certifications can help build your reputation with clients and project owners and secure their trust in you and your company. Through proof of certification, you are guaranteeing that your team will perform concrete construction, testing and/or inspection up to codes and standards for safe building. What’s more, when certified individuals are on jobsites, everyone on the team works within the same guidelines and follows the same set of standards. Excessive rework is avoided. Jobsite safety is improved.
Promoting certification also is an effective way to show clients and project partners that your team is not complacent when it comes to staying on top of the latest best practices. Because working with concrete is a skill that needs to be periodically evaluated, individuals must recertify every five years to keep their certifications active.
And finally, certification can make you and your team eligible for more projects. Many local, state, national and international building codes, specifications and agencies require ACI certification. As an example, says Steve Lloyd of Lloyd Concrete, “It’s stated in ACI 301 – Specifications for Structural Concrete that you should have a certified flatwork finisher on your projects. If you’re going to include ACI standards and specifications in your project’s documents, you should follow their guidelines.”
About the author
John Nehasil, FACI, is the Managing Director of Certification for the American Concrete Institute.