Why AC478 Accreditation Matters

A Standard for Safety and Quality

Why AC478 Accreditation Matters

You might think: Who cares about accreditation when it comes to metal buildings? After reading this article, we hope you will.

We’re going to talk about why AC478 accreditation matters, whether you’re a metal builder or a building owner.

AC478 accreditation is a quick way to know if a builder’s organization operates at the highest level of ethical, legal and technical standards.

In this post, we’ll find out why this marker is beneficial not only for an owner seeking to build a metal building; it’s important for anyone working in the metal building industry who strives to attain a high level of professionalism while delivering client satisfaction.

Let’s dive in.

What is AC478 Accreditation?

In 2020, the metal building industry constructed more than 300 million square feet of space, almost one third of the Low-Rise Non-residential market across the United States. Financially, this represents over $2.6 Billion in steel shipments.

Alongside the growing demand for metal buildings, the AC478 accreditation program was developed as a standard for safety and quality. It is the most comprehensive quality assurance accreditation of its kind for metal building assembly.

Administered by the International Accreditation Service (IAS), an AC478 accreditation assures owners that the metal erector they have selected follows a comprehensive quality-driven metal building assembly program that is assessed annually.

“When structures fail or people get hurt during assembly, the entire industry suffers,” says Art Hance, President of the Metal Building Contractors & Erectors Association (MBCEA). “The only way to fix this is to have a standard that specifiers can use. AC478 is that standard.”

Since 1968, MBCEA has provided programs and services to support, educate and safely train metal building contractors and erectors across the country.  “We feel so strongly about AC478 that we made it a priority in the MBCEA's Strategic Plan,” says Hance.  “Programs like AC478 are an important part of our future.”

The History of AC478 Accreditation

The IAS accreditation program for Metal Building Assemblers (AC478) compliments an existing IAS accreditation program for Manufacturers of Metal Building Systems (AC472) developed by IAS and the Metal Building Manufacturers Association in 2008.

“We needed a single certifying or accreditation process by which the contractors and erectors of metal building systems could be held accountable,” says Art Hance. “We really felt that to push professionalism in our industry we needed to come up with a standard for assembling metal buildings,” similar to the existing standards for metal building manufacturers.

“The IAS, a nonprofit public corporation and the leading accreditation body in the United States, supported us. They assigned a crew to work with us in developing the program, and it was developed in concert with the industry, so that we were tailoring it to what we do—specific to creating metal buildings.”

Now, for the first time in history, manufacturers and erectors have complimentary accreditation programs for metal building projects that will help assure the highest quality commercial buildings.

What it Means to Have AC478 Accreditation

AC478 benefits both the builder and the owner. Having it assures owners that the erector they have chosen follows a comprehensive quality-driven metal building assembly program that is assessed annually.

The AC478 accreditation covers a wide variety of professionals in the metal building industry. “We knew that the program needed to be sufficiently meaningful to carry the weight at all levels of the industry,” Hance reflects, “from manufacturers all the way through erectors, and to the subcode officials and architects that would be specifying it or inspecting it.” 

To achieve AC478 accreditation, companies must maintain the following:

-Documented safety program and training program
-Documented management system
-Onsite jobsite assessment
-Job-Site Specific Plans
-Annual Internal Audits and Management Reviews to ensure continuous improvement

For the project owner, choosing an AC478 accredited company to erect one’s building brings confidence that:

-Buildings will be assembled properly
-Crews are well trained, committed to safety and quality
-Accountability is important to the assembler
-The metal building erector meets or exceeds national standards
-The company has required insurance coverage
-There is documented proof of inspections and on-site assessments

As for how applicants are assessed, Hance explains, “We knew that we needed to be evaluated on the quality of our safety and training programs, and to achieve this, accredited entities must show that they have the personnel, the organization, the experience in the industry, the knowledge of putting these buildings up, and the quality procedures to show that they're doing it properly…and ultimately a commitment to assemble metal building systems in a professional manner."

Our Commitment to Our Clients

In 2017, the Hance team was recognized for our excellence and dedication to quality with the IAS AC478 accreditation.

Hance Construction has helped shape the metal building industry with our dedication to quality work and safety. We constantly strive to push ourselves with new best-in-class policies and procedures to give our clients the highest-quality products in the construction industry. 

Our IAS AC478 accreditation is affirmation that we have demonstrated a higher level of commitment to our clients’ projects. But the dedication we have to quality isn’t about accreditations – it’s about you. It’s about your building goals and meeting your unique needs. 

If you want a trusted project partner who will deliver quality, safety, and excellence to your project, you’ve come to the right place. Contact Hance Construction today to get started.

Additional Resources: For more information about why AC478 accreditation matters, or for industry training resources, visit the MBCEA website, or contact Art Hance directly with your questions about AC478 accreditation.