It is often asked of us to explain the validator and quality assurance requirements of the Florida Statewide Product Approval System.  While there is much more to learn about the topic of obtaining a Florida Statewide approval, the following explains these terms and requirements.  Contact an engineer at Engineering Express to discuss your product approval needs and what’s required, we’re glad to help.  This knowledge base also contains other articles of interest on the topic.

 

What is Quality Assurance?

In order for a building product (windows, doors, rooftop equipment, etc.) to obtain a Florida Product Approval (FSA) through the evaluation method, a 3rd party entity must monitor and provide oversight the production of the product to ensure it meets the minimum requirements. Rule 61G20-3.008 of the Florida Administrative Code defines that it is the responsibility of the Quality Assurance Agency to “audit the quality assurance program of manufacturers and audit production quality of products. Auditing of a quality assurance program shall be by one or more of the following methods: visits to manufacturing facilities, inspection of products at construction sites, inspection of products at state distribution facilities or testing of regular production items. Such auditing shall be performed at intervals not to exceed 12 months”

An approved list of valid quality assurance agencies can be found on the Florida website via the following link:

https://www.floridabuilding.org/pr/pr_org_srch.aspx

It is the responsibility of the product manufacturer to initiate a contract with an approved QA agency before submitting their product for approval.

 

What Is a Validator?

According to the Florida Building Commission, the job of the 3rd party Validator is to certify that the product submittal complies with the appropriate standards and certifies to the Florida Building Commission that the product approval applications are correct. It is the responsibility of the product manufacturer to initiate a contract with a State approved professional engineer or validation entity before the product can be submitted. An approved list of validation agencies and registered engineers can be found on the Florida website via the following link:

https://www.floridabuilding.org/pr/pr_org_srch.aspx

See below for a checklist of the responsibilities of the validator

  1. Verify the evaluator is a Florida Registered Architect or Florida Professional Engineer who has taken the core building code course.
  2. Verify submission of the evaluator’s certification of independence.
  3. If the evaluation is not performed by a third party independent of the manufacturer then verify validator’s certificate of independence.
  4. Verify the evaluation report is for the products listed on the application as described on the application and that the products are within the scope of Rule 9B-72.
  5. Verify that test reports demonstrating compliance were performed at a test lab accredited by an approved accreditation body for the test performed, and verify test lab location.
  6. Verify that the test reports or rational analysis are required by the Building Code as a component of a product approval for the product category and subcategory.
  7. Verify that rational analysis demonstrating performance were executed utilizing current code requirements and was not used in lieu of a standardized test required by the Code or that rational analysis was not required.
  8. Verify that all data, test reports and calculations, are substantiated on the report.
  9. Verify that the application has the Code sections and reference standards for which the evaluation demonstrates compliance.
  10. Verify the method of demonstrating compliance indicate any limitations on the use of the product, as intended.
  11. Verify the manufacturer installation instructions are in accordance with the evaluation report, and attachments are provided.
  12. Verify that a quality assurance program audited by a Florida Building Commission approved third party quality assurance agency is in place.
  13. To the best of my/our knowledge, this application is complete, the items in the checklist above have been verified and reviewed, and the evaluation report submitted with this application indicates that the product, method, or system described in this application meets or exceeds the Florida Building Code requirements and reference standards listed in the application.

It’s important to note that the validator does not perform a technical review of the content or engineering in the document.  They are only responsible for the above administrative requirements.

For more information on the topic of product approvals, click here or contact us to discuss your product approval needs.

Aug 19, 2019   42    Codes & Standards    
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