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The National Association of Corrosion Engineers


The Society for Protective Coatings

QP 3 Certification Program

(Shop Painting Certification Program)

The requirements for QP 3 are similar to those for QP 1, except they are specifically focused on shop coating operations.

QP 3 is a nationally recognized program that evaluates the practices of shop painting facilities in key areas of business. These standards are considered to be the MINIMUM level of service and quality for today's coatings industry.

The complex nature of coating systems, the specific conditions and surface preparation required by these systems, have made the QP 3 guidelines vital to the longevity of protective coatings applied in the shop.

QP 3 is segmented according to the type of shop:

  • Enclosed Shop - A permanent facility, enclosure or building (four walls to grade and a roof) where surface preparation and coating activities are normally conducted in an environment not subject to outdoor weather conditions and/or blowing dust.

  • Covered Shop - A permanent facility, enclosure or building having a roof beneath where surface preparation and coating activities are normally conducted out of direct exposure to outdoor weather.

  • Open Shop - A permanent area or facility with no roof or walls where surface preparation and coating activities are normally conducted. The area or facility is exposed to outdoor weather conditions and blowing dust.

To be certified by SSPC, industrial contractors must demonstrate competence in several key areas:

  • Management Procedures

  • Technical Capabilities

  • Quality Control

  • Health, Safety and Environmental Compliance

Contracting firms are evaluated through a series of submittals to SSPC, which describe business operations. Then an impartial, on-site audit is performed at the contractor's headquarters and shop locations to verify the information provided in the application submittals.

More on-site audit information can be found in both the QP 3 Application and the Internal Audit Checklist. SSPC suggests that the contractor perform a self-evaluation using the checklist to be sure all areas are addressed prior to an audit.

The QP 3 application and self-evaluation checklist can be found on the SSPC Lists, Forms & Applications page. A web link is provided at the top of all Certification pages.

QP 3 Background:
SSPC issued the first version of the QP 3 standard in 1995, with the certification program being released in June of 1996.

SSPC revised its QP 3 procedure and administrative certification program in 1999 to coordinate its program with that of the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC). See below for more details.

SSPC QP 1, QP 2 and QP 3 are a part of SSPC Qualification Procedure Standards developed through the SSPC consensus process.

Worthy of Note:
The American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) administers a Quality Certification Program with an optional Sophisticated Paint Endorsement certification for steel fabrication shops who apply protective coatings prior to shipping steel to the field. SSPC accepts the AISC/SPE as an equal "by intent" to QP 3, with the exception of safety, health, and environmental compliance, which are not evaluated in the AISC program.



QP1 | QP2 | QP3


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