Industry Q&A: SPFA’s Professional Certification Program Benefits Contractors and Consumers

Kelly Marcavage is the Certification Director for the SPFA. Photo: Spray Polyurethane Foam Alliance

A Conversation With Kelly Marcavage, SPFA’s Certification Director

Q: What is the Spray Polyurethane Foam Alliance’s Professional Certification Program?

A: The SPFA Professional Certification Program, which we sometimes refer to as PCP, is a certification that allows spray foam pros to demonstrate to the world they have the knowledge, skills and abilities to do the job properly. It’s an opportunity for contractors and suppliers to stand apart from everyone else. With a certification, they have proven they understand spray foam and how to use it safely and effectively, which maximizes performance.

Q: What role do you feel the Professional Certification Program plays in the roofing industry?

This photo shows certification testing being conducted in the field. Photo: Spray Polyurethane Foam Alliance

A: Certification is key for roofing because roofing, in general, is highly specialized. Not only do installers need to consider best practices in the spray application of the product on the roof, but they also need to consider that the roof often houses mechanical equipment, solar panels, drainage components, skylights and other items, thus foot traffic is inevitable. Also, roofing is an exterior component to the structure and needs to withstand rain, wind, storms and debris. A certification helps a contractor, installer and supplier prove their knowledge and understanding of all of these key factors. Certification also gives those hiring these parties peace of mind.

Q: What are some of the things that SPF roofers should know about the certification and testing?

A: Unfortunately, in the industry we sometimes see folks who tout that they have professional spray foam experience when they don’t. Certification is a way to prove you have the credentials. Our certification isn’t a fly-by-night program. Participants are verified by a third-party, ISO well-respected organization.

Q: What’s new with the certification program this year?

A: The biggest thing this year is we are taking the certification on the road. We have officially launched a road show. While our program has always been designed to be available at the grassroots level with PCP testing and field exams offered regionally, we are taking it one step further. Our road show features a trailer full of all components needed to give a field exam. We are traveling the country testing and helping people meet the qualifications to become certified.

Q: For those that want to participate in the road show, how can they get involved?

A: For companies that want to get involved, they should contact me. I am the certification director and can be reached at certdirector@sprayfoam.org. I will guide them and help them get onto the calendar for the road show. As far as contractors, I would suggest they start by visiting www.sprayfoam.org and reviewing our calendar of events. We will keep that updated as we add new road show dates and opportunities with links and info on how to sign up.

Q: Other than the road show, what other ways can roofing professionals participate?

Certification demonstrates the applicator has the knowledge and skills to do the job properly and provides a high level of consumer confidence. Photo: Spray Polyurethane Foam Alliance

A: We provide opportunities throughout the year, with testing provided at supplier facilities across the country. The program is also available annually to attendees of our Sprayfoam Show Convention & Expo, which draws approximately 1,400 people. Next year’s event will be held in Pasadena, California, February 11-14. Typically, field exams are the first two days of the event. We are fortunate that the Sig Hall Memorial Scholarship Fund has donated the cost of the Sprayfoam Show’s field exams allowing contractors to participate free of charge. We hope this sponsorship will be available again in 2020.

The most accessible way to participate is through our remote testing platform. Live proctors administer exams and remotely monitor participants. For master installer level certification, participants still need to take an over-the-shoulder evaluation, but we have many field examiners willing to travel to the jobsite and oversee the exam there.

Q: I know you have different categories, or levels, for the certification. Do you plan to introduce any additional categories in the near future?

A: We do have four certification levels for the contractor. These four levels are offered in both SPF Roofing and SPF Insulation certifications. The levels include the Assistant, Installer, Master Installer and Project Manager. We are currently developing a Consultant certification that will launch by year-end. This is designed for those that consult in the industry, whether it be as inspectors or witnesses who provide testimony in the judicial system. This is an important addition to our certification offering.

Q: Is there anything else that you want to tell us about the certification program?

A: I would stress that it is ideal to complete your certification now, before you find yourself on deadline trying to complete an RFP that requires it for consideration of the job. We frequently receive calls from frantic contractors in this predicament. While we can often accommodate them in time, provided their qualifications are in place, this isn’t the ideal way to become certified.

The other thing to note is that certification provides a high level of consumer confidence in the person or team they are hiring. Not only is the program standards-based, but if a certified individual doesn’t comply with best practices on the job, there are ramifications. They may even lose their credentials.

SPFA Announces 2019 National Road Show for Professional Certification Program

The Spray Polyurethane Foam Alliance (SPFA), the educational and technical voice of the spray polyurethane foam (SPF) industry, has announced a 2019 Road Show for the association’s Professional Certification Program (PCP). Designed by the industry to promote safety and the highest standards in the installation of spray polyurethane foam, the internationally recognized certification program will be brought to various locations across the country in partnership with industry-leading companies, to ensure its availability to participants in key regions nationally. 

The 2019 Road Show will stop at various locations across the U.S. to provide added ease and program access to certification participants. Exam Preparatory Courses and testing will be provided at each location along the way. The Road Show made its first stop on March 22-24, 2019 with Service Partners in Milpitas, California.

“This Road Show increases the Professional Certification Program’s accessibility to contractors,” said John Trace, spray foam territory manager with Service Partners. “Not only do these trainings make contractors more marketable, but they will also give owners and customers confidence that they are working with a skilled and certified workforce. It is a win-win for everyone.”  

Additional stops will be made at the locations of key industry partners who stand behind the value of the PCP and encompass some of the most influential players in the industry. In addition to Service Partners, SPFA PCP 2019 Road Show partners include: BASF, Carlisle, Demilec, Gaco/Firestone, Icynene-Lapolla, Profoam, Spray Foam Systems and TruTeam.

The next scheduled Road Show dates include: May 20-24, 2019 in Rutledge, Georgia (hosted by Profoam), June 18-20, 2019 in Duluth, Georgia (hosted by Service Partners), and August 19-23, 2019 in Rutledge, Georgia (hosted by Profoam). Additional dates will be announced soon and posted at sprayfoam.org in the Calendar of Events.

Established in 2013, the PCP program is standards driven and ISO 17024 compliant. Safety and product performance are the centerpiece of the program, which establishes a set of criteria through which individuals can demonstrate their knowledge, skills and abilities in working safely, efficiently and professionally. 

“The inherent value in being certified through the SPFA PCP is proof of passing a program which promotes the highest level of product performance as well as the health and safety of the contractor, occupants and other trades on the job,” says Kelly Marcavage, certification director with the SPFA. “Certification program participation continues to climb as members of the industry realize it is critical to be able to prove to customers that you adhere to the highest of professional industry standards.”

The PCP offers certification opportunities at various levels to accommodate and serve all insulation and roofing industry participants involved in the installation of the product. Certification testing levels include those for Assistant, Installer, Master Installer, Project Manager and Field Examiner. Additionally, company-wide accreditation opportunities are available through the program in the Contractor Company and Supplier Company categories. There is also a Supplier Representative certification that may be obtained for individual supplier and manufacturing professionals looking to demonstrate their understanding, experience and commitment to the industry in ways that relate directly to their contractor customers. 

For more information, visit www.sprayfoam.org.  

SPFA Professional Certification Program Enjoys Strong Participation in 2013

The Spray Polyurethane Foam Alliance (SPFA), the educational and technical resource to the spray polyurethane foam industry, has announced that it saw more than 1,080 exams administered in its flagship Professional Certification Program during 2013, the first year of the program. An internationally recognized program for the professional certification of those active in the installation of spray foam for roofing and insulation applications, the program encourages best industry practices and safety in the installation of spray foam. With industry demand and first year adoption of the program strong, the SPFA projects a doubling of these numbers to occur during the 2014 calendar year.

“The SPFA Professional Certification Program is the only of its kind offered in our industry,” says Bob Duke, president of the Spray Polyurethane Foam Alliance. “We have witnessed widespread interest and participation in this program during its first year and believe we are on course for it to become the industry’s standard installation certification.”

A certification offered domestically and internationally, the Professional Certification Program is a thorough, standards-driven program developed by the industry in collaboration with OSHA and NIOSH, EPA and other federal agencies, along with other external stakeholders. Designed to be accessible and affordable, the program aims to raise the bar of professionalism and safety in the installation of spray foam and is ISO 17024 compliant.

The 1,000th test of the program, a notable milestone, was administered to Roy Murphy, a professional spray foam installer from Cambridge, Mass. Spray Foam Nation, a national provider of spray foam training, spray foam rigs, equipment sales and service, and an online spray foam store, provided the test as a third-party testing administrator on behalf of the Spray Polyurethane Foam Alliance.

“This is an important milestone, not only for the program, but for our industry at-large,” says Peter Cantone, of Spray Foam Nation. “In bringing this certification program offering to installers of spray foam, the Spray Polyurethane Foam Alliance has moved the industry further forward on a path to professionalism and we are excited to be part of it.”

Still in its inaugural year, the Professional Certification Program has drawn significant attention and participation. “We created this program because we understood it was time for our industry to have expectations established for professional standards in the installation of spray foam,” says Bonnie Strickler, chair of the SPFA Professional Certification Program. “While we expected it to be well received, we did not anticipate the current level of demand and are extremely pleased at the success and adoption of the program in our industry.”

The Professional Certification Program offers various levels of certification for the roofing and insulation categories. To become certified, participants must pass the exam and meet the criteria for the level and category of certification desired. The program is progressive, with each level obtained only after the candidate completes the requirements for the previous level and subsequently completes the requirements for the current level. All certified installers receive professional credentials to demonstrate their program completion and industry expertise.