Do You Indemnify & Hold Harmless Your 'ICC Report' Author?
The 'fine print' is often not reviewed closely, if at all. As a consequence, exposure to the shifting of risk may not be directly and fully considered. For example, a generic statement typically heard in the marketplace today is, “you need to have an ICC report.” This implies that if you have an "ICC report," everything is fine and all product evaluation or construction defect risk is covered.
A concept to consider, in the context of the shifting of risk, is that many product evaluation entities require indemnification and hold harmless provisions similar to that found in all ICC-ES contracts, where it reads as follows:
Other examples of similar indemnification provisions can be found with the Intertek Commodities Division contract, with International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO) and with Underwriters Laboratories (UL).
Given this background, another consideration may be to ask if your accredited product certification body is willing to sign and seal their “technical evaluation reports” or what is commonly referred to as an “ICC Report.” Many certification bodies that employ professional engineers have the ability to do so. This may be important because it means the accredited product certification body takes on the engineering responsibility for all the specific engineering related scopes of work that it has performed. An engineering group generally provides professional liability insurance coverage for any errors and omissions, and also works within and is privileged by professional engineering laws.
What is also often misunderstood is asking for an “ICC report” really means you are asking for a technical evaluation created by one of more than 80 organizations that are ANSI ISO/IEC 17065 accredited product certification bodies. This includes such organizations as ICC-ES, IAPMO, Underwriters Laboratories and others.
The goal of the ANSI accreditation of conformity assessment bodies (CABs) is to reduce multiple evaluations and remove barriers to trade in working towards the goal of “certified once – accepted everywhere.” The primary task of accredited third-party product, material or design certification is to meet a regulator’s requirement for an independent evaluation of 17065 compliance and independence (See also IBC Section 1703.1.1).
Manufacturers can work with any 17065 product, material and/or design evaluation body to obtain certification in any country that is an IAF MLA Signatory (all countries found here) covered by an IAF MLA Evaluation per the Purpose of the MLA. Therefore, manufacturers can go to jurisdictions in the U.S., Canada and other IAF MLA Signatory Countries and have their products readily approved by authorities having jurisdiction using any one of more than eighty (80) 17065 accredited product certification bodies.
The best construction-oriented ANSI ISO/IEC 17065 accredited product certification bodies are accredited in a broad range of engineering and construction categories, including but not limited to the following listing:
13 ENVIRONMENT. HEALTH PROTECTION. SAFETY
13.220 Protection Against Fire
21 MECHANICAL SYSTEMS AND COMPONENTS FOR GENERAL USE
71 CHEMICAL TECHNOLOGY
71.100 Products Of The Chemical Industry – Wood protecting Chemicals
77.140 Iron And Steel Products
77.150 Products Of Non-Ferrous Metals
79 WOOD TECHNOLOGY
79.040 Wood, Sawlogs And Sawn Timber
79.060 Wood-Based Panels
81 GLASS AND CERAMICS INDUSTRIES
83 RUBBER AND PLASTIC INDUSTRIES
91 CONSTRUCTION MATERIALS AND BUILDING
91.060 Elements Of Buildings
91.080 Structures Of Buildings
91.100 Construction Materials
91.120 Protection Of And In Buildings – Siesmic, Thermal, Water Proofing, etc.
93 CIVIL ENGINEERING
It follows that when looking for a qualified and accredited product certification body, one consideration should be to work with companies that professionally evaluate existing and new building and construction products, processes and services using a range of pertinent ANSI accredited categories, such as those provided above, so that the market is able to reliably and cost-effectively adopt those products.
Another important consideration may be whether the accredited product certification body takes responsibility for their engineering work by signing and sealing their evaluation reports, or asks you to indemnify and hold them harmless as the groups above do.