Professionals interested in obtaining recognized credentials and training in the spray foam insulation industry will likely want to look into the certification program offered by SPFA (the Spray Polyurethane Foam Alliance). This is one of the most recognized and well-respected certification programs of its type in the industry.
The SPFA says their professional certification is designed to be the most rigorous, extensive and defining program for SPF professionals in the world. It is international ISO-17024 standard compliant, an enormous accomplishment that brings rigorousness, credibility and comprehensiveness to the program.
The program offers four certification levels for spray foam insulation professionals: SPF assistant, SPF insulation installer (apprentice level); SPF insulation master installer (advanced level), and SPF insulation project manager. Certification for each level is based on passing the examination(s) for that particular level. The pre-qualification for each level is successfully passing the previous level examination/criteria. In addition, other pre-qualifying requirements would include completion of certain OSHA courses and documented SPF spray experience meeting certain minimums with regards to board feet.
The examinations are geared to cover the assortment of skills, abilities and experience that professionals in this industry would need to master in order to perform their job duties in the field safely and accurately. For example, the certification program for the apprentice-level insulation installer addresses topics such as SPF Chemical Health and Safety, Jobsite Health and Safety, General Health and Safety, Basics of Spray Polyurethane Foam and Jobsite Set-Up Procedures.
The master installer certification, meanwhile, would include all of those topics plus more advanced areas such as Installation Methodology, Troubleshooting and Repair, Preparing for a Third Party Inspection and Operating SPF Equipment. Some of the SPF equipment that professionals at this level would be expected to know how to operate safely would be spray foam guns, reactors, compressors and other accessories. They would likely also be familiar with mobile spray rigs and the individual components contained within them.
Certifications for all levels involve a written examination. Candidates must attain at least a minimum passing grade in order to get credit for the certification. Certain job titles, such as the master installer, also must complete a field examination, which involves successfully completing certain critical tasks that would be performed on the job, such as operation of spray guns and other equipment, and breaking down a jobsite at the completion of a project.
Certified professionals must have their certifications renewed on an annual basis. They can also receive demerits for a variety of infractions related to things like safety practices, waste disposal, application methodology, foam thickness and environmental conditions. A certain number of points are assessed for each infraction, and if an installer accumulates more than the maximum number of demerit points, their certification can be suspended or revoked.
Obtaining SPFA certification takes time, effort and dedication. However, it signifies the person’s considerable knowledge and expertise, and therefore is an accomplishment of which the person should be very proud.
There is a fee for each specific exam, plus optional study guides can also be purchased at an additional cost. SPFA members can take advantage of discounted fees for certain exams, products and services. Certification program exams are also available online, but certain requirements must be met for remote monitoring of the exam to assure identity of the tester, and to conform to ISO-17024 procedures.
In addition to the certification process for insulation installers, there are also certification programs for roofing professionals, and for field examiners.
As mentioned, one of the main topics covered in these certification programs is the proper use of spray foam equipment. Contractors and professionals can find all of the equipment they need at Intech Equipment & Supply.