SR Trident was recently recognized by Associated Builders and Contractors Coastal Bend as a 2021 Accredited Quality Contractor (AQC) due to its commitment to striving for safety in the workplace every day. This designation is quite the honor to achieve within the civil construction industry as not all businesses who apply for consideration will be awarded due to the strict criteria that’s in place. In order to earn this title, construction companies must excel in the following key areas of corporate responsibility: quality, safety, talent management, craft and management education, and community relations.
So, what exactly is required of companies to demonstrate their commitment to each of these areas? Here, we’ll answer this question in full and provide in-depth guidance on the steps civil construction companies must take to earn this recognition.
Requirements For AQC Consideration
Nearly 30 years ago, the Accredited Quality Contractors program (AQC) was established by the Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc. (ABC) to signify which civil construction firms throughout the U.S. performed the highest in regard to their business structure and operations. This program is based on annual accreditation and requires businesses to re-apply each year in order to maintain their status. In order to be considered for this distinction, companies must fulfill requirements in five key areas of corporate responsibility.
Here’s a closer look at each of the key areas and their basic requirements as found in the ABC 2022 Accredited Quality Contractor New Applicant Criteria form.
Quality is based on the history of a civil construction company with respect to its length of existence, relationships with other businesses, financial stability, and quality control program.
First, companies must report the number of years they have been in business and the number of performance-based forms of recognition they’ve received within the last five years. Each company is required to have been in business for a minimum of three years and have achieved at least two forms of project-based awards, recognition by a qualified-certified entity, and/or an owner letter of praise or recommendation.
Additionally, companies must request five or more companies they have worked with within the past two years to complete the AQC Recommendation Form; submit a letter from their financial institution stating the length of their financial relationship and indicating the strength of the company’s financial standing; submit a letter from their bonding company stating their company’s bonding capacity is adequate for the scope of service provided; as well as provide their company’s table of contents for its quality control program or manual.
Finally, companies must answer a series of questions related to pending or outstanding judgments, claims, arbitration proceedings or suits related to construction defects, terminations from projects, supplemental work, current certifications, and any employee incentive programs related to quality.
Companies must provide their current year STEP verification email or certificate from ABC and answer questions related to whether or not they have an OSHA-compliant employee incentive program that is tied to safety and if they have received safety awards or recognition of safety excellence over the past five years. Businesses must be rated at the gold level or higher in order to be considered which requires them to be at or below the NAICS code average for total recordable incident rate (TRIR) and meet the minimum score for the 25 key components required for STEP.
Businesses can learn more about ABCs STEP requirements here. 3. Craft and Management Education
Companies must include information on whether or not they self-perform work and provide an outline of their management education curriculum. They must also answer additional questions related to providing in-house craft education including education and certifications offered for craft professionals, a copy of their management education schedule and examples of education announcements or notices.
If a company reports that it self-performs work, it must provide supporting documentation to substantiate the availability of continuing education for all craft professionals with the submission of:
- ● A letter from an ABC chapter, NCCER or other educational institution confirming their company regularly participates in a craft education program.
- ● Any of the following documents: curriculum, education schedule, curriculum assessments, and examples of education announcements or notices.
4. Community Relations
Civil construction companies must provide all relevant information regarding their participation in civic-oriented and community activities and describe how they have participated in construction activities within the last five years that have positively affected the community
and the image of the industry. To fulfill these requirements, companies must include materials used to promote and communicate their efforts for encouraging participation in these events.
In addition to the above requirements, companies will need to include information on whether or not they make speakers available to civic groups and special events, if they’re in good standing with either the Chamber of Commerce or National Federation of Independent Business, as well as if they’ve received awards or certifications related to their community service, diversity, or minority employment.
5. Talent Management
Finally, companies must provide copies of their Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) policy and harassment-free workplace policy as well as describe how their leadership demonstrates a commitment to creating a culture of inclusion, diversity, and equity. They must also answer additional questions related to topics such as medical coverage, ancillary coverage, other forms of benefits, and employment status and treatment.