SSPC, NACE Announce Standards Update


On Friday (Jan. 31), SSPC: The Society for Protective Coatings and NACE International, The Corrosion Society announced their fourth update regarding the organizations' possible merger.

The update involved standards, committee considerations and answers to some questions asked by industry professionals regarding this portion merger topics.

Exploratory Talks

SSPC, founded in 1950 as the Steel Structures Painting Council, is focused on the use of protective coatings in the industry. SSPC’s name was changed in 1997 to mark progress in coatings technology, as well as the addition of new types of construction materials. SSPC is based in Pittsburgh, and has offices in Saudi Arabia, Malaysia and China. Currently, more than 16,000 professionals and 420 companies across the globe carry SSPC certifications.

NACE, founded in 1943 and now with more than 38,000 members in 130 countries, is the world’s largest nonprofit of its kind, according to the organization. NACE is based in Houston, with other offices across the U.S., the U.K., China, Malaysia, Brazil and Saudi Arabia, as well as a training center in Dubai. Membership with NACE includes specified technical training and certification programs, industry standards, reports, conferences and publications focused on corrosion prevention and mitigation.

In March, the two organizations announced the beginning of merger talks. The following month, PaintSquare Daily News took a closer look at each organization’s history, structure and offerings for the protective coatings and corrosion control industries.

On Aug. 6, the organizations announced the mutual decision to bring McKinley Advisors on board as a guiding entity for the two organizations’ merger discussions, in addition to advising the organizations through considerations related to strategic, financial and cultural barriers, among others.

By the end of October, a NACE board meeting with the McKinley CEO and two SSPC board members was slated to take place in Asheville, North Carolina. At the time, a merger task group was also reported to be planning additional face-to-face meetings later that year or by January 2020.

Out of 50 interviews—25 NACE and 25 SSPC designated individuals—McKinley reported that leading stakeholder concerns lied with the potential loss of relevance or voice in a larger organization, as well as whether all certifications of both organizations would continue to be recognized and supported.

Moving forward, the organizations have announced that both existing brands will continue to be protected as sperate entities in the marketplace and have agreed that the best model will involve a hybrid structure that includes both corporate and individual membership options and combines the best of both organizations’ value propositions.

Ongoing Update Schedule

On Jan. 10, SSPC and NACE announced their first update, which gave a future overview of both update schedules and a timeline of upcoming discussion-related milestones.

The following week (Jan. 17), the associations announced a second update regarding certificate considerations and answers to some of the bigger questions involving this particular aspect of the merger efforts.

According to the update, the SSPC-NACE Task Group was focusing on minimizing disturbance to the industry and wished to maintain overall program quality and continuity. In order to achieve these goals, the group agreed that:

  • All current certification and accreditation programs will continue to be recognized and supported throughout the combination process;
  • Where there are certification or accreditation programs that overlap, a member task force will be created to evaluate the programs and make recommendations to a program committee;
  • Existing certification holders will be allowed to recertify into the continuing program; and
  • Financial burden or economic impact to certified and accredited parties should be minimized.

This means that certified individuals with existing certifications will retain their certifications throughout the transition period, so long as current renewal requirements are met. After the transition period is complete, individuals will be allowed to recertify into the continuing certification, as both organizations agree there should be little to no cost impact to cardholders as a result of program changes.

As for SSPC programs like CAS, PCI and QP or NACE Institute programs like CCA, CIP and NIICAP, the organizations report that the products of both entities will be examined and where there is overlap, bring together the best of both overlapping certifications.

Members are asked to share their opinions about the discussions either through email, comment or through participation in the Town Hall meetings that both organizations will be hosting that the upcoming Coatings+2020 conference in Long Beach, California, next month, and the CORROSION 2020 conference in Houston this March.

On Jan. 24, SSPC and NACE announced that although no definitive decisions were made regarding membership concerns, a compromise was reached, detailing that new memberships would be value-based and provide tiered options with differing values and prices.

According to the organizations, “individual members of both SSPC and NACE would automatically enter at the highest value level for the remaining portion of their current membership term at no additional cost, and upon renewal, would have the option of selecting the tier that best meets their needs.”

A second email regarding the membership component of the agreement is expected to be released sometime in February.

Standards and Committees Update

In the latest update on the organizations’ possible merger, SSPC noted that both companies have developed standards that are used by industry professionals worldwide. In the past, the organizations have worked together on 15 joint standards, two joint visual guides and six joint technical papers, among other standards.

In shifting the focus through a merged lens, members have been voicing throughout the discussions that in combining the organizations, it would become an opportunity to renew focus on developing standards that meet the needs of the entire international community of members, asset protection professionals and corporations.

“By working together the associations can streamline the process of standards development, adoption and implementation, for the entire industry,” SSPC wrote in a press release.

To achieve this goal efficiently, the organizations intend to develop member-led program committees who would be responsible for providing recommendations and planning support to staff regarding the combination of any overlapping SSPC and NACE programs.

SSPC adds that both organizations’ standards and programs would have a board liaison responsible for providing strategic guidance to the program committee and would be required to report progress back to the board.

However, one reoccurring question from members is: “How will existing standards be treated with regard to maintenance and revisions?”

The answer: If a decision is reached to merge both organizations, SSPC and NACE have stated that existing standards would continue to be maintained according to current processes and procedures.

However, the organizations foresee future opportunities to reconfigure the standards through a writing and revision process, in order to make it them more efficient. The reconfiguring also hopes to achieve quicker standards development, so that the standards can be more responsive and easily adapt to industry changes.

“In order to advance the next generation of industry standards and best practices, top technical expertise needs a forum and framework to bring emerging theory in asset protection into practice. By joining forces both organizations would potentially create that forum,” SSPC wrote.

Member Discussion Opportunity

This week, SSPC will be hosting the Coatings+ 2020 conference in Long Beach, California. During the event, the organization will be hosting an Annual Business Meeting and numerous Town Hall meetings where industry professionals are welcomed to ask questions regarding this process.

The next update regarding the Board of Governors Meeting and Annual Conferences in the SSPC and NACE possible merger is slated to be released on Feb. 7.

If members are unable to attend the trade show, the Annual Business Meeting and first Town Hall will be live streamed on SSPC’s Facebook page today (Feb. 3), starting at 2:30 p.m. PST.

After the event, NACE will be hosting Board of Directors update meetings on Feb. 24 and March 14. And, March 16-18 NACE will host its share of Town Hall meetings at CORROSION 2020 in Houston.


Tagged categories: Acquisitions; Asia Pacific; Business matters; Business operations; Certifications and standards; EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa); Latin America; NACE; NACE; NACE; North America; Program/Project Management; SSPC; SSPC Coatings+ 2020; SSPC NACE Merger; Z-Continents

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