PACP Certification: What It Really Means

Certified software for pipe inspection must meet stringent standards, including the ability to transfer data seamlessly between programs

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When it comes to the NASSCO Pipeline Assessment and Certification Program (PACP), we often say, “It’s all about the data.”

Consistent and reliable data is the backbone of PACP’s success, and the many PACP-certified software programs provide a wide variety of features that allow utility owners to assess assets, help determine corrective measures, and help prioritize rehabilitation.

However, certified PACP software has other significant benefits, such as providing flexibility in bidding CCTV inspection. This flexibility allows contractors to bid on inspection projects using software they already own, without having to buy and learn new software to collect data in the field. The goal is to help municipalities attract more qualified bidders (which generally means lower cost), while being able to import the data into software of their choice.


What it all means

To collect quality PACP data at competitive costs, municipalities must understand what it means when they solicit bids for inspections using PACP-certified software. PACP certification means bidders typically can use any certified software listed on the NASSCO website.

Even though the utility may use different software to manage its data, if both the utility’s and the inspection firm’s programs are PACP-certified, the data is required to transfer seamlessly between programs.

NASSCO and other organizations in our industry take this issue very seriously and are acting to protect the integrity of valuable inspection data. For example, NASSCO has a Software Vendor Committee whose purpose is to work with all PACP-certified software vendors to ensure that they meet the certification requirements.

The main requirement is that the software has PACP import and export capability (along with Manhole Assessment Certification Program and Lateral Assessment Certification Program import and export capabilities if so certified). These requirements provide the added value of enabling CCTV contractors to bid on projects without changing their software, while allowing municipalities to import the data into software they already use.


Protecting integrity

Unfortunately, the reality is that some software vendors violate their agreements with NASSCO by not including all the standard certification requirements, including import/export capability. The Software Vendor Committee provides a dynamic forum in which software competitors identify issues associated with these violations. But we can only do so much — municipalities also must make sure the software used to collect PACP data has the proper characteristics to transfer the data into their PACP software. Here are two simple questions to ask about PACP software:

• Does the software have the PACP, MACP or LACP certification seal? Don’t be taken by the term “PACP Compliant.”

• Does the product have PACP/ LACP/MACP import and export capability? If not, it may be in violation of the maker’s Software Vendor License Agreement with NASSCO. If this is in question, NASSCO can test exported data from the software.

There are currently 13 PACP-certified data-collection software vendors and three PACP-certified asset management software vendors. Each software has unique arrays of tools to facilitate the management and use of data collected in the field, including automatic validation of PACP data, ability to create different reports, ability to manipulate and query data to support rehabilitation recommendations, and product support.

The collection of consistent and reliable CCTV data is one of the most expensive undertakings in assessing underground pipelines. By requiring import and export capability in PACP software, we hope to open up the playing field to new contractors using data collection software with which they are already proficient.

We can only meet our mission — to set industry standards for the assessment and rehabilitation of underground pipelines and assure the continued acceptance and growth of trenchless technologies — if data and the software that interprets it meet the highest possible standards of quality.

Ted DeBoda is executive director of NASSCO. He can be reached at NASSCO is located at 11521 Cronridge Drive, Suite J, Owings Mills, MD 21117.


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