Remote Assessments and COVID-19

As always, we hope you, your family, and your employees stay safe in the weeks and months to come.

U.S. Participants

Starting August 30, 2021, we will begin phasing in in-person audits for our U.S. participants. See Bulletin 2021-06 for more information.

U.S. Applicants

Starting July 1, 2021, we will begin performing in-person audits for our U.S. applicants.  See Bulletin 2021-04 for more information.

International Participants

Audits for our participants and applicants located outside of the U.S. will continue to be performed as remote assessments. See Bulletins 2021-05 and 2020-07.

If you have any questions or concerns about this new solution, please contact AISC Certification directly at either certification@aisc.org or 312.670.7520.

Current COVID-19 Bulletins:

  • Site Assessments for Participants in the United States - see Bulletin 2021-06
  • Update on Auditing for Initial Applicants in the United States - see Bulletin 2021-04
  • Remote Assessments for Participants Outside of the United States - see Bulletin 2020-07
  • Update on Auditing for Initial Applicants Outside of the United States - see Bulletin 2021-05

Remote Assessment Required Documentation

During the remote assessment, your documents must be available electronically to show/share with the auditor. They cannot be in paper format.

Participants Outside North America:    



Your Remote Assessment Questions

Will this assessment be one day or two?

The assessment duration will be the same duration that your original in-person site visit was scheduled for. I.e. two-day audits will have an assessment span of two days.

Will I still have to pay the full site audit fee? Does the due date on the invoice still apply?

  • Yes, payment of your original renewal invoice is required to maintain your current remote assessment date(s).
  • Payment must be received by the due date shown on your invoice. If you are experiencing hardship due to COVID, please contact us immediately.
  • Please note you may be eligible for a travel refund; see the Certification Determination Questions section for more information.

Can I reschedule this assessment for another date, especially given the COVID situation?

Please note our policy regarding rescheduled site audit requests per Certification Bulletin 2019-06, does apply to remote assessments. If you have concerns or hardships, please contact us.

What’s the difference between an assessment and an in-person site visit? Can this be an option moving forward?

There are two primary methods for conducting audits of management systems, on-site and remote. Both methods rely on reviewing documents and records, conducting interviews and observing activities. Even during a remote audit method the auditor is observing activities. It may simply be the observation of facial expression or tone of someone's voice. If technology is used, the auditor may even observe work in process. So, what is the difference? The difference is "sampling." During an on-site audit, the auditor can select what they are observing and reviewing, whereas using the remote method, the auditor must rely on the auditee to supply the records or control what the camera sees.

Remote Assessments will not be an option moving forward. They are a direct result of COVID-19, CDC Guidance, and U.S. Department of State Travel Advisories, which stopped AISC from being able to carry out in-person site audits.

What else will the assessment consist of?

Please note a remote assessment does not require a tour of the fabrication facility or erection job site.

Within the assessment findings (review of your quality documents & personnel interviews), an auditor will decide whether to recommend a follow-up site audit. The auditor will discuss this during your Zoom meeting.

The assessment findings will follow the standard path that the site audit findings do: CARs review, QMC review, AISC review, and the Certification Review Group (CRG) Determination.

How are we supposed to do this “remote assessment”?

The auditor will use the video-conferencing platform Zoom. You can find user instructions and helpful resources on Zoom's website. The auditor will contact you about setting up your remote assessment.

Are there additional Zoom resources available? Like a “how-to guide?”

You can find user instructions and helpful resources on Zoom's website. Plus, we put together a few helpful “how-to guides” from their website. Also, your auditor is going to contact you the week before your remote assessment and perform a Zoom run-through with you. So, most of the bugs should be worked out.

Is my Zoom remote assessment going to be secure?

Zoom takes security seriously, and here is a link to their latest page describing their security and privacy update. On April 8, 2020, Zoom released additional security features, such as allowing the host to lock the meeting (stopping new participants from joining), removing participants, and restricting participants from sharing their screens. Plus, meetings offer the options for requiring passwords and waiting rooms to ensure only intended audiences join a meeting – that way, the auditor will have control over who attends the remote assessment meeting. Plus, you will be sending the auditor a list of guest emails for the assessment meeting - so, you will know who will be attending your meeting.

If you are concerned about downloading Zoom, AISC deems Zoom a safe product, as long as we follow Zoom's best practices and use the most current version of the product. Make sure you have installed the most current version of the application.

Zoom continues to work aggressively to address any security issues that can arise. On July 8, 2019, for example, the Verge had an article identifying a leak – and by the 9th, Zoom had a patch and created a set of security features now available with the latest release. Zoom exceeds security standards and has made extensive efforts to thwart issues and address concerns as they occur. View this link to see how Zoom secures your meetings, data, and privacy.

How long will remote assessments continue?

Daily changes due to COVID-19 and CDC Guidance have directly impacted AISC Certification’s ability to carry out in-person site audits, so remote assessments will continue for the foreseeable future. We will notify all our participants when in-person site audits resume. Also, we reserve the right to end remote assessments at any time.

Your Certification Determination Questions

Will assessments affect the certificate approval decision differently than normal site audits?

The Certification Review Group (CRG) may determine that a follow-up site audit is required, based on either the remote assessment findings, an auditor’s recommendation, or a review of your three-year history.

If the CRG determines that a site audit is not required, then you will be eligible for a COVID-19 refund. The refund will be based on audit duration and your location – the amount will be the same for all participants located in the U.S. with a different amount for those located in Canada and Mexico.

If a site audit is required, AISC will schedule that audit once travel is allowed. This will be at no additional cost to you. Erectors requiring a site audit will be required to have an active jobsite. A certificate extension will be provided if your certificate expires before we are able to schedule your site audit.

Other Questions You Might Have

Do these assessments apply to certified firms and applicants outside of North America?

No, at this time our policy indicated in Certification Bulletin 2020-03.1 applies to participants and applicants located outside of North America.

Can these assessments be used for other site audit types, such as initial applicants, special audits?

Yes, remote assessments are now acceptable for initial applicant audits, AISC-requested additional audits, appeal audits, or outstanding erector “B” audits. However, depending on the results of the remote assessment findings, an in-person audit may still be required. 

Scope changes will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

Are you still accepting new applications?

You can continue to submit new applications. AISC will schedule an in-person site audit once travel is allowed.

Why are you sending emails to someone who no longer works here?

We list your current principal, certification, A/P, marketing contacts on your annual invoice. If one of these happens to change, you need to update your Company Profile Form, as stated in PR 1.11:

“AISC relies on email to communicate with Applicants and Participants. Any changes to contact information MUST be provided to AISC. See PR4.9 concerning Company Profile. It is the Participant/Applicant’s responsibility to ensure communications are being received.”

Use the Company Profile Form at aisc.org/certprofile to notify us. Please remember you have to contact AISC Certification and Membership separately if any staff profile changes.