The Andromeda Academy of Construction Trades Expands its portfolio of training courses and certifications
Following one of the industry’s most rigorous vetting processes, Andromeda Academy of Construction Trades (AACT) joined a select few as a licensee of SSPC (Society of Protective Coatings, founded as Steel Structures Painting Council in 1950), now AMPP (Association for Materials Protection and Performance).
AMPP is not only the gold standard in lead abatement, specifically the removal and disposal of lead-based coatings on industrial structures such as bridges, tanks, and ships, it is the only standard recognized worldwide.
Today, AACT is one of four AMPP course providers in New York State and one of just eight throughout North America including Canada and Mexico. AACT originally sought AMPP accreditation because, as AACT Director Jake Toth, CHST, explained, “As a training entity that strives for excellence in education and to differentiate ourselves, we felt that it was important to be aligned with a professional organization such as AMPP whose vision we share.”
Only AMPP approved and accredited providers can offer training for courses C3 and C5. The intensive 32-hour C3 course is conducted over four consecutive 8-hour days and concludes with a final exam. Documentation of the one-day 8-hour C5 refresher course, available to those who have successfully completed and passed C3, is required for competent persons overseeing certain types of lead abatement projects. It is taken primarily by foremen, production supervisors, engineers, and inspectors. While C5 can be taught virtually, instruction must be live and interactive, never online and on-demand. Student cameras must remain on at all times. An AMPP staff person monitors the course and is present throughout the exam.
“It’s similar to an auditing process,” said AMPP Training Manager Sara Badami.
The small number of licensees results from AMPP’s placing quality first and foremost. As the website states, the nonprofit organization ensures that for a company to get the AMPP seal of approval, it must prove to rank among “the best of the best.”
Demand is also a factor. AMPP licensees are located primarily in the Northeast because there is less corrosion on bridges and other structures in dryer and warmer climates that are not as prone to snow and ice. However, instruction is available throughout the continent. When a need arises, an AMPP instructor will travel to a remediation site.
Terry Sowers, now a consultant with AMPP, was one of the key persons who introduced C3 and C5 to SSPC in 1995. She noted that the organization limits the number of course providers because “we try to balance the need in the marketplace with availability of instruction.”
The commitment and expense for licensees is sizeable. The instructor must be highly qualified with proven credentials. Moreover, the equipment for C3, which can only be offered in-person, requires a significant investment. The Andromeda Academy of Construction Trades supplies over 60 items including a velometer to verify air flow within a containment area; a Magnehelic® Gauge, which measures such variables as fan and blower pressures; and a Negative Air Containment Model to gauge airflow and negative pressure.
AMPP Director of Training Jennifer Merck said at the time of AACT’s acceptance that “Andromeda showed enthusiasm and a high level of attention to detail throughout the review process.” She expressed “high hopes for this partnership based on the show of diligence…” Badami recently concurred, saying that “AMPP was impressed with Andromeda’s training background and …that they were an IACET accredited agency.”
Badami noted that AACT continued AMPP training throughout the pandemic. “They ran with it. It was good for the industry,” she said.
In every way, AACT is committed to bolstering the needs and interests of the industry. It continues to, as Toth said, share a singular vision, one where consistently raising the bar to meet and exceed all challenges is not so much a goal as the foundation underlying all.