SSPC QP 1 certification is a nationally-recognized program that evaluates the practices of industrial painting contractors in key areas of business. These standards are considered the minimum level of service and quality for today's coatings industry. The complex nature of coating systems and the specific surface preparations required for these systems have made the QP 1 guidelines vital to the longevity of applied protective coatings.

The program is designed to provide facility owners and specification writers a means to determine whether the painting contractor has the capability to perform surface preparations and coating application in the field on complex industrial and marine structures, such as:

  • Bridges
  • Food and beverage facilities
  • Off-shore drilling
  • Power generation facilities
  • Petro / chemical plants
  • Storage tanks
  • Ships maintenance
  • Waste water treatment facilities

To be certified by SSPC, industrial contractors must demonstrate competence in these key areas:

  • Management procedures
  • Quality control
  • Safety, health and environmental compliance

Technical capabilities

These areas are evaluated through a series of submittals to SSPC describing the contractor's business operations. Then, an impartial on-site audit of a representative active job-site and headquarter offices is performed to verify that the programs and practices are implemented and used. The on-site audit criteria can be found in both the QP 1 application and the Internal Audit Checklist. SSPC suggests the contractor perform an internal audit using the checklist to be sure all areas of evaluation are addressed prior to an audit.

  • Applications / Program Rules for Certification
  • Audit Checklist
  • Auditor Evaluation Survey
  • Contractor Performance Form
  • DAC
  • Job Notification Form
  • List of Owners Known to Require Certified Contractors
  • Certification News Center
  • Technical Standards Library Requirements

CAS for QP 1 contractors

SSPC established the Coating Application Specialist (CAS) Certification Program for industrial painters in 2008 in order to strengthen the qualifications of the current workforce and lay the groundwork for development of a strong industrial painter workforce for the decades to follow. Click here for more information about CAS for QP 1 Contractors.

QP 1 background

The QP 1 certification was originally organized to answer an industry need voiced by contractors, owners and others who hire industrial painting contractors. At that time, the industry did not have a national standard to evaluate the primary capability of a contractor prior to a contract award. SSPC issued the first version of the QP 1 standard in September 1989, with the certification program being released later that same year. Since that time, the QP 1 contractor certification program has been consistently reviewed and improved to meet the changing quality needs of our industry. Significant QP 1 changes are made by consensus and approved by the SSPC Standards Review Committee and the SSPC Board of Governors.