As a facility owner, you recognize the importance of protective coatings when it comes to safeguarding valuable facilities and other corporate or government assets. Coatings do much more than just improve appearance. To preserve and maintain structures, nothing can match the long-term value and protection offered by coatings and linings.

But the selection of suitable materials is just one aspect of a successful coating project. It is critical that work is done according to sound specifications, with correct surface preparation and proper application techniques. Facility owners need to find top quality people to provide these services—trained people who know the current standards and practices and have a proven track record of success.

The SSPC QP programs offer facility owners the advantage of knowing that the industrial painting contractor who is working on their project has the experience, knowledge and equipment to produce quality work in accordance with the local, state and federal guidelines for safety, health and environmental compliance.



The SSPC Painting Contractor Certification Programs are based on consensus standards developed by a diverse committee of industry professionals. It is a nationally recognized independent contractor evaluation program, as well as a pre-qualification tool developed by SSPC for facility owners and others who hire industrial painting contractors.

Each program reviews the industrial painting contractor’s primary ability to provide quality work in accordance with applicable safety, health and environmental compliance standards. The program is divided into the following categories:

SSPC-QP 1 evaluates contractors who perform surface preparation and industrial coating application on steel structures in the field.

SSPC-QP 2 is a supplement to QP 1 that evaluates the contractor’s ability to perform industrial hazardous paint removal in a field operation. Two QP 2 categories are available based on the type of equipment and containment

  • Category A – Negative Air Containment
  • Category B – No Negative Air Containment

SSPC-QP 3 evaluates a contracting company’s ability to perform surface preparation and protective coating application in a fixed shop facility. SSPC issues three categories of shop certification:

  • Enclosed Shop
  • Covered Shop
  • Open Shop

SSPC-QP 6 certification evaluates the qualifications of industrial thermal spray (metallizing) contractors and defines a minimum standard to evaluate the contractor’s capability to evaluate and accept the preparation of the surface to be metallized and to thermally spray:

  • (1) coatings of aluminum, zinc, and their alloys for corrosion protection of steel and/or
  • (2) zinc anodes on steel reinforced concrete.

SSPC-QP 7 Painting Contractor Introductory Program, which is designed to verify the capabilities of contractors with less than 6 months experience performing industrial surface preparation and coating application in the field.

SSPC-QP 8 certification evaluates the qualifications of contractors hired to install polymer coatings or surfacings on concrete and other cementitious surfaces in commercial, institutional, and industrial facilities.


SSPC-QP 5 is a certification for Inspection Companies whose focus is the industrial coating and lining industry. QP 5 evaluates an inspection company’s ability to provide consistent quality inspection of coatings & linings for its clients.

SSPC-QS 1 is the standard procedure in the SSPC PCCP program that requires participating contractors to implement and document more stringent (ISO 9001 Compliant) quality control and record-keeping procedures than those included SSPC-QP 1, SSPC-QP 3, etc. Owners and specifiers who require a higher level of quality control for their projects may request that contractors already qualified to standards such as SSPC-QP 1, QP 3, QP 6, QP 8 or others also present evidence that their quality systems meet the requirements of QS 1.


SSPC-QP 9 contains requirements for evaluating the qualifications of painting contractors who apply architectural coatings on commercial or institutional structures, and defines a minimum standard for qualification.


The Disciplinary Action Criteria, first released in January 1998, is the consensus document that establishes criteria to discipline SSPC certified contractors who violate safety, quality, environmental, and ethical practice standards of performance as is outlined in SSPC’s contractor certification programs (QP 1, QP 2, QP 3, QP 6, QP 8, QP 9, QN 1, and QS 1).

Once certified, each contractor must work within the rules and standards outlined in the program. If the standards are not met, the contractor is subject to the DAC’s penalties: warning, probation, suspension, or revocation.

DAC Violiations