Certification + Code Compliance: PCLs & PERs (Part II)

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by Don Browne

One is Mandatory, The Other – a Must!


Editor’s Note: This blog post, the second in a two-part series, is about PCLs and PERs, the reports from the VSI Product Certification Program, and what they mean for the vinyl siding industry. More specifically, we discuss PCLs and PERs in action, and while PCLs are only mandatory, PERs are a must. 

The Vinyl Siding Institute’s (VSI) Product Certification Program is backed by over two decades of experience, with products tested and validated by an independent ISO/IEC 17065 accredited third-party certification body.

Our association’s comprehensive reports are standardized to provide easy access to all code compliance information, with Product Certification Listing (PCL) and Product Evaluation Report (PER) reference numbers clearly identified. That means you get all the vital information you need at your fingertips, whether you’re specifying a job or inspecting a new build.

Thanks to VSI’s strategic partners at Intertek, the ISO/IEC-17065-accredited certifying body for our evaluation services, VSI’s PCLs and PERs can be found on the Intertek directory with user-friendly searchability. Intertek’s public maintenance (as required) of the PCLs and PERs keeps them alive and updated for everyone’s benefit.

This two-part blog series is about PCLs and PERs and what they mean for the vinyl siding industry.

Let’s Recap

The PCLs (Product Certification Listings) are mandatory, showing certification to a specific product standard. A key example is the ASTM D3679 for vinyl siding. VSI’s building codes recognize the ASTM standard.

To help you understand, here’s an example of a PCL from VSI member American Original Building Products for their Shake and Scallop Siding. It includes the design pressures (PSFs) for the four product styles and the identification labels, including the VSI certification mark. It also shows that the product is certified by Intertek under ASTM D7254.

The PERs (Product Evaluation Reports) are optional because, in most situations, the listing is efficient. The PCL is comprehensive enough to show compliance with the building code. So, why go further with the PER? Think of the “world’s most interesting man” from the Dos Equis beer commercials. If he were a building code official, he would say: “I don’t always ask for PERs, but when I do, I want them to look like VSI’s.”

“The PER is more robust as it shows compliance to the building code, including specific years,” said Sara Krompholz, VSI’s Senior Director, Technical and Certification. “It shows the scope of the evaluation, installation details, conditions of use, performance characteristics and other supporting evidence. Think of Florida Miami Dade with all the complicated installation requirements, conditions of use and other exhaustive details. The PER is your ‘Huckleberry’ in that situation.”

PERs as Sales & Training Tools

Even though they tend to be 3-5 pages longer than the mandatory PCL, the PERs are easy to read for even the average homeowner who knows nothing about construction, not to mention the contractors, installers and code officials in the field.

The PER is designed to put the code officials at ease when they have issues with a product’s performance abilities and code compliance and want to know more.

The VSI Certification Mark is applied to certified product cartons for visual verification in the field. Each VSI deliverable is issued with VSI’s Certification Mark, which signifies to code officials and others in the industry that the covered product(s) meet the relevant code requirements through comprehensive testing, review of quality control procedures, evaluation and ongoing verification of product compliance.

For this reason, the PERs make excellent sales tools that can be trotted in front of any home builder to demonstrate the vinyl siding industry’s commitment to product performance, certification and compliance with the relevant codes.

And the fact that they live on the Intertek directory, PCLs and PERs for VSI members’ products can be accessed on mobile devices. Thus, besides providing convenience for code officials, these documents make excellent reference and training tools for installers in the field. So, spread the word – VSI’s PCLs and PERs are the new rock stars for the vinyl siding industry!


Don Browne is a writer, entrepreneur and local legislator who believes that the power of words can change the world. He provides unique writing services for clients in the construction, health care, IT and hospitality sectors. He has a passion for small business and start-ups, as well as writing about Irish history, family and corporate biographies. As a homeowner and father of four who is passionate about community development, Don looks forward to writing more about the exciting possibilities of creating traditional neighborhoods and more sustainable communities using modern materials.