Picture of a soldering class with students and a teacher having a conversation.

ITI, CDA host soldering training for sheet metal workers in New York

The International Training Institute (ITI), working in collaboration with the Copper Development Association (CDA), facilitated a soldering certification class at the training center for the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation (SMART) workers’ Local 28 in Jamaica, New York, Sept. 7-9. As a result of that class, 16 Local 28 members earned a total of 22 American Welding Society (AWS) soldering certifications in eight different procedures.

The class was instructed by Larry Peters, project manager of building construction with CDA, and ITI personnel, including Chris Caricato, field staff and architectural specialist; Mark Van Avery, field staff and welding specialist; and Mike Shields, full-time apprenticeship instructor from Sheet Metal Workers Local 12 in Pittsburgh. The overall goal for the collaboration was to train members to become certified solderers with the AWS B2.3: 2018 Specification for Soldering Procedure and Performance Qualification.

To prepare them for the soldering certification process, they received architectural training utilizing mockup structures to install a copper flatlock soldered seam roof system which covered how to solder the seam in a field condition. The training also introduced members to the fabrication and installation techniques and the components within this type of roof system. Members then received extensive soldering training on how to solder a three-fourths-inch copper flatlock seam in the flat position as well as how to solder a 1-inch lap seam in the vertical position, both requiring a 100% fully sweated joint.

Local 28 had three certified welding instructors (CWIs) in attendance, and Van Avery helped them understand the soldering code as well as how to develop the procedures and qualify the solderers at their local to that code.

Because Local 28’s training center is an AWS accredited test facility (ATF) and has instructors that are AWS CWIs, they can facilitate both to the contractors’ needs to test to a project-specific soldering procedure and to the members’ needs for solderer certification under the AWS B2.3:2018 Specification for Soldering Procedure and Performance Qualification.

A contractor will have had to also develop an appropriate Soldering Procedure Specification (SPS) that is supported by one or more Soldering Procedure Qualification Records (SPQR) for a specific project.

“In short, an SPS is the jobsite instructions for making a sound joint, the SPQR is a record of the actual test that was completed to prove that the SPS works,” Caricato said.

This training will help ensure the work is being completed correctly, performed by skilled and trained trade professionals, all of whom have met the qualifications through recognized industry soldering training and AWS certification credentials. When performed properly, soldered flatlock seam joints have been studied, tested and proven by a third-party engineering firm commissioned by the ITI to withstand in-service cyclical thermal loads that exceed the minimum requirements for the intended in-service lifecycle of 75 years without failure.

The ITI and CDA are working together to incorporate required soldering training and soldering certifications under the AWS B2.3 Specification for Soldering Procedure and Performance Qualification into project specifications in areas where this type of architectural copper roof work is common. Doing so will increase work hours and market share.

“Copper flatlock roof systems are chosen for more than just their character and beauty; they have been known to last many lifetimes without failure. Architects, engineers and owners need that assurance when incorporating them into their designs,” Caricato said. “It’s also another way for our signatory contractors to stand out among their competitors when this type of work is up for bid and their prior installations have proven not to fail.”

The class was part of an ITI Strike Force Training effort requested by Local 28 due to contractor demand, as many signatory contractors in the area bid flatlock soldered seam copper roof work. The first class of this kind was held in 2019 at the Sheet Metal Workers Local 36 training center in St. Louis. Local 28 hosted the training through the ITI grant program, which reduced the cost of the training by 50%.

“The members learned a lot and enjoyed the class,” said Leah Rambo, training coordinator for Local 28. “We had five contractors represented. One in particular wants to work with us to create several SPSes for his company.”

The collaboration with the CDA also makes sense because classes like these are better for the industry as a whole and ensure the end user is happy with the project results.

“The Copper Development Association is proud to partner with the ITI to ensure sheet metal workers receive solid background training in architectural copper installation techniques and prove their competency through recognized qualification criteria,” Peters said. “Our collaboration helps give architects, engineers and building owners confidence in today’s workforce.”

“The ITI is committed to do more of this type of training,” Caricato added. “It is valuable at every level, providing instructors with the training and resources needed to teach this type of work, providing the members with the skillset and/or certification needed to perform this type of work, and providing our signatory contractors with the qualified personnel to acquire this type of work.”

If your training center is interested in Strike Force Training in a number of specialties, contact your field staff representative for details. For more information on the ITI, see the website or call 703-739-7200.