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SSPC Revises QP 5

Thursday, July 5, 2012

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SSPC has revised its QP 5, “Standard Procedure for Evaluating the Qualifications of Coating and Lining Inspection Companies” in format and content.

The revision makes the organization of QP 5 more consistent with that of the other QP standards.

One of the biggest substantive changes, according to Michael Damiano, SSPC Director of Product Development, is that QP 5 has been expanded to include companies that inspect coatings on concrete. The 1999 version addressed only companies that inspected coatings on steel. Under the 2012 revision, companies that inspect coatings on either steel or concrete (or on both) may apply for the certification. 

SSPC revises QP 5 

Also significant in the revision are changes to the 1999 education and experience requirements for the Technical/Quality Manager and for QP 5 Level 1, 2, and 3 coating inspectors. All have been revised to credit the appropriate inspector certification level from SSPC or NACE toward required training as an alternative to the education and experience requirements for inspectors that were included in the 1999 version.

In addition, the 2012 revision requires inspectors to have experience in protective coating inspection as employees of the firm applying for QP 5 certification. This change assures the inspection company's customers that the inspection company is monitoring its inspectors and that the inspectors are aware of corporate policies and procedures.

John Bullard of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey chaired the committee that revised the standard.

For more information about the standard or to obtain a copy, contact Aimée Beggs, SSPC Standards Development Specialist, at 412-281-2331, ext. 2223, or visit


Tagged categories: Certifications and standards; Inspection; NACE; Quality control; SSPC; SSPC-QP 5

Comment from shane hirvi, (7/10/2012, 2:21 PM)

I am truly at odds with the QP5 certification and those who specify it. I am convinced that it brings nothing to the table to the industry aside from lining the pocket books of the largest inspection firms in the business by creating an environment in which small businesses cannot compete. There are many inspection firms out there that provide a vastly superior service when it comes to the quality of inspectors and the documentation package provided. I challenge the most thorough inspection package of any QP5 company against the average one that my firm puts out. That's what this whole inspection racket is about right--documentation? I see absolutely no time and effort by SSPC into getting into the actual meat and potatoes of the actual documentation package other than whether or not your spring micrometer has a certificate of calibration. Does it matter that you provide several hours of video documentation time and date stamped with all of the data contained within the report. Also in our videos such things as paint usage, ambient conditions, spray application as it happens, testing as it occurs with the results clearly explained in font in the video. Do these things matter? No, what really matters is if you have in place procedures for testing your inspectors for color blindness and showing a procedure for discipline, corrective action and other vitaly important things. Providing the best possible physical inspection and documentation package have nothing to do with being a QP5 inspection firm. Again I challenge the best documentation package of any QP5 inspection package against one of our average packages any day of the week with any impartial judge at my expense. Sorry to bring my own business into a conversation here on paintsquare but QP5 irks me to no end.

Comment from Andrew Mumford, (7/11/2012, 8:09 AM)

Wow, Shane that's a strong opinion, and with all due respect I disagree with your view point. Even thought I am understand your frustration with being eliminated from bidding a project simply because you are not a QP5. But we’ve been down this road before, i.e. NACE certified. As you and I both know there are a lot of unqualified firms and personnel performing coating inspection services on multi million dollars projects, and I think that is a travesty. I too am an Owner of a small coating consulting company. We are not QP5 certified, but I see the merit, value, and structure provided by the certification. I think that it is a good thing that our organization has established a benchmark for coating inspection companies. I commend you for passion and being a consummate professional by exceeding the benchmark that SSPC has adopted. The beauty of our organization is it is shaped by us (the members), and I hope to see you in San Antonio in Jan., and invite you to express your thoughts with others and in the proper forums. I am open to your thoughts and challenge to SSPC and I am willing to hear you out and discuss this issue as a fellow member of SSPC. It is very easy to get involved with SSPC, and who knows, you could be the one that provides a lot of input for the next QP5 revision. All the best.

Comment from shane hirvi, (7/11/2012, 4:12 PM)

Andrew, I am an opinionated guy--what can I say. SSPC is a great organization full of great people who have shaken the coatings world since their foundation. SSPC has been a driving force in this industry and will continue to light the path, qp contractor's make sure you have a light meter, for generations. That being said one must beg the question--why are only a handful of companies are QP5? Is it because that there are no other inspection firms out there with the capability to perform inspections at the "highest level"? We all know that isnt true. Is SSPC happy that one of their qp programs is so small in numbers? I wouldn't be--but I am currently a non-member. What benefit does SSPC see when the same handful of companies, of the hundreds out there, are singled out for contracts? Personally, I see a problem with a lack of competition and new ideas. I have had occasion to see the standard documentation package of quite a few inspection firms and, for the most part, they are successful in passing a bar set very low. Many packages are some reports and a handful of pictures some dated, some not. Is that the benefit from having an SSPC QP5 Certified Inspection Firm? It's 2012 with all of our technology, I find it perplexing that, most documentation packages are stuck in 1985. Now, you must understand I am a fanatic in the area of documentation, our inspectors are required to take at least five minutes of video per day for each definable feature of work completed that day and for each standardized test performed. I am the kind of guy that likes watching a video of somebody performing the testing portions of ab2 and articulating the testing in a serious professional manner. I personally love taking videos of the guys spraying in some of the most dark, uncomfortably hot containments. I love using gauges that gather data round the clock and are easily uploaded to my reports. I love pushing myelf further and further with each documentation package that we create. I am always asking how can I make it look better? how can I make it more user friendly? how can I get more technical information involved in this process? At the end of a project I want the end user to be able to pick up, without knowing the industry, our documentation package and be able to see how to successfully execute a coatings project because of how the contractor, owner and inspection firm worked together. I want them to see that the standardized test methods contained within the specification have been administered properly, professionally and that the results are acceptable at some point--and I want to see some of the tests actaully being performed. I must say that sometimes editing the video can be tedious and boring especially if you are changing format and adding text but its worth it. Perhaps I will rent a booth at the January show in San Antonio. I can't miss this one--I live 45 minutes away. Perhaps we can have some coffee and we can debate the merits of the QP5 program. I too see merits in a general framework by which inspection firms should perform their function but as to its value, in real money, I think that would have to be something backed up by some very serious statistical analysis.

Comment from Mark Schilling, (7/12/2012, 4:51 AM)

Shane, Andrew, You both have good points to make. Let me add my 10 cents. I recall a time when SSPC certified nobody for anything. I was a member of the SSPC BOG in the early 90s when SSPC first started to talk about certifications. The conversations were all about how NACE had beaten SSPC to the punch in the training and certification of inspectors. It was a popular program and it was a revenue stream for NACE. That was the context. What can SSPC do to get into this kind of business - this kind of revenue stream? I have some of the early draft documents for certification of inspection agencies. I voted against it. I worked for KTA at the time and I get into a little bit of trouble for that vote. But my point is - the early effort was clearly driven by KTA and SGP in an effort to distinguish the big guys from the little inspection outfits. The effort to certify inspection firms at SSPC was squelched at first because there was no value added, well, not to the public anyway. How it all works now some 20+ years later, I don't know. I can't say. But I can tell you this - SSPC used to sustain itself primarily on conference revenues. Conference attendance has been in decline over the past 10-15 years. I don't need to go to the exhibit hall to see vendors and pick up their product literature. The advent of the internet has rendered that activity social if not obsolete. The SSPC alliance with the PDCA (PACE)was supposed to make for a bigger show but that didn't work out. Air barriers was a bust. For the near term, SSPC will be supporting itself financially primarily on training and certification programs. Consider this - once trained and certified you might need to recertify every 4 years or so. Fill out some paperwork and send them a check. Now multiply that by a thousand people certified for whatever. The checks just keep coming in. THATH is the plain and simple truth. It's a revenue stream. Like it or not, SSPC is a business. Technical quality is a separate issue. And as members we should not leave that up to SSPC staff. If the technical quality is not what it should be that is "our" fault.

Comment from Doug DeClerck, (7/12/2012, 5:54 AM)

All great comments guys - I see the benefits of both sides - I have 1 question for Andy - If you are in agreement with the QP5 Certification and see the merit, value and structure, why then have you seen fit to not have your firm certified?

Comment from Andrew Mumford, (7/12/2012, 8:51 AM)

Great conversation. Shane I hope to see you in San Antonio, I am always up for a good cup of coffee. Mark, I understand your point as well. At the conference, I might go into the exhibit hall two times. But every morning and afternoon you will find me in the lecture halls and going from talk to talk. I pick up a lot from talking and debating with my peers. I hear your point about revenue brought in from training, but from my first hand involvement there is positive feedback globally for the training programs. Doug, obtaining QP5 is an objective of mine, and I am confident that our small firm can obtain the certification. We have the structure, QC, financial record keeping, worker training, occupational physical requirements, and etc in place. This is a process that has taken years to get in line and has provided some direction as we grow our firm. What's holding me back is the time and focus required to complete and submit the documentation. My primary task as a business owner is to take care of business first. Fortunately we've been busy the past couple years. Doug, I won't invite you for coffee, I need to get you out on the golf course:)

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