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December 3 - December 9, 2012

As an engineer in a moderate-sized chemical plant, how can I justify the cost of third-party inspection to upper management?



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Selected Answers

From John Harper of Certified Coating Specialists Inc. on December 17, 2012:
     Who selects these questions? :-) Why I, as an asset owner, would want an independent inspector on a project would be determined by my staff's knowledge level when it comes to coating work and the degree of trust I have in my coating contractor. Trust is defined as my ability to predict the outcome. If I do not have a team member well versed on the technology and terminology of the coating work I want done, and I am going for a low price contract, then I have to have a team member who does understand the technology and terminology to ensure I receive what I have commissioned.
     As a contractor I want the asset owner who does not understand technology or terminology to hire a credible inspector so that I have someone on the owner's side of the table who understands what it is we will be executing so the inspector can spend the time explaining step by step what is happening especially when the train falls off the tracks and we have to be reactive. We all know communication is essential in enterprise, yet it sadddens me how many times asset owners throw a million dollars into wind without the abiltity to communicate effectively with us. Just wasteful, considering the cost of inspection is minimal when stood against any failure.

From WAN MOHAMAD NOR WAN ABDUL RAHMAN of ANTAP SEMENANJUNG SDN. BHD. on December 10, 2012:
      Prevention is better than curing. I guess if we do a job without a third party inspector, it is going to cost more than hiring one.

From Chuck Pease of MMI Tank on December 12, 2012:
    Simple answer as all others have stated-- $$$$$$.  Do a cost analysis and show the cost of hiring the 3rd party.  Then show what a failure of the structure's coatings would cost and the associated cost to remedy a failure. Then let them decide.

From Gregory Berg of AEP on December 7, 2012:
     Our company incurred costs in excess of $3M because a project manager didn't want to pay the $100k for the third party inspector on the lining of 8 process tanks. When I inspected them, there were so many pinholes and other major defects that my recommendation ended up being a complete removal and replacement of trowel- and spray-applied vinyl ester. To force our project manager's hand, I ended up changing the specification for all lining systems to mandatory full-time, third-party inspections paid for by us. It is the best money you will ever spend, particularly on critical infrastructure.

From Terry Lane of Independent on December 14, 2012:
     In all my NACE CIP trainings, one thing was repeatedly emphasized,  that as a third party inspector, my responsibility is to objectively observe, document, and report. To be the owner's eyes and ears and to advise them of anything anomalous to their written specification and thus expectations. As Mr. WAN MOHAMAD NOR WAN ABDUL RAHMAN and Ben Franklin both have said, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

From Larry Stephans of Sabur Technologies on December 7, 2012:
     All too many times the discussion of the value of an independent inspector only takes place after a failure. I have been called many times to perform failure analysis in situations where proper inspection during application/installation would have saved the money and grief caused by a failure. I attempt to get clients to consider the consequences and costs of a failure in the field and compare those to the costs of proper application with independent inspection.

From Ross Boyd of TruQC LLC. on December 14, 2012:
     There is no replacement for a qualified third-party inspector. However, there is software that allows for better transparency during the testing and reporting process, often a fraction of the cost. Contractor-based QC is where many industries seem to be heading. This being the case, software resulting in timely, objective and transparent qc documentation might serve as a "band-aid" for upper management reluctant to pay for full time 3rd party inspectors.

From Donald L Crusan of Marcellus Independent Technical Solutions on December 5, 2012:
Look no further than BP and Chevron, the better known refineries that had catastrophic accidents, ones that might have been averted by a totally independent 3rd party inspector, who is not beholden to management for a job and would identify and record findings and indications. It is up to management to make the final call, but the true independence of a 3rd party, not to mention no legacy of benefits, would be the right call.

From M. Halliwell of Thurber Engineering Ltd. on December 11, 2012:
As a fellow engineer who has been involved on the environmental side of a number of bridge rehabs, I can tell you that the Owner here has demanded 3rd party inspection. Why? First, it helps make sure the money is being well spent to get the intended job done properly. Second, it reduces the costs of maintenance and failures (including environmental fines and insurance premiums). It may be tempting to "save" money up front, but you end up paying the same and more later if things aren't done properly.

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Tagged categories: Business management; Business operations; Inspection


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