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April 3 - April 9, 2016

If you’re performing a QA inspection as a part-time consultant and the surface in question was blasted and painted two days before you arrived on-site, should you sign off on the work if the owner asks you to?

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Selected Answers

From Per Gabrielsson of Free Lance Consultations and Inspections on November 4, 2016:
How can you sign off on work when you haven't seen the surface preparation, the condition of the substrate or the condition of the preceding coats? The final result is dependent on these points.

From Daniel Robles of General Dynamics Nassco on November 3, 2016:
You could sign for what was currently shown to you, but would have to comment "previous work (surface prep/prime coat) not verified by "add company name."

From amar jit singh of NIC T Pune on August 6, 2016:
In my opinion, the blasted surface cannot be allowed to remain unpainted for this long. It has to be painted ASAP, of course, depending on the climatic conditions.

From Pieter van Riet of Corrocoat SA on May 19, 2016:
If the inspection points that you missed were witness points, you may not sign off on the work as if you inspected it. You will be committing fraud if you do so, at least if you fail to record on the QC records that the work was done unwitnessed. This does not mean that you MUST automatically reject the work and instruct re-blast and recoating. You need to discuss this with the party that appointed you. It is their call to make. There might be severe consequences to the over-all project if it is delayed by rework, and the project management team might decide to accept the risk of incorrect coating so as not to incur even bigger risk elsewhere. If all the contractual parties to the QCP (the end-user, ECP consultants, paint manufacturer etc.) are keen to accept the work and move the project forward, you can request a concession from the highest approval authority (usually "the Engineer"). You should  do so only after you have  interviewed (interrogated) all the crew involved in the surface prep and paint work,  thoroughly reviewed the records,  assured yourself that there is nothing obviously amiss, considered your and others' experience of this contractor and assure yourself of his honesty and competence, and  investigated why the work was started before the inspector has arrived. A concession should  be considered only if it was purely due to miscommunication, or misunderstanding, not if there was a risk that it was for nefarious reasons or to hide poor work.

From M. Halliwell of Thurber Engineering Ltd. on May 18, 2016:
Lionel, I agree you could review the documentation and sign off on the review of the documentation, but I don't think you'd accept liability and sign off on the work itself when you cannot confirm the work was done properly. There is a big difference there and I think that's what you were trying to get at in the "reviewed" vs. "witnessed" comment. Typically, though, if you "sign off on the work,"you are declaring (and in most cases assuming liability) that the work was performed correctly, which implies witnessing it.

From Rosemary Coutinho of O Pintor Consultoria on May 18, 2016:
I would never sign off on work I didn't witness!

From Per Gabrielsson of Free Lance Consultations and Inspections on May 18, 2016:
Lionel, you must have great trust in subcontractors?! As mentioned before, I would walk away and tell the project manager to expect my invoice for wasted time.

From Lionel DARRE of LDI on May 16, 2016:
The question does not specify to sign "witnessed."  Then, I would check the records to be signed, and if data are conforming to the specifications, procedures, etc.., then I would sign "reviewed."

From Jason Hetherington of Corrpro Companies, Inc. on April 20, 2016:
Absolutely not, this is a test of morality. Never sign off on completed work based anything other than what you, as the QA, observed. Taking the directions of this  from an owner or the word of the contractor is a recipe for disaster.

From Adrian Granda of Julio Crespo Peru SAC on April 8, 2016:
Definetely not. Inspectors who knows this issue will not sign off on any document if they did not witness the work.

From OM PRAKASH JAT of TECH INTERNATIONAL SHARJAH HAMRIAH UAE. on April 7, 2016:
 I will not sign any inspection documents if I did not witness the work.

From Daniel Valdivia of IUPAT DC 30 Painters JATF on April 6, 2016:
No, I would not put my name on an inspection that I did not conduct.

From M. Halliwell of Thurber Engineering Ltd. on April 5, 2016:
I had this sort of scenario pop up for me. A contractor called to say that they were going to start the work (cast-in-place piles) that morning and could they get an inspector. An hour later, when we got to the site, six piles were already completed. (They had to have started before they called us.) We flatly refused to sign off on those piles.We had no confirmation of what the piles are cast in, how deep they are, what rebar was placed or information on the concrete. It's impossible to say you witnessed the work, and it is in compliance (i.e., sign off on the work) if it was done without you there.

From Per Gabrielsson of Free Lance Consultations and Inspections on April 4, 2016:
I would say "you must be kidding"! Then I would charge him for the wasted time spent.

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Tagged categories: Inspection; Quality assurance


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