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May 22 - May 28, 2016

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


Selected Answers

From Joe Miller of NextGen Green Building Products, Inc. dba Direct2Contractors on June 8, 2016:
The costs of third party inspections need not be excessive. It depends on the firm or people you chose to work with. We offer our services on a per diem basis plus travel costs rather than lump sum deals. You order and pay for just what you need. It seems, however, that the critical items to achieving success of any coating and lining project is to first use only factory-fresh materials. Factory-fresh materials are absolutely critical to getting a good job done on any coatings and linings project. In my years of field experience in sales and marketing, I have seen old materials delivered to a jobsite. The applicators try their best to mix them and then combine the 2-part products  and then apply them. Productivity is slowed down, tempers are frayed, equipment gets clogged and the final films are frequently less perfect than one would like to see. All at the costs of the installer company. So we suggest you avoid the risks by ordering and using only factory-fresh products. Is it 100 percent safe (well, no, nothing is) but it sure cuts down your risks and may even offset any costs for third party services. It sure beats having money tied up in claims. Or having your clients upset that the job is not done when the installer was supposed to be finished. Or the finish is not perfect. Not to mention longer term performance of less than perfect films. Hope this helps. After nearly 4 decades in the business, I can surely vouch for having paid inspectors on the site from the day the materials are ordered to the day when the final inspections occur.

From Joseph Brandon of QualityFirst Consultants LLC on June 6, 2016:
I submit that you might be asking the wrong question. The question that more appropriately addresses this issue is: “Are the Quality Control/Quality Assurance (QC/QA) requirements of my contract matched to the type and requirements of each contract?” If you incentivize contractors to trim their bids to become the lowest bidder, then you must ensure that your QC/QA requirements incentivize the selected contractor to give you what you asked for. To achieve this, competent inspection is likely required, and this can be done by the owner’s in-house forces or by third-party inspection services, either through separate contract or through the coating contract. Some owner QA will likely be prudent in all competitively bid contracts. On the other hand, if you hire the contractor through some form of relationship contracting, where long-term relationships and negotiated pricing of the contract incentivize the contractor to perform at a very high level, or at whatever level the owner desires to pay for, then the QC/QA requirements will become part of the contractor’s processes and owner QA will be minimal. It is doubtful that many facility owners have comparative data on the costs of competitively bid versus relationship contracts, but it is almost certain that relationship contracts will appear to be much more expensive, due to the higher probability of performing satisfactorily. When viewed on a life-cycle cost basis, however, it is likely that relationship contracts will be much more cost- effective. It is possible that you might luck into getting a contractor using the competitive bidding process that will give you what you want without matching the QC/QA requirements as stated above, but those cases are likely few and far between. Failing to match QC/QA requirements to the contract leaves “hope” as a strategy for getting a satisfactory result, and that is statistically unsound. Other forms of contracts require similar evaluation of incentives inherent in the form and requirements, and appropriate attention to QC/QA requirements.

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Tagged categories: Consultants; North America


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