Inspectioneering
Inspectioneering Journal

A New Law Requiring Inspection Engineer Redundancy

Can We Afford It?

By Russel T. Mack at National Association of Inspection Companies (NAIC). This article appears in the September/October 2000 issue of Inspectioneering Journal

Introduction: In the petrochemical industry, we have noticed that many separate organizations are attempting to improve the quality of engineering and inspection. For example, many readers are familiar with the efforts of ASME (Post-Construction Code Requirements for Qualification & Certification of NDE Personnel), ASNT (ACCP NDT Central Certification Program), AWS/TWI (CSWIP NDT certification program), API (initiative for certification of NDT UT shear-wave weld inspectors), and NACE (Corrosion Engineering Personnel Qualification & Certification).

There is a problem in the sudden abundance of these programs, and the overlaps and redundancies among them: each new qualification/certification (q/c) program draws some industry support away from existing programs. If the current trend continues, eventually some of the q/c agencies will be forced out of the business. The “good news” in that forecast is that the q/c choices will be less confusing than they are now; the “bad news” is that the best q/c choices may not be the ones that survive. The best choices are the ones that provide the best inspection value to the customer, along with the necessary security to the general public. The q/c choices which seem to have the best chance of survival are those which have the force of Code or Law behind them-and those are often NOT the q/c choices with the best inspection value.

If you are a provider or a user of inspection services, you may be forced into practices which cut into your profits, without adding significant value for anyone. The subject of this editorial is one example:

Texas Board of Professional Engineers Initiatives: In the present climate of increased engineering “outsourcing” among the major petrochemical companies, more and more part-time PEs have been advertising their services in association with technical contractors (such as inspection companies)-many of which have no full-time engineer on staff. Although this arrangement often best served the needs of all three participating parties, last year the Texas PE Board effectively eliminated this competition through a new law which assures that most of this new business will go to established Texas engineering service companies. “Board Rules Division 2., Registration of Firms” addition to the Texas Engineering Practice Act now makes it illegal for firms to advertise engineering services unless they have a full-time licensed engineer on staff. The Board is already slapping PEs and service companies with fines and other penalties for crimes such as [a PE]...”allegedly allowed his name to be listed on a business card for a firm that did not have a Texas licensed professional engineer as a full-time employee” (one year suspension of license and $1500 fine). Now that this is Law, it’s hard for us to fix that little injustice-so you think we should just make some small changes in our businesses and forget about PE Board manipulations? Well, guess what:

To borrow a term from a horror movie-they’re b-a-a-a-a-ck! Texas PE Board is now considering a proposal that will greatly change the way many of us do business. A document called “Suggested Guidelines for Minimum Laboratory and Staff Qualifications for Nondestructive Testing Services” was submitted to the Board by Mr. Eugene Reinhart, PE, L-III. Consider the following excerpts:

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