Inspectioneering Journal

12 Key Ingredients of a Successful FFS Team

By Guy St-Arneault, P.E., Sr. Mechanical Integrity Group Engineer at GCM Consultants, and Hugo Julien, P.E., Mechanical Integrity Group Manager at GCM Consultants. This article appears in the March/April 2014 issue of Inspectioneering Journal.


Let us consider the following situation.  You are in the middle of a planned shutdown and everything is going well so far.  But after a scheduled inspection, an inspector comes to see you with some bad news.  Inspection of equipment X has revealed a localized area that is extremely corroded.  In fact, measurements show metal loss well over the corrosion allowance specified in the equipment data sheet.  You need to know quickly and with relative certainty whether the equipment can be put back into operation at the end of the shutdown or if it needs to be repaired, or worse yet, replaced.  Unfortunately, you do not have the resources on site to answer this question and must hire an outside firm.  Since important decisions will be based on the results of the fitness-for-service (FFS) determination, you need to be sure that you have a strong FFS team. But what are the key ingredients of a good FFS team? This article provides some guidelines to help you answer this question.

Key Ingredients

Since API standard 579-1/ASME FFS-1 represents what can be qualified as state-of-the-art for a FFS assessment, a good portion of the answer comes directly from this standard itself.

A quick overview of API 579-1/ASME FFS-1 will provide a list of essential ingredients of a solid FFS team.

1. Knowing who needs to be involved in the FFS assessment and understanding the responsibilities of each participant.

This point may seem obvious and simple, but it is very important.  Knowing who should be involved in a FFS assessment will definitely set the foundation for a good FFS team.

FFS assessments are usually multidisciplinary, and involve engineers from various fields such as materials, design, fabrication, inspection, and operations.  Each professional involved in the FFS assessment has their role and certain responsibilities.  Paragraph 1.4 of API 579-1/ASME FFS-1 lists the required participants in a FFS, along with their responsibilities as follows[1]:

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